From New York Times bestselling author Tasha Alexander comes the latest installment in the Lady Emily series. Death in St. Petersburg is a gripping new tale that will mesmerize fans of historical fiction and classic mysteries alike.
After the final curtain of Swan Lake, an animated crowd exits the Mariinsky theatre brimming with excitement from the night’s performance. But outside the scene is somber. A ballerina’s body lies face down in the snow, blood splattered like rose petals over the costume of the Swan Queen. The crowd is silenced by a single cry— “Nemetseva is dead!”
Amongst the theatergoers is Lady Emily, accompanying her dashing husband Colin in Russia on assignment from the Crown. But it soon becomes clear that Colin isn’t the only one with work to do. When the dead ballerina’s aristocratic lover comes begging for justice, Emily must apply her own set of skills to discover the rising star’s murderer. Her investigation takes her on a dance across the stage of Tsarist Russia, from the opulence of the Winter Palace, to the modest flats of ex-ballerinas and the locked attics of political radicals. A mysterious dancer in white follows closely behind, making waves through St. Petersburg with her surprise performances and trail of red scarves. Is it the sweet Katenka, Nemetseva’s childhood friend and favorite rival? The ghost of the murdered étoile herself? Or, something even more sinister?
In bestseller Alexander's well-crafted 12th Lady Emily novel (after 2016's A Terrible Beauty), the redoubtable Englishwoman joins her husband, intelligence agent Colin Hargreaves, on a trip to St. Petersburg in January 1900. The couple attend a performance of Swan Lake at the Mariinksky Theatre, where ballet sensation Irina Nemetseva dances the lead, though they're puzzled when another ballerina dances the final act. Later, they discover that Irina lies stabbed to death outside the stage door, still wearing her swan costume. After Prince Vasilii Guryanov, the dancer's secret lover, asks Emily to help find her killer, Emily probes Irina's circle, including her oldest friend and rival: fellow ballerina Ekaterina "Katenka" Sokolova. Katenka is the sister of Irina's former love, a young man whose idealism is dangerous in repressive Russia. Do their tangled relationships give a motive to murder the star? In addition to a satisfying puzzle and the always appealing protagonist, Alexander delivers a memorable portrait of a fairy-tale city dancing on the brink of revolution.
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Twelfth book in A Lady Emily Mystery series!
Death in St. Petersburg by Tasha Alexander is the latest A Lady Emily Mystery. Lady Emily Hargreaves is in St. Petersburg, Russian enjoying the season thanks to an invitation from Cecile du Lac. Lady Emily and her husband, Colin enjoyed watching Swan Lake at the Marinsky Theater and exit to discover body of ballerina Irina Nemetseva outside in the snow. A gold Faberge egg is found underneath her body. Did Irina steal the egg or has Sebastian Capet stroke again? Irina had disappeared halfway through the performance and was replaced by Ekaterina Petrovna. The next day, Prince Vasilii meets with Lady Emily asking her to find Irina’s killer. Her investigation will take her across St. Petersburg from the Winter Palace to modest apartments belonging to the dancers. Join Lady Emily on her latest case in Death in St. Petersburg.
Death in St. Petersburg can be read alone. I had not read the previous eleven books in the series (did not know it was part of a series until I started reading the book) and I had no trouble. I did, though, have difficulty with all the various Russian names. Each person went by more than one name which makes it confusing. The author did a wonderful job at describing St. Petersburg and the world of ballet. You can tell that she did her research on the era, city, and is knowledgeable about ballet. The mystery was simple and can easily be solved long before the reveal. There is a lack of action regarding the investigation. It is mostly questioning and speculation. There are flashbacks into the early years of the two ballerinas that help readers understand their characters. Death in St. Petersburg is a slower paced story as Tasha Alexander sets the stage (very descriptive writer). I did like Lady Emily who is a woman ahead of her time in many ways. If you are looking for a light historical mystery, pick up a copy of Death in St. Petersburg.