Reviewed by MaryLu McFall

A literary romp is taken out of the usual London in Death in the Floating City, the seventh book in the series with Emily and Colin Hargraves. Emily’s old friend – the kind of childhood friend you’d love to forget – calls on Emily to solve the murder of her father-in-law after eloping with an Italian Count. Her husband has fled the scene, Emma herself is a prime suspect, and the whole mystery is tangled in a web of family angst that would make Emily Peabody frown.

Italian to the core, this story’s plot is as interesting as it gets. It is also murky and as difficult to follow as modern Italian roads. The sub-plot becomes more interesting than the main story, and is much easier to follow. Each chapter explains a little more about the family feud and sheds some light on its causes; but a specific motive does not become clear until the very end of the novel. And by that time, it seems to come from left field.

Emily and Colin are a well-matched couple, down to earth yet obviously in love and as equal as a couple could be in the Victorian period. Emily has a great deal of patience with Emma, and patience is sorely needed since Emma is still the haughty female Emily remembers. Emma is also…let’s just say she is unhelpful in a totally annoying way. It doesn’t help matters that she is also wholly unlikable. Colin and Emily pursue different lines of inquiry in order to solve the mystery, but neither seems to make much headway.

Readers of this series will perhaps be surprised at the turn of events and wonder how they could have missed the clues. There aren’t many, unless vague hints are your forte, and it’s easy to relate the past to the present without specifics. Familiar readers will also be pleasantly surprised at the lovely twist that affects Emily and Colin who have been unable to have a child.

This book is a great escape to a beautifully described city; many Italian words were familiar, but there were just as many which I needed to look up. The floating city itself, described in literary language with many Italian place names, almost over-shadows the characters. Venice is a mystery in itself, and its charm is conveyed in magical sentences. Death in the Floating City is definitely one of the best in this series.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Mary Lu is the author of Passports to Change Revisited 2012, now on Kindle. She lives in Newnan, Georgia and does research and customer service at an independent bookstore in Peachtree City. She is the author of another two novels which will soon be available on Kindle.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Minotaur Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.