The Gilded Shroud by Elizabeth Bailey

The Gilded Shroud (A Lady Fan Mystery), by Elizabeth Bailey.  Initially, I thought this would be just another typical romantic historical mystery set among the English nobility, filled with fancy vocabulary, perfect manners and over-the-top sentimentality.  However, Ottilia’s biting wit separates this debut from many in this sub-sub-genre.  Both the unfolding mystery and romance were a bit too obvious, but overall it was good enough to warrant giving the sequel a shot.  The true test of these types of books comes once the sexual tension of the first book has been resolved (dissolved) with the inevitable marriage between the main characters.  Some authors, Tasha Alexander in particular, can sustain the momentum into a series, whereas others cannot.

As I suspected, Bailey’s second entry in this series (The Deathly Portent) was not as enjoyable as the first.  Once again, the mystery was too obvious.  Not only was I able to easily guess the murderer, but also exactly how Lady Fan would achieve success. There must be something that the author is doing to trigger my attention to the culprit, though I don’t know what it is.  This story lacked the tension of the first and its wit.  I am not sure a third volume is worth pursuing.


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