Lady of ashes

Christine Trent

Book - 2013

In 1861 London, Violet Morgan is struggling to establish a good reputation for the undertaking business that her husband has largely abandoned. She provides comfort for the grieving, advises them on funeral fashion and etiquette, and arranges funerals. Unbeknownst to his wife, Graham, who has nursed a hatred of America since his grandfather soldiered for Great Britain in the War of 1812, becomes involved in a scheme to sell arms to the South. Meanwhile, Violet receives the commission of a lifeti...me: undertaking the funeral for a friend of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. But her position remains precarious, especially when Graham disappears and she begins investigating a series of deaths among the poor. And the closer she gets to the truth, the greater the danger for them both.

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Subjects
Genres
Mystery fiction
Published
New York : Kensington Books [2013]
Language
English
Item Description
Includes reading group guide and discussion questions.
Physical Description
viii, 420 pages ; 21 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 415-416).
ISBN
9780758265913
0758265913
Main Author
Christine Trent (author)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

A most unusual heroine—an undertaker in 1860s London—drives this capable first in a new series from historical fiction author Trent (By the King's Design). Violet Morgan and her husband, Graham, of whose prosperous funeral business she's the backbone, quarrel after Violet takes in an abandoned orphan. Her indifferent housekeeping also puts a strain on the marriage. When Graham is caught smuggling goods to Civil War–torn America, he must flee England. Meanwhile, Violet notices puzzling causes of death among the corpses she lays out. As her queries in these unusual cases unwittingly alarm a serial killer, she finds unexpected support from Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, and Samuel Harper "of the Confederate States of America," a "Buyer of Special Goods." That the murders play a minimal role in the story may disappoint mystery readers, but the author's painstaking research offers a tale rich with historical incidents and details that period lovers relish. Romance gives the book most of its tension. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In 1861 London, Violet Morgan is struggling to establish a good reputation for the undertaking business that her husband has largely abandoned. She provides comfort for the grieving, advises them on funeral fashion and etiquette, and arranges funerals. Unbeknownst to his wife, Graham, who has nursed a hatred of America since his grandfather soldiered for Great Britain in the War of 1812, becomes involved in a scheme to sell arms to the South. Meanwhile, Violet receives the commission of a lifetime: undertaking the funeral for a friend of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. But her position remains precarious, especially when Graham disappears and she begins investigating a series of deaths among the poor. And the closer she gets to the truth, the greater the danger for them both.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Undertaker Violet Morgan enjoys her job at the business she owns with her husband Graham, until Graham is caught smuggling goods and flees the country shortly before a serial killer strikes, leaving Violet to contend with the bodies on her own.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A successful undertaker in Victorian London, Violet Morgan is comfortable with death's role in her life until her husband Graham, obsessed with his own personal demons, abandons her to unleash a vengeful scheme, leaving her alone to deal with a killer. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Only a woman with an iron backbone could succeed as an undertaker in Victorian London, but Violet Morgan takes great pride in her trade. While her husband, Graham, is preoccupied with elevating their station in society, Violet is cultivating a sterling reputation for Morgan Undertaking. She is empathetic, well-versed in funeral fashions, and comfortable with death's role in life--until its chilling rattle comes knocking on her own front door.Violet's peculiar but happy life soon begins to unravel as Graham becomes obsessed with his own demons and all but abandons her as he plans a vengeful scheme. And the solace she's always found in her work evaporates like a departing soul when she suspects that some of the deceased she's dressed have been murdered. When Graham's plotting leads to his disappearance, Violet takes full control of the business and is commissioned for an undertaking of royal proportions. But she's certain there's a killer lurking in the London fog, and the next funeral may be her own. Equal parts courage, compassion, and intrigue, Christine Trent tells an unrestrained tale of love and loss in the rigidly decorous world of Victorian society. Praise for the novels of Christine Trent"Genuinely engrossing. . .with a rare Regency heroine who loves her work and does it well." Publishers Weekly on By the King's Design"Exuberant, sparkling, beguiling. . .brims with Dickensian gusto!" --Barbara Kyle, author of The Queen's Lady on The Queen's Dollmaker"Winningly original. . .glittering with atmospheric detail!" --Leslie Carroll, author of Royal Affairs on The Queen's Dollmaker