Thursday, November 2, 2017

Death in St. Petersburg

Lady Emily Hargreaves has accompanied her husband Colin to St. Petersburg, Russia, while he is on a mission for the Crown. It is the winter of 1900 and Lady Emily has never experienced such cold weather. In Death in St. Petersburg by Tasha Alexander Lady Emily's experience will include the violent death of one of the ballet's premier ballerinas.

As one of the most beautiful cities in the world, St. Petersburg's Neva River and its system of canals gracefully wind their way past palatial palaces, fabulous churches and gorgeous museums. Peter the Great built his city to emulate the capitals of Europe, but one area in which St. Petersburg stands above all is the ballet.

Legendary ballerinas have danced at the Mariinsky Theatre and none so elegant as Irina Semnova Nemetseva. This night she was to dance the dual roles of Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, but someone ended her sparkling career in a brutal way out in the snow, still wearing her Swan Lake costume.

Death in St. Petersburg is a carefully crafted mystery told from the point of view of Lady Emily and secondary dancer and friend of Irina, Ekaterina Petrovna. There's just enough historical background to understand the turbulent times that are facing the Tsar and his family in Russia with whispers of what is to come.

Who would have wanted to kill Irina? Was it one of her discarded lovers, a jealous ex-boyfriend or Ekaterina herself? Tasha Alexander spins a beautiful tale of the hard work and sacrifice it takes to become a prima ballerina and the single minded devotion it takes to become a star.

I very much enjoyed this book, not just for the story, but for the fact that I had visited St. Petersburg recently and could so perfectly visualize the city and its beautiful buildings. Although this is book #12 of the Lady Emily series, I think this one can stand alone if you have not read the others. But caution, you will probably want to go back and read the others.

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