When Sybil takes the stage again, murder plays the leading role.
In September 1873, medium and actress Sybil Ingram is looking forward to her new life as the wife of dashing violinist Roderick Brooke. But their plans for marriage are interrupted by a cry for help from Julia de Lioncourt, Roderick's former lover, who implores him to come to Paris to rescue her from a blackmailer, Danton Fournier.
When they arrive in Paris, the bewitching beauty proposes a daring plan: Sybil will take Julia's place in a new melodrama while Julia, her alibi thus secured, recovers the letters from Fournier's home. Knowing that Roderick still harbors guilt over killing Julia's husband in a duel, Sybil agrees to the plan for his sake - even though it's all too clear that Julia wants Roderick back in her bed. Moreover, the theater seems to harbor a ghostly presence that may foretell disaster for the masquerade.
Catastrophe strikes when Fournier's body is discovered stabbed through the heart. Suddenly Sybil needs an alibi. She must also find a way to prevent suspicion from falling on Roderick as well - while determining whether Julia knows more about Fournier's death than she is admitting. Can Sybil's abilities as a spirit medium help her discover the truth before the real killer stops her?
A delicious blend of supernatural mystery, gothic romance, and romantic comedy, the Sybil Ingram Victorian mysteries are perfect for listeners who love Victorian women sleuths like Anna Lee Huber's Lady Darby, Penny Richards's Lilly Long, Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey, and Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody. And be sure not to miss Sybil's previous adventures in Nocturne for a Widow!
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Outstanding gothic historical mystery!
The Last Serenade is another thoroughly enjoyable gothic historical mystery by Amanda DeWees. This is the second story in the Sybil Ingram Mysteries and follows a few years after the first book in the series, Nocturne for a Widow, where we are introduced to Sybil, who is a spirit medium and her fiancé, Roderick Brooke, who is concert violinist. However, rather than setting this second story in the Hudson Valley of New York, The Last Serenade is set in the theatre world of 1873 Paris.
The story primarily revolves around Roderick’s former lover, actress Julia de Lion court, who is being blackmailed by a former lover. Because Roderick still feels guilty for killing Julia's husband in a duel several years before, Julia persuades Roderick to travel to Paris to help her; and of course, Sybil comes along to help. [One of my favorite scenes is when Julia is found naked in Roderick’s bed just after Sybil and Roderick checked into the hotel.] While our main characters hatch a plan to retrieve the documents that are held over Julia’s head, the blackmailer is murdered. The rest of the story is figuring out who killed the blackmailer, in addition to keeping Sybil and Roderick from being suspects.
DeWees writing is simply outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey that Sybil is taking to learn more about her mystical abilities to communicate with ghosts (she visits a renowned medium in Paris). And I especially enjoyed how Sybil supports Roderick to help him overcome his personal demons (guilt over the duel).
I listened to the Audible version of this story, narrated by the outstanding Elizabeth Klett. She really brought the characters to life, using a variety of accents and giving each character their own distinct voice. In summary, I can't wait for the next book written by Amanda DeWees and narrated by Elizabeth Klett!
if you like Victoria Holt you'll love Amanda DeWee