Click here to read reviewer Michael Leonard's take on Dangerous to Know.
Honeymooning in Constantinople, newlyweds Colin and Lady Emily Hargreaves run afoul of danger once more, leaving Lady Emily gravely wounded more by the loss of the child she was carrying than the bullet that struck her. Convalescing in the home of her mother-in-law in Normandy, France, Emily grieves for her loss, unable to shake the dark mood that haunts her. Finding the horribly mutilated body of a young woman during a horse ride does little to help her emotional state, other than entice Emily to track down the monster responsible for the vile deed.
A frosty reception from the other Mrs. Hargreaves leaves Emily disappointed and out of sorts until the arrival of a dear friend from Paris, Cecile du Lac. Not to be outdone, the smooth-talking thief Sebastian Capet once more shadows Lady Emily, his affection undiminished by her marriage. Colin is assured there is no cause for jealousy but has no qualm with suspecting Sebastian of murder should he not produce an adequate alibi. As this eclectic group assembles at the Hargreaves estate, the talk is of murder, Colin sharing theories with his wife until the threat becomes more serious.
Alexander throws a wrench into the cooperative efforts of a well-matched couple who work well as an investigative team as Colin suddenly takes his role as protector very seriously. “I can’t allow” becomes a provocative phrase as Emily realizes Colin is seriously asking her to curtail her activities on behalf of the dead girl - not to mention that the slaughtered girl bears a striking resemblance to Lady Emily.
If there is safety in numbers, Emily should be fine - whether having tea at a neighbor’s, where an unfortunate wife may be slipping into insanity, or in Rouen, where the family of the tragic Edith Prier show little emotion over the loss, save the ranting of the girl’s excessively moody twin brother, Laurent. There is more than a touch of madness afoot, and the plaintive cries of a child late at night do little to calm Emily’s fears of her own fragile mental state: “Don’t you think the spirit of a lost little girl might seek a woman who’s missing a child?”
Comparison with Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey series is inevitable; both authors favor Victorian settings, foul deeds and husband-and-wife duets. While Raybourn’s Nicholas Brisbane may be more authentically brooding and Heathcliffian than Colin Hargreaves, Alexander’s Lady Emily is less given to Lady Julia Grey’s penchant for over-the-top drama. In the end, the authors are evenly matched, each offering a clever mix of mayhem and romance, the absence of modern technology a delightful respite as intuition and courage lead to the capture of dastardly murderers every time.