Death in the Floating City: A Lady Emily Mystery

Tasha Alexander. Minotaur, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-66176-2

Alexander’s featherweight seventh Victorian historical (after 2011’s A Crimson Mourning) takes Lady Emily and her British intelligence husband, Colin Hargreaves, to Venice, Italy. Emily’s not-so-BFF, Emma Callum, wants the crack-detective couple to solve the stabbing murder of her father-in-law, since the Venetian police have failed to do so. Emma also hopes they can locate her missing husband, who she is sure is innocent of his father’s murder. While Emily is loath to take the case because Emma has rubbed her the wrong way since childhood, she accepts her duty with as much grace as she can muster. The claws-on-a-chalkboard persiflage commences the moment the two women meet face to face and provides some of the book’s best dialogue. Running concurrently with the suspense story are heartrending chapters recounting a centuries-old ill-fated love affair that ties to the murder mystery. Period purists may have a problem with Lady Emily’s anachronistic vocabulary. Agent: Anne Hawkins, John Hawkins & Associates. (Oct.)