New York Times Bestselling Author of Smart Historical Fiction
Lady Emily Book #12
Available in paperback 24 July 2018
After the final curtain of Swan Lake, an animated crowd exits the Mariinsky theatre, brimming with excitement from the night’s performance. But outside, the scene is somber. A ballerina’s body lies face down in the snow, blood splattered like rose petals over her swan costume. The crowd is silenced by a single cry: Nemetseva is dead!
Amongst the theatergoers is Lady Emily, accompanying her dashing husband, Colin, in Russia on assignment for the Crown. It soon becomes clear that Colin isn’t the only one with work to do. When the dead ballerina’s aristocratic lover comes begging for justice, Emily must apply her own set of skills to discover the rising star’s murderer. Her investigation takes her on a dance across the stage of Tsarist Russia, from the opulence of the Winter Palace, to the modest flats of ex-ballerinas, and the locked attics of political radicals. A mysterious dancer in white follows closely behind, making waves through St. Petersburg with her surprise performances and trail of red scarves. Is it the sweet Katenka, Nemetseva's childhood friend and favorite rival? The ghost of the murdered étoile herself? Or, something even more sinister?
"This latest in the Lady Emily series is a delight, combining the magic of tsarist St Petersburg with intimate knowledge of the world of ballet and complex plotting. Quirky characters, from the ghostly ballerina to the unrepentant jewel thief, offset the macabre murder and the political issues. A well-researched book written with style and flair." -The Historical Novels Review
"Alexander paints such a dazzling portrait of St. Petersburg and ballet at the turn of the twentieth century, that I would not even have dared ask for more, and yet the mystery is as brilliant as the vibrant images she presents...(her) knowledge of Imperial Russia, its culture and history, and ballet is beyond compare, down to the most minute but significant details, such as a perfect mastery of patronymics and diminutives used as terms of endearment, particular to Russian. I doubt having ever read a novel in which historical accuracy was so delightfully part of a strong murder mystery..." - Fresh Fiction
"Alexander is at the top her game...(her) impeccable research and smart storytelling keep readers on the edge of their seats...A gripping tale by a grand mistress of the genre." -RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)
"The breathtaking beauty of St. Petersburg before the Russian Revolution provides a dazzling backdrop for murder....The purest mystery among Alexander’s adventures presents a challenging puzzle, a historically interesting period, and detailed descriptions of one of the world’s most beautiful cities." - Kirkus Reviews
"In bestseller Alexander’s well-crafted 12th Lady Emily novel (after 2016’s A Terrible Beauty), the redoubtable Englishwoman joins her husband, intelligence agent Colin Hargreaves, on a trip to St. Petersburg in January 1900...In addition to a satisfying puzzle and the always appealing protagonist, Alexander delivers a memorable portrait of a fairy-tale city dancing on the brink of revolution." -Publishers Weekly
"...consistently witty, smart, and entertaining." -Booklist
"...an exceptionally well-written novel. Ms. Alexander continues to reward her readers with a strong, solid, female lead and her dedication to historical accuracy has not diminished across this series. In this book, in particular, the city of St. Petersburg takes on a character of its own, simultaneously light and dark, both vibrant and foreboding. The mystery of the murdered ballerina is well crafted, with sufficient twists and turns to challenge even the most erudite reader." -Gumshoe Review