The Study of Silence (Lady Evelyn Mystery #3) by Malia Zaidi
Publication Date : February 27th 2018
Publisher : Bookbaby
Read Date : April 2019
Genre : Historical Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Pages : 448
Stars : ★★★★★ /5
Lady Evelyn Carlisle has returned home to England, where she is completing her degree at St. Hugh’s, a women’s college in Oxford. Her days are spent poring over ancient texts and rushing to tutorials. All is well until a fateful morning, when her peaceful student life is turned on its head. Stumbling upon the gruesome killing of someone she thought she knew, Evelyn is plunged into a murder investigation once more, much to the chagrin of her friends and family, as well as the intriguing Detective Lucas Stanton. The dreaming spires of Oxford begin to appear decidedly less romantic as she gathers clues, and learns far more than she ever wished to know about the darkness lurking beyond the polished veneer. Can she solve the crime before the killer strikes once more, this time to Evelyn’s own detriment?
The Study of Silence, third in Lady Evelyn Mystery was cozy historical fiction with new murder mystery and adventure of Evelyn in Oxford. It was about challenge women faced in 1920s, social differences and preconceptions, love, betrayal, abduction, mistreatment and abuse and murder.
Book Proceeded one year after Evelyn’s previous adventure in France, with arrival of Briony’s (Evelyn’s cousin) baby in the world of Evelyn who was currently completing last year of studies in Oxford. And as expected she stumble upon another murder in Oxford. Murder of her Professor Arthur Longfellow just the next day of dinner party she attended at his house. And thus the mystery of solving the murder and finding the culprit began.
Writing was exquisite. Loved the narration of Oxford, St, Hugh’s university, London city, Primrose cottage, and manor of Briony in Chesterton, Daniel’s and Dominic’s large houses was beautiful with minute description that gave the streets and all the houses a vivid picture.
I loved most was, the history around the class difference, etiquettes of Elite class and women’s position during 1920s. It elucidated how war became the catalyst of reducing sex differences, women’s rights, supporting education and independence of women, change in law and inclusion of women among jury and yet on contrary being less lenient to women accused for crime because of preconceptions and women laying less or no trust on police and court when mistreated. Evelyn’s voice was strong, thought provoking and insightful on human nature, prejudice of society and ugliness and beauty of world.
In this book we learn more about Briony’s family, and Daniel’s cousin and his frustrating position in his own company. Aunt Agnes was most surprising by her placid, cheerful and lively demeanor contrary to her rigid, stern Nature. Oh I didn’t expect the reason behind such sudden change. Evelyn encountered some lovely and some not so friendly people in Oxford. Cold, emotionless professor and unlikable classmates, insensitive and taciturn housemate gave her tough time. I never liked Olivia, even after knowing her history. I felt for Lily and Fiona. The past of Mr. Brown, Mrs. Warren, and Evelyn’s friendship with inspector Stanton was engaging.
Daniel was ever so charming gentleman. His concerns regarding Evelyn’s safety and yet giving in to her wishes, not pushing her for marriage and giving her freedom was admirable. Best moment was when he was showing his house that he built and decorated in accordance with Evelyn’s taste. He won my heart right then and there.
It was sweet to see Evelyn’s possessiveness for Daniel. I felt irritated for her denial to prospect of marriage proposal. Like Briony and her stern natured Aunt Agnes, I also think she is silly for not tying this beautiful relationship in strong bond. I understand her wish to give herself time and to decide her future, live independently but declaring engagement before marriage won’t hurt, right? This part of Evelyn’s Nature was complex and beyond comprehension. Anyway, I loved them together as a couple.
Evelyn was inquisitive creature. Smart, kind and empathetic with the same strong conscience but she developed with what she experienced in previous two books. We see a different side of Evelyn in her hometown. I liked her for her bravery and instincts that saved her friends. She was great listener that made people confide to her and unburden their worries.
When it came to mysteries, she was too nosy and reckless than previous books. Even after persistent warning from police and her loved ones, she kept putting herself in danger. This time murderer was one step ahead, watching all her moves even though she was not totally involved in the mystery like previous ones.
First 40% was new character intro, what old one did after previous mysteries, set up of the mystery, and drama related to secondary characters. As soon as I observed Longfellow’s look towards Evelyn, I knew something was not right with this man and then next he is dead. But who did it and why? Evelyn’s monologue and her curious questions matched mine all the time.
Number of suspects was not much. The members present on the morning of murder were questionable and I was surprised no one kept eye on each of them properly and things were assumed based on preconception and there wasn’t proper investigation on the character of Longfellow but I could see why people were unforthcoming after knowing the truth.
Tragedies happened in book were as interesting as Greek tragedies Evelyn was learning. The small dramas of missing Iona, illicit love, betrayal by friend, suicide attempt, watchful eyes in shadow and attack on Evelyn surrounded the main mystery which kept going round in circle until 80% of the book.
Climax was great. Since the discovery of mystery man at doorstep of Longfellow and attack on Evelyn, things started to turn interesting. I was not real shocked by revelation of real culprit but the way it was execute was brilliant. At the end I kept thinking how prologue fit with the story. I went back to it, read again and then I understood how smartly it was connected. End was satisfactory. Loved the epilogue. I hope she has some more sense in next book regarding her relationship.
Overall, it was dramatic cozy murder mystery with engaging history , brilliant plot, developed character and vivid narration. It is best book and series for cozy mystery lovers.
Author: Malia Zaidi
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author via damppebbles blog tours, in exchange for an honest review. ***
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