Author: Christine Trent
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Lady of Ashes #2
Publication Date: 29th April 2014
Book Source: Kensington Books & NetGalley
Synopsis: After establishing her reputation as one of London's most highly regarded undertakers, Violet Harper decided to take her practice to the wilds of the American West. But when her mother falls ill, Violet and her husband Samuel are summoned back to England, where her skills are as sought-after as ever. She's honored to undertake the funeral of Anthony Fairmont, the Viscount Raybourn, a close friend of Queen Victoria's who died in suspicious circumstances--but it's difficult to perform her services when his body disappears. . .
As the viscount's undertaker, all eyes are on Violet as the Fairmonts and Scotland Yard begin the search for his earthly remains. Forced to exhume her latent talents as a sleuth to preserve her good name, Violet's own investigation takes her from servants' quarters, to the halls of Windsor Castle, to the tombs of ancient Egypt--and the Fairmont family's secrets quickly begin to unravel like a mummy's wrappings. But the closer Violet gets to the truth, the closer she gets to becoming the next missing body. . .
I loved the first book in this series, Lady of Ashes, and have been keenly awaiting the second instalment. Stolen Remains was an enjoyable read but for me it didn't have quite the same appeal as its predecessor.
The Victorian setting continues to fascinate me as does Violet's undertaking and embalming practices. At the behest of Queen Victoria, Violet provides her services to the deceased Anthony Fairmont and his family, (who are mostly an unlikable bunch) with suspicious circumstances seeing her also take on the role of unconventional detective. Mind you, her deductive skills make Scotland Yard look like blundering fools.
The whole mystery is neatly entwined with interesting historical events of the time; the construction of the Suez Canal, the 'hushed up' use of corvee labour on the project and Alfred Nobel's invention of dynamite.
As pieces of the mystery jigsaw are revealed there were a couple of times I found myself eye-rolling, thinking 'as if' ... the coincidences seemed just a little too convenient but all up I liked Stolen Remains and I'm looking forward to A Virtuous Death later this year.