I have finished the 135th book for the book challenge. It was Dark Road To Darjeeling (A Lady Julia Grey Novel) by Deanna Raybourn.
Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane are honeymooning in Egypt when Plum and Portia arrive and beg them to come to India with them. It seems that Jane’s husband Freddy Cavendish has died under mysterious circumstances and Portia wants to investigate. Also Jane is pregnant and Portia wants to go to help her. So Lady Jane and Brisbane are off to India.
At the Peacocks, the Cavendish estate in India, they find Jane, very pregnant. Also Freddy’s brother who is running the tea estate, Harry, and his aunt, Miss Cavendish. Jolly the butler. Next door are–surprise, the cousins Lucy and Emma, whom we have met before. Lucy’s husband had died on the trip out to India on mysterious circumstances and they settled here. Now Emma is dying of breast cancer and Lucy has a clandestine suitor. She plans to marry as soon as Emma dies.
Lady Julia makes friends with the Rev. Pennyfeather and his wife Cassandra, a photographer, and their son Robin, who enjoys nature, and their daughter Primrose, a free spirit. She also see the White Rajah, a white man who lives as a native near the estate. She investigates Freddy’s murder. Freddy was bitten by Cassandra’s snake Percival and died because of a infected bandage. Who placed the infected bandage on the wound?
There is a man-eating tiger on the loose in the vicinity. At a fete, the villagers are all present. Even an old beggar woman. Lady Julia comes face-to-face with the man-eating tiger. The “beggar woman” throws off her garments to reveal Brisbane in disguise who shoots the tiger dead and saves Lady Julia.
Brisbane and Plum are working together in the investigation. Plum needs some meaningful work to do and Brisbane is willing to take him on. Plum feels he finally being useful.
Lady Julia and Brisbane confront the White Rajah. The White Rajah is actually Brisbane’s father, Jack Brisbane who left him years ago. He disappears after leaving them a beautiful emerald ring that was stolen from the Vatican and a book of pornographic photographs of Primrose that Freddy had had. Lady Julia returns the book of photographs to the Rev. Pennyfeather.
Emma and the White Rajah run away to get married. He was her mysterious suitor. Everyone is very surprised.
Harry is attracted to Miss Thorne, the half-caste governess of Robin and Primrose Pennyfeather. Miss Thorne is the great-granddaughter of old Cavendish who founded the estate. Harry wants to marry her, but Miss Cavendish is very opposed.
Then the Rev. Pennyfeather and Robin go missing. Brisbane and Plum go looking for them. They are found near the lake. Robin has been strangled and drowned by his father and his father has committed suicide by shooting himself. The Rev. Pennyfeather left a letter for Lady Julia explaining why he did it. He explains that Robin had killed Freddy Cavendish because Freddy had the book of photos of Primrose and wouldn’t give them back. Robin placed the infected bandage on Freddy. The Rev. Pennyfeather couldn’t bear having Robin locked up so he killed him and killed himself.
Now Cassandra and Primrose are off to Greece with the doctor. There Cassandra will practice her photography.
It is time for Jane to give birth. She is in labor for two days. Finally she gives birth to a beautiful little girl. She is happy. She will return to England with Portia. But then she begins to hemorrahage. Jane dies. Portia is distraught. But she names the baby Jane the Younger. She finds an Indian wet nurse who will travel to England. Portia will raise Jane the Younger as her own.
Brisbane agrees to let Lady Jane be his partner in his enquiry business. But she must learn a few things. He sets out a course of study for her. She must learn to pick locks and learn about chemicals and shooting a weapon. She agrees. She is happy to be a partner. They are also returning to England with two peacocks that they were given as gifts. They are loud. Lady Julia is as happy as she has every been.
This was a fantastic book. All the characters were fascinating. Lady Julia is very inquisitive. She is constantly trying to one-up Brisbane but he is always one step ahead of her. Now she is his student and his partner. And now Plum is also a partner in the business. The next book should be fun.