A Flaw In The Blood
I read the Stephanie Barron ‘Jane Austen mysteries’, and enjoy them very much. Barron is exceptionally talented at capturing Jane Austen’s voice and replicating it in unlikely situations.
A Flaw in the Blood is something completely different, though, a taut political thriller that just happens to be set against the backdrop of Victorian England. As Prince Albert, the Queen’s consort, lies dying, supposedly of typhoid, an Irish barrister in his forties—a man with whom Victoria has a past entanglement—is summoned to see the Queen.
What happens next begins a chain of events that is both chilling and somehow compellingly believable. Barron has constructed a mystery/suspense/thriller/whodunnit of astounding brilliance, clarity and brutality.
I must say, what struck me most forcibly was the depiction of Queen Victoria. If you are a Victoria-phile you will likely be outraged, because her character in ‘Flaw’ is shrewd, unlikable, and ultimately… well, I won’t ‘spoil’ the plot, because the twists and turns are innovative, and eerily believable.
Smart, dark, wise and winding inexorably to its conclusion with an unlikely hero and heroine, this vivid, brilliant work of art reads well as a mystery, as historical fiction and as a surprising romance. Read it for an absorbing and addictive plot and characters who are both deeply flawed and wonderfully human.