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Death in St. Petersburg by Tasha Alexander
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Death in St. Petersburg

by Tasha Alexander

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686252,214 (3.76)9
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Showing 5 of 5
Even if this weren't another Lady Emily (and Colin) mystery, it would have lured me in with all the elements it employs that are like catnip to me: Murder, Imperial Russia, Ballet, and Fabulous Clothes. Since it is a Lady Emily mystery, there may have been a weensy bit of begging for an ARC. And I was not disappointed even one little bit. Now that the final Amelia Peabody novel has been published, I'm glad to know that Lady Emily is there to fill the same smart, feisty, fashionable, madly-in-love-with-her-husband hole. (And I'm more than delighted to see that Capet is so clearly Lady Emily's Sethos. A woman, no matter how madly in love with her husband she may be, always needs a scoundrel around to keep her on her toes.) ( )
1 vote BillieBook | Apr 1, 2018 |
This was a rich and atmospheric story of tsarist Russia on the brink of revolution - set from 1889 to 1900. Its backdrop is St. Petersburg, Russia with its spectacular Petrine Baroque architecture (18th c. Dutch, Danish, Swedish influence), built on the backs of conscripted peasants during the 18th century.

The Mariinsky Theatre ballet world, with its famous director and choreographer, Marius Petipas, and its world class dancers are featured prominently throughout. Ballet dancers were the Russian rock stars of the 19th century. Everyone wanted a piece of these dancers, including the bourgeois. Princes often sought them for dalliances - preferably with no strings attached. The wealthy bestowed grand gifts and much attention on these gifted artists and the ardor, for the most part, was well received. All is well until a prima ballerina winds up stabbed to death during a ballet interval. (Please ignore the tsarina's Farbergé egg hidden under the fallen dancer.) The plot thickens.

Synopsis (from book's dust jacket):
When the body of a prima ballerina is discovered in the snow, Lady Emily races through Saint Petersburg to solve the murder, while a ghostly dancer appears to take the lost ingenue's place.

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 the costume of the Swan Queen. 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 from the Crown. But 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? ( )
  KateBaxter | Dec 13, 2017 |
Death in St. Petersburg by Tasha Alexander is the latest A Lady Emily Mystery. Lady Emily Hargreaves is in St. Petersburg, Russian enjoying the season thanks to an invitation from Cecile du Lac. Lady Emily and her husband, Colin enjoyed watching Swan Lake at the Marinsky Theater and exit to discover body of ballerina Irina Nemetseva outside in the snow. A gold Faberge egg is found underneath her body. Did Irina steal the egg or has Sebastian Capet stroke again? Irina had disappeared halfway through the performance and was replaced by Ekaterina Petrovna. The next day, Prince Vasilii meets with Lady Emily asking her to find Irina’s killer. Her investigation will take her across St. Petersburg from the Winter Palace to modest apartments belonging to the dancers. Join Lady Emily on her latest case in Death in St. Petersburg.

Death in St. Petersburg can be read alone. I had not read the previous eleven books in the series (did not know it was part of a series until I started reading the book) and I had no trouble. I did, though, have difficulty with all the various Russian names. Each person went by more than one name which makes it confusing. The author did a wonderful job at describing St. Petersburg and the world of ballet. You can tell that she did her research on the era, city, and is knowledgeable about ballet. The mystery was simple and can easily be solved long before the reveal. There is a lack of action regarding the investigation. It is mostly Death in St. Petersburg by Tasha Alexander is the latest A Lady Emily Mystery. Lady Emily Hargreaves is in St. Petersburg, Russian enjoying the season thanks to an invitation from Cecile du Lac. Lady Emily and her husband, Colin enjoyed watching Swan Lake at the Marinsky Theater and exit to discover body of ballerina Irina Nemetseva outside in the snow. A gold Faberge egg is found underneath her body. Did Irina steal the egg or has Sebastian Capet stroke again? Irina had disappeared halfway through the performance and was replaced by Ekaterina Petrovna. The next day, Prince Vasilii meets with Lady Emily asking her to find Irina’s killer. Her investigation will take her across St. Petersburg from the Winter Palace to modest apartments belonging to the dancers. Join Lady Emily on her latest case in Death in St. Petersburg.

Death in St. Petersburg can be read alone. I had not read the previous eleven books in the series (did not know it was part of a series until I started reading the book) and I had no trouble. I did, though, have difficulty with all the various Russian names. Each person went by more than one name which makes it confusing. The author did a wonderful job at describing St. Petersburg and the world of ballet. You can tell that she did her research on the era, city, and is knowledgeable about ballet. The mystery was simple and can easily be solved long before the reveal. There is a lack of action regarding the investigation. It is mostly questioning and speculation. There are flashbacks into the early years of the two ballerinas that help readers understand their characters. Death in St. Petersburg is a slower paced story as Tasha Alexander sets the stage (very descriptive writer). I did like Lady Emily who is a woman ahead of her time in many ways. If you are looking for a light historical mystery, pick up a copy of Death in St. Petersburg.


questioning and speculation. There are flashbacks into the early years of the two ballerinas that help readers understand their characters. Death in St. Petersburg is a slower paced story as Tasha Alexander sets the stage (very descriptive writer). I did like Lady Emily who is a woman ahead of her time in many ways. If you are looking for a light historical mystery, pick up a copy of Death in St. Petersburg. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Nov 8, 2017 |
3.5 This is a series that I dip into now and then, depending on where and what the story line takes place, and if it sounds interesting. The draw for me with this one is that it takes place in Tsarist Russia and concerns ballet, which I love. After Lady Emily and her husband attend the ballet, they find the body of a primary ballerina, lying dead in the snow. Lady Emily, as she does finds herself involved in finding the murderer.

There is a mix of political intrigue, love, and the insular works of the ballerina. Found it very interesting, the world of Tsarist Russia was a hotbed of political manuveuring, with many factions unhappy and those wanting change by violent means and those wanting to give peace a chance. Just had to throw that in there. This is a rather tame series as far as action, more of a mind type of mystery, than one of blood and gore. There is a supposed ghost though and that addition adds a little spice to the story.

Well researched though, the author knows the ballet works well, and as detailed in her authors note, many of the places and players were actual people. Some interesting side characters as well, and the Lady Emily is fearless in the pursuit of justice.

ARC from Netgalley. ( )
  Beamis12 | Oct 20, 2017 |
A sparkling historical mystery!

St Petersburg in January 1900 before the Russian Revolution. Alexander's walk through this fabulous city is charged, exciting and wonderfully descriptive.
Lady Emily Hargreaves is once again up to her fur hat in a murder. And no ordinary murder. Right after her sensational debut of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake the soloist, Irusya (Irina Semenova Nemetseva), is found outside the stage door, face down in the snow dead, bejewelled in her own blood.
Then there's the mysterious, ghostly dancer who appears dressed as the dead ballerina flaunting a silken red scarf symbolic of the death Nemetseva met, captivating the populace and muddying the waters of Lady Emily's investigations. Because, of course Emily is right in the thick of things, murder, Revolution, threats to Tsar Alexander, all grist for the mill.
And then there's the delectable Hargraves himself who quite turns my head, let alone Emily's.
The story wends from events prior to murder and then after. Including the story of Katenka (Ekaterina Petrovna Sokolova) and her brother Lev, an activist, Irusya's relationship to both of them, and others beyond this circle who might have cause to dispose of Irusya.
What a treat! A walk through a charged time in history, accompanying Lady Emily on her investigation of a particularly poignant murder.

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Oct 9, 2017 |
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"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 the costume of the Swan Queen. 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 from the Crown. But 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 etoile herself? Or, something even more sinister?" -- provided by publisher.… (more)

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