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Beneath A Silent Moon    by Tracy Grant order for
Beneath A Silent Moon
by Tracy Grant
Order:  USA  Can
HarperTorch, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback

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*   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Tracy Grant continues the tale of married couple, Charles and Melanie Fraser (begun in Daughter of the Game) in Regency London. Charles was a diplomat and intelligence agent in Napoleonic Europe, where he met his war bride, Melanie. Though she is unaccustomed to the civilized lifestyle of British aristocracy and London society in which her husband was raised, the pair have settled down to a more normal existence after their war experiences.

It is 1817 in London. Charles and Melanie are suddenly swept back into their previous lives of danger, excitement and intrigue, after a friend contacts them, on the run for his life. Murder intervenes before he can fully impart the important message that he desperately needs to deliver to Charles and Melanie, and they barely escape with their own lives. They are left with a partial puzzle and many questions as to why their friend was killed and what he was trying to tell them. Interestingly, the friend uttered the name 'Honoria' shortly before he died. Honoria Talbot is Charles' cousin and childhood friend. She is a beautiful, unmarried, seemingly perfect, nineteen-year-old young woman, with whom Charles once shared a close bond, deeper than the usual platonic relationship between cousins.

Honoria has always held a special place in Charles' heart that he will not discuss, and Melanie is hesitant to question, for fear of the answer that she may receive. As Charles and Melanie begin to investigate their friend's murder, Honoria's betrothal to Charles' father is announced (he is thirty years older than Honoria). Before Charles can adjust to this stunning revelation, a former compatriot delivers a message that sends the duo on a sweeping investigation, which leaves them deeply mired in dangerous circumstances in Charles' ancestral Scottish estate, along with members of the Fraser and Talbot families. Charles and Melanie uncover family secrets that could ruin reputations and threaten lives, along with a trail of clues regarding a secret, underground society, the Elsinore League.

Charles and Melanie are an intriguing couple and the husband-wife team approach is engaging, especially set in the late 1800s when most women were not exposed to intrigue and danger. Unfortunately, the mystery is too intricate and the reading became arduous after a while. I found myself skimming pages toward the end after reading one too many possibilities of who murdered who, who sired who, and so on (the Fraser and Talbot family lineage charts at the beginning of the book were helpful as references). Overall, Beneath a Silent Moon was interesting, but would have been better with a few less twists, along with a quicker resolution to the investigation.

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