Death in St. Petersburg by Tasha Alexander

Death in St. Petersburg

A dance with death...After the final curtain of Swan Lake, an animated crowd exits the Mariinsky theatre brimming with excitement. 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!Among the theatergoers is Lady Emily,...

Title:Death in St. Petersburg
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Edition Language:English

Death in St. Petersburg Reviews

  • Christa

    Review to come on publication date.

  • Alisha

    This is probably one of the strongest Lady Emily mysteries to date, set in the world of the Russian ballet in the year 1900.

    Lady Emily is in St. Petersburg for the New Year, bent on celebration and enjoyment. But after an evening at the world-renowned ballet, her deductive skills are suddenly called to work when the body of a ballerina is discovered in the snow outside the theatre. Who could have wanted to do away with her, and why?

    I've read all of the Lady Emily mysteries, and at times have tak

    This is probably one of the strongest Lady Emily mysteries to date, set in the world of the Russian ballet in the year 1900.

    Lady Emily is in St. Petersburg for the New Year, bent on celebration and enjoyment. But after an evening at the world-renowned ballet, her deductive skills are suddenly called to work when the body of a ballerina is discovered in the snow outside the theatre. Who could have wanted to do away with her, and why?

    I've read all of the Lady Emily mysteries, and at times have taken issue with this Victorian character too loudly and proudly proclaiming her modernity. I'm pleased to say that I didn't notice that tendency in this book. Her character seemed a little more mature, a little more self-controlled.

    I also enjoyed the storytelling technique in this book. It's one that Tasha Alexander has used to good effect before, but it was particularly skillful here. She intersperses the Lady Emily chapters with shorter chapters from the point of view of the ballerinas, starting about 10 years prior to the investigation, revealing their relationships and the course of their careers, catching up to Lady Emily's narrative just in time for the big finish. Both narratives were compelling and made me want to keep reading.

    The recurrence of Sebastian Capet, unreformed thief and admirer of Lady Emily, lends wit and comedy to the story and is a welcome addition to the plot.

    Not least of the accomplishments of this novel is the well-defined setting. St. Petersburg at the turn of the 20th century sounds like quite a place. I enjoyed the glimpses of the Hermitage, the Winter Palace, and the exquisite Faberge eggs.

    An "Easter egg," if you will, is the appearance of a character with a subtle connection to Amelia Peabody (the much loved character created by Elizabeth Peters and the main star of about 20 novels in her own series). Blink and you'll miss it, but it's a fun thing. Tasha Alexander is actually not the only author to pay tribute to the late Elizabeth Peters in this delightful way. It's great.

    ***Thanks to St. Martin's Press for sending me a review copy!

  • Lori Lamothe

    When Emily Hargreaves emerges from the Mariinksy Theatre, she encounters more than another frigid Russian night. Swan Lake’s prima ballerina lies broken across the snow, a spray of blood spattered across her tutu. Despite the best efforts of the police, Lady Emily manages to push her way to the front of the crime scene for a closer look. She quickly detects what the police have missed: a diamond-encrusted Faberge egg hidden beneath the body. Unfortunately, investigating a death in a foreign coun

    When Emily Hargreaves emerges from the Mariinksy Theatre, she encounters more than another frigid Russian night. Swan Lake’s prima ballerina lies broken across the snow, a spray of blood spattered across her tutu. Despite the best efforts of the police, Lady Emily manages to push her way to the front of the crime scene for a closer look. She quickly detects what the police have missed: a diamond-encrusted Faberge egg hidden beneath the body. Unfortunately, investigating a death in a foreign country is not part of Lady Emily’s duties as the wife of Colin Hargreaves, a dashing undercover officer who is in St. Petersburg at the Queen’s behest. But as is usually the case—at least when it comes to investigating murders—luck is on her side. The next day a handsome prince presents himself at Emily’s hotel and begs her to uncover the truth on his behalf.

    Finding out just what the truth is proves to be as challenging as ever for Lady Emily. Is the culprit one of Irusya Nemetseva’s many admirers, not a few of whom are important, wealthy men? Or is the killer an old love, one who grew up in far different circumstances and whose ideas have become increasingly radical? Or could the motive be ambition, not thwarted passion? Katenka Petrovna is Nemetseva’s oldest friend, but there is no denying that the ballerina’s demise thrust her into the spotlight. Instead of watching in the wings as an understudy, Katenka steps into her friend’s place as the dance company’s rising star. And these are only the principals. As Lady Emily pursues the investigation, she realizes St. Petersburg has more than its share of possible suspects. Accompanied by her friend Cecile, she meets revolutionaries and dancers, the Tsar and Tsarina, and even the thief Sebastian Capet, who still doesn’t consider her marriage an obstacle to their love. There is one person Lady Emily can’t seem to locate, however—the ghostly ballerina who has begun appearing throughout the city, disappearing into thin air and leaving only a red scarf behind.

    I crave Victorian mysteries on a regular basis and this one hit the spot. The smart, intrepid Emily is appealing as ever, as is Alexander’s tale of murder, ballet and Russian mayhem. The chapters alternate between Katenka’s point of view in the late 1890s and Lady Emily’s in 1900, which kept the pacing brisk and the mystery engaging. I especially liked Katenka’s chapters, which gave me a glimpse into a dancer’s life in Imperial Russia, as well as some interesting background on the political turmoil brewing at the turn of the century. At one point, Lady Emily says Russia has grabbed a piece of her soul and I can say the same for myself. Reading this novel brought back memories of my own trip to St. Petersburg many years ago. Though it’s founded on “tears and corpses,” the city possesses much beauty and an almost fairy-tale like quality (in the Grimm sense of the word, not the Disney). Alexander captures this setting quite well and the writing itself is crisply entertaining. My only disappointment with the book was with the final explanation of the crime, which left me feeling slightly unsatisfied. However, my unease wasn’t enough to seriously mar my enjoyment of the novel. If you’re a fan of the series—or of Elizabeth Peters and Deanna Raybourn—"Death in St. Petersburg" will no doubt appeal to you. If you haven’t read Tasha Alexander and you’re in the mood for a bit of armchair time travel, I recommend the book as well.

    Much thanks to St. Martin's and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  • Angie

    One of the best in the Lady Emily series, in my opinion! Great setting, subject, & characters.

    This is book #12 in the Lady Emily historical mystery series. Overall, it’s been a great series to follow. There have definitely been highs and lows with the entries, but this one didn’t disappoint. I loved it! As a forever fan of ballet, it was poised to be a favorite, I guess.

    Lady Emily and her husband Colin are in St Petersburg, Russia along with their longtime friend Cecile. The city was descr

    One of the best in the Lady Emily series, in my opinion! Great setting, subject, & characters.

    This is book #12 in the Lady Emily historical mystery series. Overall, it’s been a great series to follow. There have definitely been highs and lows with the entries, but this one didn’t disappoint. I loved it! As a forever fan of ballet, it was poised to be a favorite, I guess.

    Lady Emily and her husband Colin are in St Petersburg, Russia along with their longtime friend Cecile. The city was described beautifully, and I could visualize it all! They are in attendance at a performance of Swan Lake in the Mariinsky Theatre, when the prima ballerina doesn’t reappear after a break between acts. Her understudy steps in, but the crowd is left wondering what happened. Unfortunately it becomes clear when they all leave. Emily is enlisted to find out what happened and who the murderer is while Colin is working his own assignment.

    The chapters alternate between current day and the past, and through this we learn a lot about day to day life as a ballerina at turn of the century Russia. Political unrest is rife and abundant. The writing is superb and so descriptive. The mystery is done well, and will keep you reading and guessing until the end. A must read for Lady Emily fans!!

    *Many thanks to NetGalley, St Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books for an ARC to read and review. I was thrilled!*

  • Barbara Rogers

    Series: Lady Emily

    Publication Date: 10/10/17

    Okay, I admit it – I loved the book! The writing is superb and the descriptions put you right there with the participants. I love Emily and Colin – what a strong, loving, caring, and supportive couple they are! What threw me was having to constantly stop and sound out the Russian names. Normally with unusual (to me) names, I just decide what they are going to be and call them that whether it is correct or not. For some reason, I couldn’t do that with t

    Series: Lady Emily

    Publication Date: 10/10/17

    Okay, I admit it – I loved the book! The writing is superb and the descriptions put you right there with the participants. I love Emily and Colin – what a strong, loving, caring, and supportive couple they are! What threw me was having to constantly stop and sound out the Russian names. Normally with unusual (to me) names, I just decide what they are going to be and call them that whether it is correct or not. For some reason, I couldn’t do that with this book – maybe it was because I was loving the book and wanted to get the names correct.

    Colin Hargreaves travels all over in his role as a spy in support of the crown. Lady Emily usually stays home worrying about him and entertaining herself with solving her own mysteries. However, when he is sent to St. Petersburg, Emily also gets an invitation to visit her friend in St. Petersburg. She knows Colin won’t let her go with him, so she leaves the day after him – and sends him a missive letting him know she is on her way and letting him know that she can stay with her friend while she’s there or she can stay with him – whichever he prefers. Of course, he wants her with him!

    Colin spends his days and often long into the night working on his mission while Lady Emily spends her time with her friends and attending various entertainments. Then, there is the opera. Swan Lake featuring a new ballerina in the dual role. She is flawlessly beautiful and graceful beyond compare – so – finding her dead body, covered in blood, directly after the performance is really shocking. Add a fabulous stolen Faberge Egg underneath her body and you have a real mystery on your hands.

    Lady Emily has been asked to investigate the death, by a friend of the victim, because they have no confidence in the state’s investigators. The suspects and motives are legion. Is it an old love, a current love or one of the many wealthy and high-ranking men who want to be her lover? Investigating in a foreign land isn’t easy, but Lady Emily solves the case, and the perpetrator may surprise you.

    I like that the chapters switch between the current time (January 1900) which is told in the first person by Lady Emily and the earlier years told from Katenka’s point of view. Seeing the friendship between Katenka and Irusya Nemetseva in those earlier years is very nice. They give you a real feel for what it must have been like in ‘the state system’ in place in Russia at the time.

    There are many political undercurrents in the case and any one of them could have bearing on the case. Then, add in the delightful Sebastian Capet (from earlier books) and you have a real mystery. Who stole the egg? Is that why the dancer was murdered? Was she involved in political intrigue? Was she just in the wrong place at the wrong time? You’ll just have to read the book to see.

    I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

    "I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."

  • Sophia

    The Lady Emily series has been an engaging historical mystery story, romance, but also a feast for the senses. I've adored each time to series takes the reader to a Victorian era foreign setting with its lush descriptions of place, culture, society, historical backdrop and more. This latest installment was no exception.

    I found myself enjoying it in a bittersweet way since I knew what events would follow this time in the lives of the Romanovs and the Russian people. This is the waning years of Cz

    The Lady Emily series has been an engaging historical mystery story, romance, but also a feast for the senses. I've adored each time to series takes the reader to a Victorian era foreign setting with its lush descriptions of place, culture, society, historical backdrop and more. This latest installment was no exception.

    I found myself enjoying it in a bittersweet way since I knew what events would follow this time in the lives of the Romanovs and the Russian people. This is the waning years of Czarist Russia. The cracks are there in this story and the extreme ends of ideology are growing louder. But set against this was a tale from the world of Russian Ballet. It didn't delve into the details of the dance so much as the life of the dancers, particularly two dancers, Katenka and her best friend, the great Nemetseva.

    Emily and Cecilie have accepted an invitation from Masha one of Cecilie's friends to enjoy the Russian social season which also gives Emily the chance to join her husband Colin after the holidays with their family. Colin is on secret work for the British Crown and can't share with Emily what he is doing no matter how much she wheedles. But the death of Nemetseva and the request of her lover give Emily a case to keep her busy.

    A little side note/niggle. Over the last few books, I've slowly grown irritated with Emily while still enjoying everything and everyone else about the stories. This one, it really struck me that she takes a 'you owe me all your secrets' attitude and gets really pushy with people in her quest for the truth. She runs rough shod over sensibilities with little provocation or proof the person deserves it. She happened to be right sometimes, but other times, there are valid reasons why people aren't forthcoming with all their personal thoughts. This is really a mild niggle though I suppose I've made it a big deal as a result of my own personal preference when it comes to that sort of thing.

    As to the case, this one came along slowly with lots of racing back and forth between the suspects and witnesses between times of social activity. It is also told in a split plot line of the past for the two ballerinas and the present with Emily solving the murder. While it wasn't exciting until near the end, the slow pace detecting and story lines were engaging. I enjoyed the immersion into that historic world while turning my mind to the investigation. I got an early suspicion and it turned out my instinct for the solution was correct though I can't take credit since I had no real reason for my suspicion.

    All in all, it was another solid book in the Lady Emily series and left me with a thirst to find more books on this period in Russian history. I can recommend this series for those who enjoy lady amateur detectives in a historical setting and some interesting detecting adventures.

    I rec'd this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

  • eyes.2c

    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 mysteri

    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

  • Diane S ☔

    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 prima 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 world of

    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 prima 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 world 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.

  • Laurel Hicks

    Pushkin, Petersburg, Tchaikovsky, and murder most foul—what’s not to like?

  • Kate Baxter

    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 Russia

    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.


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