Death in St. Petersburg (Lady Emily #12) by Tasha Alexander

Ho hum, dragged on and on. Had potential but just never coalesced for me. The barest plot ever: Emily is asked to investigate the murder of a ballerina. That could be interesting but then Tasha drops the ball. We get it-Russia in the winter is brutal, wear a fur, ride a troika, ice skate, drink vodka; the book raked over old ground and it could have been any characters from cozy mysteries and it would have made no difference. I’m not even kidding-pick up the closest cozy to you right now and the main character and their spouse or sidekick will work in this book. I recently read the Tradd Street series by Karen White-Mellie and Jack could do this book. Mellie would be a dumber Emily and Jack, while not totally pulling off Colin, could be a totally acceptable Cecile. Tasha really phoned it in with this book, getting so caught up in the history and descriptions that she let the reader down with the actual plot and characters. Speaking of characters, how many characters were necessary? Every chapter has new people that are never seen again.

There are revolutionaries, royalty, ballerina’s, old friends (Sebastian) and on and on. Many of the characters are not only unpronounceable, they also have nicknames that are used interchangeably all through the book so I never knew for sure who was who at any given point in the convoluted plot. The ending is, once again, more like a modern day thriller than a gentile 1900’s era setting. Even for Russia it was over the top. As always, I completely skipped over the alternating chapters from other character points of view. Useless and only confused the story line even more.

Sadly, this series is slipping into the inevitable downward slide in quality and storytelling. There were more references to the Elizabeth Peters books. Not sure why Tasha keeps slipping these in-what is her connection? Superfan? Book sixteen will be set along the Nile so perhaps all will become clear in that one. However, onto book thirteen because I have committed to this series and I can’t quit because there is always a chance it will revive to the level of earlier entries; or at least be so bad I can write snarky blog posts!

Two stars only because I spent a lovely hour perusing the online tour at after Emily and Cecile did something or other there in the book.

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