I'll admit, I read a short story the author posted online about Emily and Colin that takes place immediately after A Fatal Waltz, before I read this book. The short story was replete with spoilers, so I knew, in essence, how this book ended. I don't mind spoilers and I've been known to seek them out, but in this instance, it might have backfired a little.
A Fatal Waltz stalled a bit for me about midway. This could be because of the spoiler-effect or it could be that the story just didn't intrigue me enough to hold my attention. I'm not sure. Either way, I enjoyed the book; I looked forward to picking it up and I got a bit irritable when I was interrupted. It just didn't flow as quickly as the first two did.
A character from A Poisoned Season is murdered in this book (good riddance - he was vile) and Ivy's husband is arrested and thrown into Newgate. Sensitive papers are missing and the victim had apparently received a warning/threat from Vienna before he was killed, but that too is missing. Lady Emily hies off to Vienna to try to find the person who sent the note, and it's here the story might have first lost me, because it never seemed reasonable that Lady Emily had enough information to know where to start looking.
Lady Emily's goals start merging/interfering with Colin's assignment in Vienna and the two find themselves working together for the first time. But really, I think this entire plot construction was built around the romantic conflict of Lady Emily meeting one of Colin's past um... dalliances. One who was rather disinclined to be pushed into the past. Ultimately, as I write this review, I think this is why the book wasn't a 4-star or higher read for me: I'd bet a dollar that the author came up with the romantic conflict first and created a murder plot to justify it second.
Speaking of the murder plot - it was ultimately a very good one. I liked the way the author presented the pieces of the puzzle to both the reader and Lady Emily; I just wish it wasn't so obfuscated by the shenanigans in Vienna.
I told myself I was going to take a break after this book and start reading some of the other books in the Pile, but when push came to shove last night, I picked up Tears of the Pearl and dove back into Colin and Lady Emily's world. Guess I'm just not quite ready for a break.