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Tears of Pearl: A Novel of Suspense [Hardcover]

Tasha Alexander
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2009 Lady Emily Mysteries (Book 4)
Looking forward to the joys of connubial bliss, newlyweds Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves set out toward Turkey for an exotic honeymoon. But on their first night in the city, a harem girl is found murdered—strangled in the courtyard of the Sultan’s lavish Topkapi Palace. Sir Richard St. Clare, an Englishman who works at the embassy in Constantinople, is present and recognizes the girl as his own daughter who was kidnapped twenty years earlier. Emily and Colin promise the heartbroken father they’ll find her killer.

As a woman, Emily is given access to the forbidden world of the harem and quickly discovers that its mysterious, sheltered walls offer no protection from a ruthless murderer. Soon, the Valide (mother to the Sultan) is found strangled with a silken bowstring and the head Eunuch is brutally slain.

When the killer strikes again, kidnapping a concubine and threatening to kill her unless Emily agrees to meet him in secret, she cannot wait for Colin or the authorities to come to her rescue. In a heart-stopping finale, Emily must rely on her own sharp wits if she is to stop a killer bent on taking revenge no matter how many innocent lives he leaves in his wake.

Product Details

Product Description


“The forth book of Alexander’s Victorian-era series has a lush setting and beautiful details. . . . The romance and lovely writing sweep the readers along. Emily is a most independent woman for her time. Her voice and the accurate historical details will keep the reader enthralled.”—Romantic Times (4 ½ stars, Top Pick)

“The author deftly handles the exotic setting and a subplot in which Emily worries she may be pregnant.”—Publishers Weekly

“The strong female lead and historically accurate details will please readers of Anne Perry, Laurie R. King, and Deanna Raybourn seeking a new fan-favorite author.”—Library Journal
“Infused with wit and charm, with just the right amounts of danger, romance and detection blended in.”—Denver Post

About the Author

TASHA ALEXANDER attended the University of Notre Dame, where she signed on as an English major in order to have a legitimate excuse for spending all her time reading. She lived in Amsterdam, London, Wyoming, Vermont, Connecticut and Tennessee before settling in Chicago.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Barely a step up from harlequin novels Aug. 4 2013
By Green
I feel a great disappointment that this mediocre story telling could have been much more excellent and entertaining. The premise - a spunky British aristocrat in Constantinople - is excellent. A number of these unique women do dot the pages of history. However, the author has missed adding local colour and local history to give the book more depth and, hence, enjoyment to the "back in time arm chair traveller". What we end up with is no more than a cheap and quick harlequin romance - and not very well done at that. A bit more scholarly research about the Seraglio, the importance of the Black Eunuchs and Valides, the international intrigue surrounding the Sultan, the state of affairs in the Ottoman Empire at the time, and a better comparison with how women were treated in England (the heroine is appalled with the concubines as slaves in the Topkapi, yet Alexander never mentions that women at the time in England were mere legal chattel), and so on. The only research Alexander has to do is check out Wikepedia! The book could have been more richly detailed about the city and its history. Perhaps this would have covered up the silly conversations and constant necking (at one point in a mosque - as if!) involving the heroine and her lover that other have complained about. The likelihood of the constant flirtation in a strict Muslim country by two Victorians is both silly as well as inaccurate. If readers want a much more accurate view of Constantinople society in the mid- 1800's as well as an excellent, try The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin and any of his successive books featuring the eunuch investigator, Jashim.
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  110 reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sooooo Disappointing! Sept. 17 2009
By Bookworm6772 - Published on Amazon.com
Wow, was this book awful! I found the first novel in this series wonderful with a great strong, witty, interesting new character. Book two was also excellent. While book 3 was predictable at least it was good. But this book was horrible. Poorly written, predictable, cliche, and so full of sticky sweet romance as to be a complete bore. This character went from independent, intelligent, clever, and revolutionary to a typical simpering, whimpering, swooning female. And the end! Oh please! Like you couldn't see that a mile away. What a ridiculous solution to an obvious problem.
45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lady Emily's latest adventure is her strongest one yet July 20 2009
By Nick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I like the Lady Emily series. I've had a weakness for strong female detectives (including the awesome Veronica Mars tv show). Miss Alexander's writing has grown stronger and more developed with each passing novel, and it's kind of cool to see growth in an author. If you follow a character through multiple books, you want to see them grow and the author develop as well.

One of the highlights of this book was reliving a trip I made to Istanbul (Constantinople) a few years ago and getting to explore it through someone else's eyes. From a historical standpoint, it was an interesting time period before the fall of the Ottoman Empire and before the country became Turkey. I was able to retrace my own steps through the city and felt like I knew the landmarks of where Lady Emily's adventure took her.

The plot itself is interesting enough: On her honeymoon with her new husband (who, hopefully in book #5, won't disappear in Africa while big game hunting) stumbles into a mystery involving a slain harem girl and her diplomat father. The book contains really interesting descriptions of the life inside a harem, which will probably intrigue and yet disgust readers with our modern day virtues. And Emily's ingenuity and talent as a detective are put to the test as she gets deeper into the mystery.

I know that some people will say - wait, this is the Ottoman empire! How can an English woman run around all willy-nilly and solve a mystery? Well, it's fiction, but based on truth: Lady Paget and other important women who actually did mingle with Sultans. So for the most part, I'm inclined to believe that had Lady Emily existed in real life, she would have been able to do these things (Victorian women were more bound by class than being a woman.)

The only real weakpoint for me in this novel - and this is nitpicking - is that the romance between Emily and Colin needs work. I like Colin as a character, but as a couple, they seem like two people who got bored and decided to get married because they ran out of things to talk about.

Overall it's a 4.5/5 star book. This book will both appeal to readers who are already fans of Miss Alexander's works and those who want to get into the world of a very intrepid Victorian woman.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied Aug. 27 2009
By Heidi Anne Heiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
It's hard for me to keep perspective on these books because they have been part of a special bond between my mother and myself. My mother doesn't read fiction very often while I read it endlessly in great variety. A few years ago I offered the first Lady Emily book up for her consideration. She read it, or should I say devoured it. She has been a fan through the entire series and as such I have been able to enjoy a series with her, discussing and even attending a few of Tasha Alexander's book signings together. That, in itself, has been a great gift.

Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves are finally married--another plus for this series is that the central relationship has been a key part of the series and has moved along at a fine pace, neither too slow or too fast--prior to the beginning of this fourth novel. (Alexander has a short story of their nuptials available through Amazon and her website if you are a fan and didn't want to miss the event.) Now they are on their honeymoon and of course fall into a mystery of kidnapping, murder and danger. Emily and Colin work together and learn about another culture as they explore Istanbul.

Is this novel the height of excitement? No, but it is intriguing and keeps the reader involved as the mystery takes twists and turns. This is a light historical mystery, well-executed. I'll continue to recommend the series to friends. Best yet, Mom and I will look forward to hopefully a fifth entry in the series.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Me, Myself & I Sept. 6 2009
By Doman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves are newly married and on their honeymoon in Constantinople. Soon after the couple's arrival, they become involved in a murder investigation of one of the sultan's concubines. The murder victim turns out to be the long-missing daughter of Sir Richard, a British Embassy official whom they have met on the Orient Express. Sir Richard implores Colin to investigate the murder of his daughter, but since men are not allowed inside the harem, Emily has now been recruited to investigate in an official capacity.

Tears of Pearl, Tasha Alexander's fourth Lady Emily mystery, was a book I looked forward to reading. Even though I found the third book (A Fatal Waltz) disappointing, I was still enamored enough of the first and second book in the series to pre-order this latest installment. Unfortunately, I found little that appealed to me when it came to the main character. Those who have read the third book may recall that Emily was often compared to that paragon of female beauty and intelligence: Countess von Lange, who was essentially a poisonous, adulterous, conceited woman with an air of supreme superiority ... and she was't even funny. If this was the author's way of telling readers what to expect of Emily's future character development, then I should have taken the author seriously and stopped with the third book.

Emily's character is not so far gone as to be completely intolerable in Tears of Pearl, but I found her grating nonetheless. And this starts immediately in the first chapter on the train: her presumptuousness in thinking that people not so much as WANT her help, but essentially NEED her help, this is what she thinks. Even when she tries to be sympathetic to someone, it comes across as condescending rather than compassionate.

Yes, characters can have faults, but the main character must also speak to the reader in a way that we care about them, that their flaws are just that, a flaw, usually redeemed through some of their better judgment and qualities. Why else should we care about them? Why should we be interested at all in their plight, misery, adventure, internal struggles?

Emily has that sense of self-entitlement that comes with being an upper-class woman, that her morals and judgment are superior to those outside her own class, and especially those whose culture are alien to her own. She walks about Constantinople with a degree of self-importance and ignorance. This is fine if it was any other Victorian upper-class woman, but isn't she supposed to be enlightened ... even just a little? Yet I found her to be a woman with little imagination and unwillingness to even TRY to understand how (in this case) women of a different culture do not think as she does. This kind of narrow thinking completely spoils the book.

Then there is her method of investigating and interviewing various persons-of-interest. Again, her ego gets in the way of things; her stubbornness cloud her judgment when she should be reasonable and rational (which is why she often misses the clue). It's the stereotypical female character who cannot control their emotions and revert all too quickly to self-pity. Emily can't seem to help herself; she must air her opinions to all and sundry, even to those inside the harem who are naturally inclined to be secretive and suspicious. Didn't she stop and think, even for a minute, that imposing her top-lofty ideals may get in the way of the greater good---namely solving a murder? I also found it hard to believe that she would approach the sultan (the sultan!) as if he were an equal! This is where her upbringing should come to the forefront: manners, but she lacks those, too. What has happened to this woman? She is about as subtle as a bull in a china shop.

A little sensitivity, a little common sense and---dare I say---a little humility, would go a long, long way, Lady Emily.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lady Emily Mystery Aug. 18 2009
By Neker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Lady Emily and her new husband, Colin, are on their honeymoon in Constantinople. While still on the train on their way to their destination, they meet Sir Richard and are told of the murder of his wife and his young daughter's kidnapping. Later, Emily, Colin, and Sir Richard discover the same daughter (20 yrs old now) murdered and Lady Emily insist they must do what they can to discover who is responsible.

I must point out immediately that I have not read any books by this author before, much less another Lady Emily novel. I did enjoy the setting. I thought it was described in great detail, but not so overly done that it would make the story drag. I also thought the characterization was well done. The characters were not flat, nor were they sterotypical.

On that note, I want to point out that, because I had not read previous novels, I was put off by the constant references of previous novel situations and plots. Characters that had no importance to this story line were interjected through letters or in first person dialogue. I had no idea who or why they were even mentioned and I don't believe it added to this story at all. It became more of a speed bump/hinderence to me and spoiled the story line since I had no background to draw on. I don't think anyone who has read the previous three novels would find a problem in this.
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