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Even if the first book didn't, A Poisoned Season certainly has convinced me that Alexander's future books will be delightful mystery reads.
I'd advise reading them with attention though because the cast of characters tends to be long and two or three subplots all wind up together, somehow leaving the original conflict behind. However they have both common and unique HR mystery tropes making it altogether very pleasant.
This is the second book in the Lady Emily Ashton series, and it cements my overall thoughts on the series -- that it's reasonably entertaining without being knock-your-socks-off awesome. Emily is spirited and curious, making her a good protagonist for a mystery series, and there are some interesting supporting characters -- and I also thought the mystery in this one was an improvement over the one in the first book -- but the overall tone lacks the wit and sparkle of the similar -- but superior -- Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn, and while I like Emily's love interest, I wish their relationship was more carefully written, as it at times feels like we're being told the characters are crazy in love without actually witnessing any of the attendant emotion. Having said that, fans of historical mystery will likely enjoy this well enough, and I'll continue with the series.
The second book in the series is as entertaining and hard-to-put-down as the first. Pure pleasure to read.
A good book, set in an interesting era. I liked the social scenes and how Emily refuses to act like a lady. I recommend reading the book before this, 'And Only To Deceive', as this is a sequel.