Deanna Raybourn / Reading Group Guide:
Dark Road to Darjeeling

Readers' Guide Questions


  1. The setting of this book is a tea plantation in the foothills of the Himalayas, an exotic departure from the previous settings for the Lady Julia Grey series. How does this setting enhance the action of the story?
  2. The opening of the book reveals that Nicholas and Julia are having a little difficulty settling into married life together. What are the specific issues that they have yet to resolve?
  3. How does the Earl March meddle in the lives of his children? Is he justified?
  4. In spite of their squabbles and eccentricities, the March siblings are devoted to one another. How do they demonstrate that devotion?
  5. Did Jane make the right decision in marrying Freddie Cavendish? Do the Cavendishes seem welcoming to outsiders?
  6. The Valley of Eden has its share of eccentrics, most notably the Pennyfeathers. Does their family dynamic work?
  7. Miss Thorne and her sister, Lalita, are both servants, but have chosen quite different paths. Discuss.
  8. A new villain emerges in this book in the person of Black Jack Brisbane. How has his abandonment of his son shaped the man that Nicholas became?
  9. Did Emma die with murder on her conscience? Or was she a victim of circumstance?
  10. How does the addition of Plum as an investigator change his relationship with Brisbane? With Julia? With himself?
  11. Black Jack and Lucy Phipps, now Lady Eastley, elope together. What are Black Jack’s motives? Lucy’s?
  12. Was justice served by Reverend Pennyfeather’s actions?
  13. How will motherhood change Portia?
  14. Did Brisbane make the right decision to take Julia on as a partner with strict conditions? What qualities does Julia have that make her a good investigator?
  15. What lies ahead for each of the characters?