Well, it was better than I expected. I read some reviews that mentioned that the mystery would be obvious to an avid reader of mystery novels today, but while I did guess a part of it, I didn't anticipate the most of the plot.What I found most remarkable about this book, though, wasn't the mystery. I have read many examples of a woman being forced to marry a man she doesn't love, but for some reason, not a single one made me sympathise until Laura's case. I was very frustrated at the sheer impotence, the helplesness of the position of a woman like never before. Was it the way struggles were presented? The fact that author didn't use it so we would pity her character, but just presented it and let us come to our own conclusions? The fact that Laura accepted without objections, without even considering protesting? The impending warning from the start that something is wrong with Percival? One would think it reveals the mystery too fast, but here it gave the whole affair a much more troubling tone than the one the usual "woe is me, I can't marry the man I love" cliche gives. I know not. But it was very moving, at least for me.It's no surprise, then, that Marianne was the character I liked the best. The Count was intriguing as well. At the start, he was a potential friend, and the revelation of his true nature, though not unexpected, stung.Better than I expected, yes. But it still lacks a little for me to really like it. The narrative is a bit tedious at times. Granted, it is so because the author makes an effort to depict the characters that are presenting it well. Still, it did take away some of the thrill. Of course, this being among the first novels of the mystery genre, some allowances have to be made. But Goodreads rating system seems to be based on one's feelings rather than thoughts of literary merit, so three stars it is. It would have been three and a half if it were possible. I will definitely check out "The Moonstone" from the same author.