by Anna Lee Huber
Series: Lady Darby Mysteries #2
Genres: Historical, Mystery
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Scotland, 1830. Lady Kiera Darby is no stranger to intrigue—in fact, it seems to follow wherever she goes. After her foray into murder investigation, Kiera must journey to Edinburgh with her family so that her pregnant sister can be close to proper medical care. But the city is full of many things Kiera isn’t quite ready to face: the society ladies keen on judging her, her fellow investigator—and romantic entanglement—Sebastian Gage, and ultimately, another deadly mystery.
Kiera’s old friend Michael Dalmay is about to be married, but the arrival of his older brother—and Kiera’s childhood art tutor—William, has thrown everything into chaos. For ten years Will has been missing, committed to an insane asylum by his own father. Kiera is sympathetic to her mentor’s plight, especially when rumors swirl about a local girl gone missing. Now Kiera must once again employ her knowledge of the macabre and join forces with Gage in order to prove the innocence of a beloved family friend—and save the marriage of another…
It’s time to once again to welcome Sophia Rose to the blog! Today she has a historical mystery to share with us. Grab a cuppa and check out her review of Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber.
Sophia Rose’s Review
Moving from a Highland Scotland castle to Edinburgh, Lady Darby and her family stopover with friends and become engrossed in a new, dark mystery and brings Kiera into contact with the enigmatic Sebastian Gage once again.
Mortal Arts is book two in the Lady Darby series. It follows on the heels of the events of book one and, though it presents a new mystery, works best when gotten in order.
Kiera and her brother-in-law, Phillip, worry for her sister’s pregnancy and so decide to move the family to Edinburgh and closer to better doctors just in case. Along the way, Phillip receives a message from his aunt demanding that he stop at his friend’s ancestral home because something has arisen that has put a snag in the engagement of Phillip’s cousin to his good friend, Michael Dalmay. Kiera also knows the Dalmays and is barely prepared for the startling revelation that happens soon after she arrives. The complication to the engagement becomes the least of the family troubles when a local girl goes missing.
Kiera has been brooding over Gage’s swift departure and abrupt emotional wall he put up just before he left and now she is on low simmer when she must work with him once again knowing he is keeping secrets. They clash as often as they have brilliant flashes of connection. She is drawn to him even while she is furious over his investigation into her friends and his need to keep his secrets and his past from her after she shared so much of her own troubled past. But, there is something there between them and she must trust him if they are to get the truth in time to save those she cares about.
The ongoing development of Kiera’s story and the story that is growing between her and Sebastian Gage has me as spellbound as the dark, brooding mystery. Some of Gage’s past comes out and I was glad to get it.
The historical element was as chilling as it can get. This one takes the reader into the horrors of insane asylums and the terror for anyone different to be sent to one. It also explores the horrors of war on those who come home with what was called battle fatigue and we call PTSD. Kiera is faced with her own demons as a result of being around a person troubled by experiences in both wrongful incarceration at a sadistic doctor’s asylum and facing war trauma.
The mystery was not that mysterious and was easy to work out all around, but that didn’t matter. This book had amazing emotional depth for a mystery and I cried over that tragedy during the big climax at the end.
All in all, it was as good as the first book and left me craving more from the Lady Darby series which I can heartily recommend to historical mystery fans.