by Anna Lee Huber
Series: Lady Darby Mysteries #8
Narrator: Heather Wilds
Length: 11 hours 29 minutes
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.25x
Lady Kiera Darby and her husband Sebastian Gage are looking forward to relaxing with new friends at an exciting yearly soiree, but they soon learn that murder never takes a holiday in the latest riveting installment in this national bestselling series.
Scotland 1832. After enjoying a delightful holiday with her family, Lady Kiera Darby is looking forward to finishing her new friend, the Duchess of Bowmont's portrait, as well as attending the duchess' annual Twelfth Night party. Though she normally avoids such fashionable events, Kiera trusts the attention will not be focused on her, but rather her notorious hostess and her family. But upon their arrival at the opulent Scottish estate, Kiera and her husband and fellow investigative partner, Sebastian Gage, swiftly deduce that all is not merry in the duke's household. The family appears to be under a great strain, and someone seems determined to cause mayhem among the guests with a series of forged notes.
However, matters swiftly turn from irksome to downright deadly when the merrymakers stumble upon a decomposing body in the castle's crypt. This corpse is certainly no laughing matter, especially when it is identified as the duchess' son-in-law, the Earl of Helmsdale, who had purportedly traveled to Paris more than a month earlier. It is evident the man met with foul play, and Kiera and Gage step in to investigate, at the duchess' insistence. Kiera and Gage must swiftly reexamine the facts, for a ruthless murderer walks among them and may well be a member of the duchess' own family. Kiera soon discovers just how deep the killer is willing to dig to keep their secrets from ever seeing the light of day.
It’s time to welcome Sophia Rose back to the blog and today she has another Lady Darby Mystery to share with us. Grab an iced tea and check out her thoughts on the audiobook version of A Stroke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber.
Sophia Rose’s Review
The winter holidays spent with family in Scotland and a Twelfth Night Ball at her new friend the Duchess of Bowmont’s Scottish castle home seem just the thing for Kiera and Gage after the perils of their last case in London. Then a body turns up and the ducal family secrets might very well play a part.
A Stroke of Malice is the eighth of the Lady Darby mysteries that must be read in order to see how personal and relationship ties progress through the series.
The mystery in this one is an unidentified dead body that exposes an already notorious Kerr family to closer inspection. The duke and duchess produced their heir and spare and both have gone their own ways with lovers. The children between them and from their peccadilloes are loved by their acknowledged parents and are loving to one another. Kiera is not used to such arrangements and situations especially since her own growing up and recent marriage are very different. But, the facade is veneer thin and she sees how dark deeds like murder and abuse, jealousy and spite can be hidden when the family closes ranks and makes the investigation tougher. And, if that weren’t complicated enough, their old friend Marsdale is mixed up in it all and one of the Kerr family secrets touches her and Sebastian personally. Loved all the twists and turns, tension and thrills throughout.
Kiera is well into her pregnancy and struggling with her own dark thoughts of being a fit mother, juggling a career as an inquiry agent with family and home, and overcoming her unearned, dark reputation forced on her by her late husband’s anatomist work. Sebastian is fully supportive though he can’t help his qualms when their inquiry case gets long and dangerous and Kiera is all but dropping with fatigue and nearly gets killed and the baby harmed when a murderer thinks they’re getting too close. I do enjoy how these personal and marital elements are as strong as the mystery in each book.
The series narrator, Heather Wilds, was as fabulous as usual voicing a large cast of Scottish and British, upper and lower classes, older and young. She catches the emotional tone of each scene and that sometimes spooky quality this series can get from the settings.
All in all, A Stroke of Malice struck the chord pitch perfect and left me needing the next installment as soon as possible. This historical mystery series dosed with a good portion of romance and character-development is one I highly recommend, particularly in audio.A Stroke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber struck the chord pitch perfect and left Sophia Rose needing the next installment #audiobook #JIAM #LadyDarby #Mystery Click To Tweet