Saturday, October 29, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber

I’ve been a fan of Anna Lee Huber’s historical mystery series, A Lady Darby Mystery, since I read the first book, The Anatomist’s Wife, back in 2013. The latest instalment, book five, As Death Draws Near, has recently been released.

Spoiler Alert: This review will mention how the relationship between Lady Kiera Darby and her crime-solving partner, Sebastian Gage, has progressed. So if you want to watch the whole thing unfold, I recommend starting with book one. Really, that’s the way all series should be read!

This story begins with Gage and Kiera on their honeymoon. They have little time to relax and enjoy England’s lake country before receiving a request/command from Gage’s father to proceed to Ireland to investigate a murder. The victim is a relative of the Duke of Wellington. And she’s a nun. The detecting pair are unable to say no to that.

As Kiera and Gage begin their investigation, questioning the nuns in the abbey and people of the town, they discover significant unrest (religious and political) in the area, but no indication why anyone would murder the young Harriet Lennox. The more they dig, the more confused they become. Then a second nun is murdered, raising the stakes even higher.

The issues surrounding the mystery are complex. The questions raised allow the reader to delve into English/Irish and Protestant/Catholic relations in this historical period. It also leads to a good deal of reflection on Kiera’s part. Now that she is not so much a prisoner of her past experiences, she has to contemplate what she wants to make of her future. Although the relationship with Gage is more settled than in previous books and they are more confident of each other, they still have areas to explore. As in earlier books, the combination of mystery and romance is well balanced and guaranteed to keep readers coming back for more.