Ten books?! How in the world are we are ten books already in this series?! I cannot believe it! It seems like just yesterday that I found this series and devoured all the books (at that time five) in like one sitting! This series overall has been completely solid. There were books I liked better than others and for different reasons but I would rate this entire series as five stars. SOLID!
I love Anna Lee Huber’s writing style and other books she has written but the Lady Darby books stand out above the others and I cannot say enough good things. Some of the books you can jump around in the series but honestly I think this is a series better read beginning to end. Not only area the characters great and the mysteries engaging, but you really gain a full appreciation for the character relationships and larger narrative.
Yes I know this cover is stunning and maybe you haven’t read the other books and just want to start here, by all means go for it but if you want to fully appreciate Kiera and Gage as well as the nuances of this book (and there are plenty of them and references from other books), then you definitely want to go back and read the other books—-pretty cover or not! For one this book features Kiera’s cousin, Rye, and if you miss the other books you will miss out on fully appreciating their relationship so basically read the other books first!
An all-new historical mystery in this USA Today bestselling series featuring beloved inquiry agents Lady Kiera Darby and her dashing husband, Sebastian Gage.
Argyll, Scotland. July 1832. After a trying few months in Edinburgh, Kiera and her husband and investigative partner, Sebastian Gage, are eager to escape to the Highlands with their three-month-old child. Kiera is overjoyed for her cousin Rye and her detractor-turned-friend Charlotte who are being wed in a private ceremony at the estate of Rye’s great-uncle, the Marquess of Barbreck, in what seems to be the perfect wedding party.
But when Kiera is invited to peruse Barbreck’s extensive art collection, she is disturbed to discover that one of his most priceless paintings seems to be a forgery. The marquess’s furious reaction when she dares to mention it leaves her shaken and the entire house shocked. For it turns out that this is not the first time the word forgery has been uttered in connection with the Barbreck household.
Matters turn more ominous when a maid from a neighboring estate is found murdered where the forged painting hangs. Is her death connected to the forgeries, perhaps a grisly warning of what awaits those who dare to probe deeper? With unknown entities aligned against them, Kiera and Gage are forced to confront the fact that they may have underestimated their opponent. For they are swiftly made to realize that Charlotte’s and Rye’s future happiness is not the only issue at stake, and this stealthy game of cat and mouse could prove to have deadly consequences. (summary from Goodreads)
For some reason I tend to forget that Kiera was first and foremost an artist! Over the last ten books she has become quite the detective and sometimes I find myself forgetting that when I first met her in book one, she was an artist and in all the earlier books her art was absolutely her outlet and identity. In this book we see a return to the art world with the investigation of a forgery. I really enjoyed the catalyst for this mystery being the forged painting! I loved reading about that and the process in which Kiera discovered it. For me this really added a lot to the mystery and made the book extra interesting! I loved the smart mystery that was both easy to follow while still remaining exciting and intriguing. I obviously don’t want to give anything away but this was a well crafted mystery with lots of past grudges and motives for various characters! It was very well done and I loved it!
Once Kiera and Gage were married (several books back), I loved that Huber refocused readers who love romance in their historical mysteries to another couple. Sometimes for me (who loves romance in their historical mysteries by the way!) once the principal characters end up together I find myself kind of bored after that. I love the ‘will they won’t they’ aspect of the stories. I think Huber is aware that many readers feel the same so early on she introduces Bree and Anderly and worked to develop an ‘investable’ couple. Meaning as a reader I felt connected and invested in their budding romance and the ‘will they won’t they’ aspect of their courtship. While keeping the focus on Kiera and Gage and yes there are heartfelt moments in this book too, but readers now have another new couple to cheer on and root for in Anderly and Bree.
Having this book set in Scotland was a welcome change from so many books set in London. Many of the Lady Darby books are set in Scotland and I always feel so relieved since so many historical mysteries are set in London. I also love that Scotland really provides a nice moody backdrop in these books and in this one it’s no different. Great setting! This book held my interest and really made me excited for future books! I loved that the author gave us a little hint of what’s to come! Obviously no spoilers so just go read it already! I love this series and this book was no different, another 5 star book for the series!
Book Info and Rating
Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: April 19th 2022 by Berkley
ISBN 0593198468 (ISBN13: 9780593198469)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Berkley, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way infuenced
Rating 5 stars
Genre: historical fiction, mystery, detective novel