by Anna Lee Huber

Reviewer Rating:


Kiera, Lady Darby, is a woman shunned and reviled by London’s polite society.  After the sudden death of her anatomist husband, it is discovered that she is the illustrator behind her husband’s textbook on anatomy and the knowledge sends shockwaves of horror and disgust rippling through society.   What society doesn’t know was that her late husband had married her solely because of her artistic ability and that he constrained her to illustrate his text against her will.  As vicious gossip eagerly rips her reputation to shreds, Kiera retreats to her sister’s estate in Scotland.

Though she has been there for over a year, she knows it is still a temporary solution: she must lay to rest the demons of her past by rejoining the society that gladly turned its back on her so long ago.  When her sister and her husband host a house party filled with London’s haut ton, the vicious gossip that Kiera so desperately sought to avoid invades her sanctuary there to a menacing degree.

When one of the house guests is found murdered, her brother-in-law has no choice but to ask that she use her knowledge of anatomy to assist Sebastian Gage, a fellow houseguest who is the son of a well-known London investigator.   As she and Gage delve further into the investigation, it is clear that her unnatural, outcast reputation has marked her as the scapegoat and it takes all her nerve and her reluctantly given trust in Gage to catch the killer, before she becomes the next victim.

I enjoyed the gothic atmosphere in this historical mystery and found it to be well-plotted, if somewhat predictable.  Lady Darby goes through a believable emotional transformation and the romantic interest was handled with a light touch.  It was also refreshing to read a book that featured strong sibling ties as well.  

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