Share This

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Review -A Stroke of Malice

I have been following this series since the very first.  Here are my reviews of the prior books in the series (click on the title):

I am very honored to have several author interviews and guest posts from Ms. Huber:
1)  2012 
2)  2014 
3)  2015 
4)  2016 
5)  2019 

Now for my review of the newest addition to the series.

Author: Anna Lee Huber

Copyright: April 2020 (Berkley) 380 pgs

Series: 8th in Lady Darby Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild and era innuendo

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Mystery

Main Character: Kierra, Lady Darby

Setting: 1832, Traquair, Scotland

Obtained Through: Publisher ( Netgalley) for honest opinion

Cover blurb: "January 1832. After enjoying a delightful few weeks with her family, expectant mother Kiera and Sebastian Gage have been invited to the Duchess of Bowmontʼs Twelfth Night party in Traquair, Scotland. Though she normally avoids such fashionable, rambunctious events, Kiera is ready to join in the festive merrymaking. But upon their arrival at the opulent estate, it becomes obvious that all is not merry in their hostess’s home. 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.

Matters swiftly turn from irksome to downright deadly when the party goers stumble upon a decomposing body in the castleʼs crypt. The corpse is thought to be the duchesses' son-in-law who had purportedly traveled to Paris more than a month earlier. It is evident the man met with foul play, and Kiera and Gage soon realize that a ruthless murderer walks among them—and may well be a member of the duchessʼs own family. And when the investigation takes a treacherous turn, Kiera discovers just how deep the killer is willing to dig to keep their secrets from ever seeing the light of day."  

Lady Darby is pregnant which makes her involvement more delicate and even puts her and the baby in danger.  
Her new husband Sebastian Gage has a lot of stress because of Kiera's situation and the murderer gets too close to her.  
Bree, Kiera's personal maid and Anderley, Gage's rough spoken valet are relied upon to help them get answers. Plus there may be some feelings between the two developing.  The Duchess's family secretive, contentious, and generally unhappy.  

What is more gothic than a Scottish castle?  This has atmosphere dripping from the walls and gives the overall impression of family secrets.  Absolutely a great setting used to its fullest potential. 

Steady plotting adds to the setting to create a Hitchcock-esque reading experience that builds in tension.  The pacing is spot on and I found it hard to put down at all.

The killer confrontation is in line with the series expectation of exciting and nail-biting.  Perfection on that score.  The wrap-up provides satisfaction and a void, as I want the next book immediately.

I have come to regard this series as one of my go-to reads historical mysteries.  As soon as a new book is available, I scoop it up.  It never fails to draw me in and Kiera as the lead is more than likeable.  She is relatable while maintaining the historical accuracy, transcending the era and connecting on universal themes.  This book is a great addition to the Lady Darby canon with plenty of chills and thrills.  

I do have one concern.  Too often the magic of the series is hindered once children are born.  I've know a series to end with the birth of a child.  I am hoping this series won't suffer and Kiera is just as active in the investigation as she has been all along.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.

Here is a short video highlighting Traquair castle, likely the setting for the book, to get an idea of the great gothic atmosphere in the book.

Bookmark and Share


Mystica said...

I missed this on Netgalley.

sherry fundin said...

i love finding an author who leads me to pick up every book they write
sherry @ fundinmental

Related Posts with Thumbnails