Amazon link for the book is here.
Anna Lee Huber’s tale of mystery follows amateur sleuth Lady Darby as she tracks down a murderer in a Scottish castle. Set in the 19th century, Lady Darby is a widow with a past. When her husband died, it was discovered that Lady Darby was the artist who created the detailed anatomical drawings of cadavers her physician husband had dissected. (Dissecting cadavers to gain a better understanding of anatomy was scandalous enough during that time, a time which saw a rise in the theft and sale of corpses to physicians and medical schools, but was particularly disgraceful when associated with a woman and one of rank.) Shunned and abused by society, Lady Darby escapes to her sister and brother-in-law’s Scottish castle for peace and refuge. Her first exposure to society 18 months after her husband’s death is a house party at the castle where one of the guests ends up with her throat slashed. Because of her “unnatural background”, the noble guests are anxious to see her named as the top suspect. Now, Lady Darby must join forces with the arrogant investigator Sebastian Gage and use her medical knowledge to track down a killer both to clear her own name and to protect the family members who have been so loyal to her.
This book was a joy to read – the historical details surrounding oil painting, jigsaw puzzles, medical dissection, and Scottish castles made the story authentic as well as intriguing. I also loved the Austen-esque swipe at societal snobbery, which always reminds you that some things never change, no matter which century you are in. Lady Darby is a courageous, loyal, intelligent but maligned character, someone you want to root for from the very beginning.
The next book in the series, Mortal Arts, arrives on bookshelves September 3, 2013. I can’t wait to continue Lady Darby’s tale!