Mystery author Anna Lee Huber, author of the Lady Darby mystery series and A Gothic Myth series, ventures into WWI with former Secret Service agent Verity Kent. Recently widowed by the Great War, Verity reluctantly agrees to attend a house party on Umbersea Island, hosted by a close army buddy of her late husband Sidney. Fifteen months on, Verity is still struggling to find her footing and isn’t anxious to surround herself with Sidney’s war chums, but a mysterious, unsigned letter hinting at treachery in Sidney’s unit arrives, convincing her to go. The house party is hosted at an elaborately redecorated castle and every guest has some association with Sidney’s final assignments. Undercurrents of fear, bitterness, and anger crackle the moment the festivities begin, and Verity struggles to decipher the real purpose for the gathering. When first one man, then another turn up dead and other unsigned missives appear, Verity realizes that the rumor of treachery is real and she must find out the truth in order to understand the man her husband really was.
It’s been quite a long time since I enjoyed such a nail biter! The atmosphere, the pacing, the plot twists – terrific fun. Verity is independent, saucy, smart, conflicted, and curious – an irresistible sleuth and worthy heroine. I can’t say more lest I inadvertently spoil the fun, so let me just say this: grab this one on a rainy weekend, and you will love the ride!
Also worth a note: I always appreciate how deftly this author highlights the multitude of challenges faced by soldiers and their loved ones, once the wars are over. It’s a frequent theme in many of her novels, and I think it’s one that is important and often overlooked in historical fiction today.
I reviewed Ms. Huber’s Gothic Myth series Volume 1, “Secrets in the Mist”, here.
Amazon link for “This Side of Murder” is here.