Book Review

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A Stroke of Malice

(Lady Darby Mystery #8)

by Anna Lee Huber

@annaleehuber

Paperback, 384 pages

Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Berkley

Lady Kiera Darby and her husband Sebastian Gage are looking forward to relaxing with new friends at an exciting yearly soiree, but they soon learn that murder never takes a holiday in the latest riveting installment in this national bestselling series.

Scotland 1832. After enjoying a delightful holiday with her family, Lady Kiera Darby is looking forward to finishing her new friend, the Duchess of Bowmont’s portrait, as well as attending the duchess’ annual Twelfth Night party. Though she normally avoids such fashionable events, Kiera trusts the attention will not be focused on her, but rather her notorious hostess and her family. But upon their arrival at the opulent Scottish estate, Kiera and her husband and fellow investigative partner, Sebastian Gage, swiftly deduce that all is not merry in the duke’s household. 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.

However, matters swiftly turn from irksome to downright deadly when the merrymakers stumble upon a decomposing body in the castle’s crypt. This corpse is certainly no laughing matter, especially when it is identified as the duchess’ son-in-law, the Earl of Helmsdale, who had purportedly traveled to Paris more than a month earlier. It is evident the man met with foul play, and Kiera and Gage step in to investigate, at the duchess’ insistence. Kiera and Gage must swiftly reexamine the facts, for a ruthless murderer walks among them and may well be a member of the duchess’ own family. Kiera soon discovers just how deep the killer is willing to dig to keep their secrets from ever seeing the light of day.

#AStrokeofMalice LadyDarby @berkleypub #mystery #histfic #twelfthnight #partylikeits1832 #romance  #KieraGage

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This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

A Stroke of Malice is the latest in the long running Lady Darby series and as such, I would recommend reading the previous books in the series to get the most enjoyment out of this one; the mystery works as a stand alone, but many of the characters have appeared in previous books, along with their backstory.

Following the events of the previous book, Kiera, Lady Darby, and her husband Sebastian Gage have agreed to attend a house party hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Bowmont for 12th Night. Kiera has been busy working on a painting of the Duchess and will continue to work on it while visiting their remote castle in Scotland.

Along with Kiera and Gage, Kiera’s sister Alana, brother-in-law, and brother are also in attendance. The duke and duchess are both to have scandalous reputations.

It’s even common knowledge that the duchess’s younger children are not the duke’s even though he has acknowledged them as such.

During a ball to celebrate the season, Lord Edward takes some of the guests, including Kiera and Gage, on a ghost tour of the castle. While visiting catacombs under the castle where a friar is said to haunt, the group is stunned to come across a recently deceased man. Unable to confirm the deceased’s identity, due to the deterioration of the body, but suspecting it could be someone closely related to the family, Kiera and Gage agree to on the investigation.

The investigation is far from easy when it quickly becomes obvious that the duchess and her family have many secrets that they seeming willing to do anything to keep, but does that include murder?Kiera is six months pregnant, headstrong and determined to not only confirm the identity of the victim but to also figure out who did it.

This captivating novel is lively with its twists and turns, that makes this engaging mystery one will keep you be guessing all the way through to the final reveal.I enjoy character development of both Gage and Kiera as their relationship continued to evolve into a solid marriage.

There are some interesting plot developments, and intriguing sub characters that I’m excited to see playout in the authors future books. This delightful series is one that keeps getting better with the addition of new installments

Have a wonderful day!

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