A Study in Death: A Lady Darby Mystery by Anna Lee Huber

Following a rather interesting courtship, Lady Kiera Darby is more than thrilled to have an investigative partner and fiance in Mister Sebastian Gage. Wanting only a simple ceremony, Kiera finds herself capitulating to the wishes of her well-meaning sister who seems intent on making the wedding the event of the season.

Seeking solace from the ensuing madness, Kiera takes on a commission to paint a portrait of Lady Drummond. The sadness in the elder woman’s eyes is an expression Kiera recognizes; Lord Drummond’s brutish behavior brings to mind Kiera’s own late husband’s brusque ways. Unsure how to help, Kiera knows she cannot sit idly by. It is when Kiera comes upon Lady Drummond prostate on the floor however, that things take a fatal turn.

The physician called to the house as well as Lord Drummond believe it was natural causes that led to Lady Drummond’s demise. Kiera however believes poison to be the culprit. Using her knowledge of the macabre and armed with her own convictions, Kiera is determined to find the cause behind Lady Drummond’s death regardless of what – or who – stands in her way.

This is the fourth and most recent novel in the Lady Darby Mystery series, and so far the strongest. The plot is quite believable as is the execution of how the mystery itself is solved. Both Kiera and Gage act and react in realistic manners and we are given a great deal of information on Gage’s mysterious past. After finding out the truth it is easy to see why he would be hesitant to divulge such information.

Previously introduced characters make appearances as well as new individuals. Kiera’s sister and her husband are here once more supporting their beloved family member but also causing some emotional grief. We are also introduced to Gage’s father and the turmoil he tends to cause.

Unlike the third novel, Lady Darby is really given an opportunity to show her worth. Being the titular character she takes the forefront in every scene, thus allowing her to grow in the readers’ eyes.

A very well written mystery – those who enjoy a good historical novel will likely enjoy this series.

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