Today’s mystery feature is This Side of Murder by Daphne award-winning author Anna Lee Huber. I received a free ARC copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This is the first in a new Verity Kent Mystery series and although she has a bestselling series, Lady Darby Mysteries, this is the first book by Huber that I’ve read. It is a classic — an island setting, a storm cutting off communications, cryptic notes, army buddies harbouring resentments, and the body count rising.
Verity Kent is a war widow invited to an engagement party at Walter Ponsonby’s island estate in Simon’s stead as the men are all survivors of the Thirtieth Battalion, her husband’s regiment. Initially, she had decided to pass on the event but after receiving a typed letter which implied her husband had been a traitor and the writer would give her proof at the party she decided to go. He, or she, also seems to know that Verity had worked with the Secret Service, a fact she had revealed to no-one, not even her husband whom she cannot believe was a traitor. In anger, she agrees to go.
The first member of the party she runs into (almost literally) is Max Westfield, Earl of Ryde. She rather likes him as the day progresses and is inclined to trust him but when the cryptic notes keep coming and she has no idea which of the assembled company is writing them, she is cautious about what she tells him. The hanging is meant to look like a suicide but neither Verity or Max is convinced. Walter says he’s notified the authorities but no-one shows up. The second death is clearly murder — gunshot wound to the heart. Verity’s room is ransacked and the third potential death is murder by multiple bee stings. Will anyone survive the party?
This is a murder setting that has been done many times but there are enough twists and interesting details that make it work. Verity is a resourceful, competent sleuth who manages to catch her balance no matter what is thrown at her. Her attraction to Max seldom clouds her judgment and her training in the service stands her in good stead. As this is the first in a series, I look forward to more sleuthing by Mrs. Verity Kent. * * * *
If you, too, are a fan of mysteries, I hope you’ll not only enjoy my Monday posts but will contribute by publishing your own Monday Mystery, mentioning my meme, then come to my blog, comment on your mystery (or mine) briefly, and include the link directly to your mystery review. You can also copy my MMM badge to your post.