This Side of Murder
Anna Lee Huber
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The Great War is over, but in this captivating new mystery from award-winning author Anna Lee Huber, one young widow discovers the real intrigue has only just begun . . .
England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.
Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception . . .
“My favorite new mystery series!”
– Alyssa Maxwell, USA Today bestselling author
“Sure to please fans of classic whodunits and lovers of historical fiction alike.”
–Jessie Crockett, author of Whispers Beyond the Veil
First book in A Verity Kent Mystery series!
This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber is the first book in A Verity Kent Mystery series. Verity is a widow who has been invited to the engagement party of Walter Ponsonby and Helen Crawford. Verity's husband, Sidney was comrades with Walter. Verity was not going to attend the weekend event, but then she received a suspicious note regarding Sidney. Along the way Verity meets Max Westfield, Earl of Ryde who also served with Sidney. Right away Verity can tell there is tension among the men at the party. The group finds themselves stranded on Umbersea Island with the men getting picked off one by one. Why is someone targeting these ex-soldiers? Verity with Max's assistance sets out to get answers, but she is in for a big surprise.
This Side of Murder has a slow pace (glacial) that makes the story seem twice as long (the author tends to be elaborate on tiny details). The same details are rehashed throughout the book. Too much time is devoted to Verity contemplating the case (analyzing, thinking) and talking about it with others. There is little actual investigation. The pace picks up in the last 12% of the book. Verity was lackluster. She misses her husband (understandably), but she is flirting with Max at the party. I did tire of the many mentions of Sidney. She had potential to be dynamic (charismatic), but it was not realized (had potential to be similar to Miss Phryne Fisher). The mystery was slightly complicated, but the culprits were not hard to discern. The “twist” was expected. I am giving This Side of Murder 3 out of 5 stars. Ms. Huber did a great job at capturing the time period as well as what people were thinking and feeling after the war. People had a hard time after World War I, dealing with the loss of life (loneliness) and women were finding themselves at a loss after all the action (work). Women were allowed to take on new roles during the war and men expected them to go back to them (home, cooking, cleaning, having children) after the war. The descriptions about ciphers (prevalent throughout the book), though, will have some readers screaming with frustration and boredom (it was interesting, but tedious at the same time). I hope Ms. Huber will up her game in the next A Verity Kent Mystery.
I loved every moment! Fast moving and suspenseful with every turn of the page! My new favorite author!!