Thursday, June 6, 2024

Anna Lee Huber - A Grave Matter

Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her dear friend, Lady Kiera Darby is in need of a safe haven.
Returning to her childhood home, Kiera hopes her beloved brother Trevor and the merriment of the Hogmanay Ball will distract her. But when a caretaker is murdered and a grave is disturbed at nearby Dryburgh Abbey, Kiera is once more thrust into the cold grasp of death.
While Kiera knows that aiding in another inquiry will only further tarnish her reputation, her knowledge of anatomy could make the difference in solving the case. But agreeing to investigate means Kiera must deal with the complicated emotions aroused in her by inquiry agent Sebastian Gage.
When Gage arrives, he reveals that the incident at the Abbey was not the first—some fiend is digging up old bones and holding them for ransom. Now Kiera and Gage must catch the grave robber and put the case to rest…before another victim winds up six feet under.

Comment: This is the third installment in the Lady Darby mystery series featuring lady Darby and investigator Sebastian Gage. I have liked the previous two stories and will keep on reading the next ones.

In this story Kiera is staying with her brother Trevor when, during a special holiday party, someone appears and tells everyone there had been a murder and there was a missing body from the cemetery. From this situation it is decided Kiera will investigate a little, as she has done in other cases, and to help her in an official capacity, she is asked to write to Sebastian so he can give her some aid. When the two meet again after some time part, it is as if the feelings between them never ended, but they will need to feel they can trust one another so that their relationship can advance. At the same time, they find more bodies were taken from their graves, which suggests a planned crime, but who and why is the question...

I have enjoyed reading the adventures of lady Darby and Sebastian Gage because I already had the expectation they would become a couple, and the romance reader in me is always ready for one more world/series to appreciate. It also happens that in the past years I've come to really like these historical stories that combine romance and mystery investigations, this not being the first series in the genre I try. I surely hope the trend can continue...

In this adventure Kiera and Gage reconnect for a new case and it was quite a case. The resurrectionists in the 19th century were people who dug buried people to sell to the doctors for medical experiments and/or research and while this could be seen as a small way to advance medicine as it was back then, it certainly is horrifying when one considers the ethics and the lack of respect. It seems the plot of this book has to be related to this when more than one body is taken from a grave, but it soon becomes apparent there is a special reason for why those bodies.

I think the big reason, the one that is behind the bodies being taken turns out to be a bit flimsy. Well, to the way I see it, but it does make sense to what the story is about and to what people who might be more closely related to the historical facts depicted might have felt as well. In terms of how the plan was put into action, I liked the evolution of things and the steps taken into us realizing what was going on, at the same time Kiera and Gage found out things. The author also used red herrings and a secondary plot to divert the reader's attention and I think the mesh of things was successful because I did not realize right away that there were two different plans into action from the start.

The romance between Kiera and Gage has some new developments, and more than what happens, is the emotions connected to some of their actions that i liked seeing the most. Both feel certain things about one another and about past experiences, which they take into consideration when thinking about what might come next. I like it that they don't simply do things because, that they have a reason and a justification for their choices. Of course, I also liked where things went and cannot wait to see what will happen in the next book.

I also find these stories to be special because often we get to see the characters interact with others, with their families or in more domestic/everyday situations. For me, this is a great element because it is always interesting to see the dynamics and how people behave in different scenarios. It was particularly fun to see Kiera's relationship with brother Trevor and, again, with sister Alana and brother-in-law Philllip. I'm hoping we might see more about Gage in the future too.. of course since things are narrated from Kiera's POV, there is always some limit to how things are described...

Anyway, this was another successful book to me and carrying on with the series will not be much of a task, but more of a fun discovery process.
Grade: 8/10


  1. This series has been recommended to me by a number of people; I should have paid more attention before it got this far (the twelfth comes out later this month). I do have ARCs for some of the author's other historical series, the Verity Kent novels, and I will try to get to them soon this year.

    1. If the first book works out for you, it is likely you will want to read the rest.
      This assumption is what made me purchase many first books in series in the past, and sometimes it does not pay off!