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This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Verity Kent #1
Publication Date: 9//26/17
This book is the quintessential mystery. It is interesting, exciting, gripping, and filled with interesting characters. The descriptions of the emotional turmoil of World War I and its aftermath on the soldiers and civilian are so strong that you feel every emotion – just as if you were there. This author’s descriptions of the heroine’s grief over the death of her husband make you feel as if it were your loss, your pain. I just can’t say enough good things about the quality of writing and the depth of the emotions in this story. I almost didn’t request it because it is for a later time period than I usually enjoy, but since I love Huber’s Lady Darby series, I thought I’d give this one a try. I am so very glad I did!
Be sure you have a clear schedule before you start reading because you won’t be able to put it down once you start reading!
Verity married at 18 just as her husband was to go off to war. They never had that time of living together that made the deep memories – the kind where you miss his toothbrush being beside yours or his razor on the sink. Their brief time together was during his short leaves when he came home from the front. They were hurried and intense – and not nearly long enough. Then, a German soldier’s bullet took his life. Verity’s grief was so intense, so painful that she tried to drown it in alcohol and frenetic, frenzied activities such as dancing.
Sidney had been dead for fifteen very long, very difficult months when she received an invitation to a house party to celebrate the engagement of one of Sidney’s life-long friends. She declines the invitation until she receives a letter that says the sender has information about Sidney being a traitor. While she knows that Sidney had been very troubled on his last few trips home, she couldn’t believe he would be a traitor – but she had to know for sure. So, she accepted the invitation and headed to the house party on a private island with about a dozen other people. Each person had ties to Sidney or his service regiment and she had to figure out who sent the letter and find out what they know.
On the way to the ferry to take her to the island, she runs into (almost literally) Max Westfield, the Earl of Ryde. She feels an attraction to him that she hasn’t felt in over fifteen months. But, can she trust him? Is he the one who sent the letter? As she comes to know him better, she really wants to trust him, but he and his family are in a position that he could have easily been the traitor. As the party continues, the attraction grows.
Something about the party and the assembled guests doesn’t feel right to Verity. Then, the first death occurs. Jimmy Tufton was a cynic who had lost an arm in the war – and it was said that he deliberately tried to get himself killed. When he was found hanging, many thought he had committed suicide, but Verity and Max were pretty sure that wasn’t the case. Then, later the second death occurs – and that one definitely isn’t a suicide because there is a very plainly visible bullet wound in his chest. Charlie Montague was a very young man who seemed shell-shocked – and riddled with guilt. Who would be next?
There is a massive storm raging and the telephone wires have been cut, so there is no way to contact the outside world nor to escape. They are trapped on an island with at least one murderer.
Then, after the storm abates a little, the host, Walter Ponsonby is stung by several bees and he’s very, very allergic to the stings. Yes, it was also deliberate. Since everyone knew of the allergy, the unusual method didn’t bring them any closer to discovering the guilty party.
There are many twists, turns, and surprises throughout the book – and the ending is a big surprise. I had half of it figured out, but not the rest! I wish I could tell you more, but I don’t want to spoil the read for you.
I highly recommend this book and this author!
“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”