A Brush with Shadows by Anna Lee Huber
Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Lady Darby Mystery #6
Publication Date: 3/6/18
Fifteen years ago, at the age of eighteen, Sebastian Gage walked away from Langstone Manor and swore he’d never return. Now, it is in view, as cold and brooding as the moors on which it sits. Every nerve in Sebastian’s body is singing and the tension in the coach is palpable. He certainly didn’t want to return, but here he is, all because his grandfather sent him a missive asking him to come and investigate his cousin’s disappearance. He almost didn’t come and probably wouldn’t have if Kiera hadn’t persuaded him to do so. He and Kiera are tired to the bone because they have traveled from Ireland as quickly as possible. Kiera knows that Sebastian’s life here was not a happy one, but, since he won’t talk about it, she has no idea what that life was really like.
Upon arrival, they are received very coldly by Sebastian’s aunt – the servants didn’t even know they were coming – nor did his aunt. Then, Sebastian learns that not only is his cousin missing, his grandfather is also at death’s door. Had my aunt and cousins treated me the same way Sebastian’s did, I wouldn’t be at all interested in spending my time in a very hostile environment to try to find one of them. However, Sebastian is a very good man and will do what he can to help the family that abused him and his mother.
Albert, Sebastian’s older cousin and heir to Sebastian’s grandfather’s title, walked out onto the moors one day and nobody has seen him since. Not a single trace of him is anywhere to be found. Then, Albert’s brother Rory goes missing as well – and in the same manner. Where could they be? How could they just disappear without a trace? Kiera and Gage are having a really hard time with this investigation because the house is filled with secrets and nobody – even Sebastian’s grandfather – is telling them what they need to know. They are doing all of that while trying to protect themselves as well because they have also been attacked.
I know every murder mystery has to have a victim, but I really didn’t want it to be this one. I came to like this victim more and more as I read more of the book. The villain is a surprise to the reader and to Gage and Kiera. I am so glad we got to know more of Gage’s early life and that there are some reconciliations. I’m also looking forward to their next case in London and to hopefully see Lord Gage (Sebastian’s father) get a bit of a comeuppance.
As always, Huber’s writing is excellent, the story is well plotted and executed, and the characters are fully-developed and engaging. The descriptions of the moors set the mood and immerse the reader in that place and time. You can just feel the fog creeping up around you and surrounding you until you cannot see – and the fear – can you find your way, can you avoid the bogs. Oh! My!
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