Murder Most Fair by Anna Lee Huber
Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Verity Kent Mysteries #5
Publication Date: 8/31/21
Period: England, Intra-War Period, 1919
Number of Pages: 384
OMGoodness! This series just keeps getting better and better. This author’s prose takes you from your comfortable chair and plops you down in post-WWI England with her gripping descriptions. It is November of 1919 and the country is still trying to recover – to come to terms with the debilitating, gut-wrenching grief from which they all still suffer. Everyone copes with that grief in different ways, but one way that seems the most common is to carry an all-consuming hatred of anything and anyone German.
With the Christmas holidays nearing, Verity and Sidney are planning a trip to Verity’s home near Yorkshire. Verity hasn’t visited there in five years – at first, it was the war and her responsibilities that kept her away – then, after her brother Rob was killed-in-action, she couldn’t face all of the memories of him. Now, it is time to face the grief she has buried deep, deep inside herself and she’s not looking forward to it. She can handle it for a couple of weeks though – surely.
One of Verity’s missions for the Home Office comes back to haunt her when her great aunt, Tante Ilse, gets permission to come to England from Germany. Verity dearly loves Tante Ilse and was loath to involve her in a mission during the war, but had little choice in the matter. Verity needed to get a collaborator back inside Germany, so they used Tante Ilse’s home as a safehouse during the journey. With the anti-German sentiment so strong in England, Verity and Sidney decide Tante Ilse and her maid would be much safer in the rural Yorkshire Downs, so they decide to travel to Verity’s home earlier than planned.
Verity has been noticing that something just isn’t right. Tante Ilse isn’t telling her everything and she’s noticed the maid being accosted. She’s also caught several glimpses of a man she is sure she recognizes, but cannot put a name to. Is Ardmore, the overarching enemy of the series up to something again? Or, is this much closer to home?
Even in rural Yorkshire anti-German sentiments are very strong and local authorities don’t take it particularly seriously when Tante Ilse’s young, beautiful, German maid is found dead in a remote barn. Sidney and Verity know they will have to solve the murder themselves if they want to see justice done for the young woman. There are suspects aplenty, it is just a matter of weeding through them.
Verity has so much to handle – a murder, deep grief, and a family festering with what they view as her abandonment of them. Can her emotions survive it all? She and Sidney can handle the murder investigation together – no problem. Her family and grief are something she has to manage on her own – with Sidney’s support – but she is still the one who has to deal with it. Because of the Secrets Act, she absolutely cannot tell her family what she did during the war. Yet, without telling them the truth, they’ll continue to believe she abandoned them to drink and party in London while they were grieving at home. Besides the grief, her two remaining brothers both have issues from serving during the war – the things they saw – the things they did… Like most of the other returning veterans, they brought those experiences home with them and those experiences taint everything they do in life.
I absolutely loved the way this author made me feel the emotions of the characters. My heart ached for Verity and her inability to let her brother Rob go. The descriptions of the deprivations, the tensions, the terror – both in Germany and England – made you feel all of it yourself.
I hope you will read and love this outstanding historical mystery as much as I did. You cannot get better writing, better storytelling, better emotion, better more compelling characters anywhere. It is a wonderful series and I highly recommend all of the books.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.