World War I Era (1914-1920)

Death of an Unsung Hero by Tessa Arlen

Death of an Unsung Hero (Lady Montfort Mystery #4)Death of an Unsung Hero by Tessa Arlen

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Lady Montford Mystery #4
Publication Date: 3/13/18

Well, their carefully guarded secret is out. Lady Montford and Mrs. Jackson solve mysteries, and they are very good at it! Everyone knows and smiles about it, but our erstwhile investigators aren’t aware that everyone knows. So, it is entertaining to see their reactions throughout the book when one person or another mentions their penchant for solving mysteries.

This book is just exactly what I’ve been wanting in the series, a glimpse of Lady Montford’s family – especially her husband. He’s been a shadow figure in the previous books and we had learned that he was tolerant of her investigations, etc. but we really didn’t know him. I was delighted to meet him and came to admire him greatly. He is every inch the gentleman, loves his family, loves his country, loves his wife and supports her in every way. I love their relationship. So, thank you, Ms. Arlen, for providing this view of Lord and Lady Montford and their children.

This story begins about two years after the last book ended – we are well into World War I. England’s citizens have geared up and patriotism is at an all-time high. Everybody is contributing – all of the horses have been conscripted and are serving on the continent just as the men are. At home, everyone’s attention is on growing food to feed the army and producing munitions and other items that are needed. Everyone pitches in, even the aristocracy. Not only is the son and heir to the Montford title serving as a pilot in the RAF (though he is home injured at the moment), the daughter is serving with the Women’s Land Army, and the parents have started a hospital, Haversham Hall Hospital, for the treatment of those who have been shell-shocked.

I love the history in the book, especially about the budding science of psychiatry for helping the shell-shocked victims of the war. All too often, those suffering from shell-shock were further tortured with electro-therapy and other ways of quickly getting them ‘well’ and back to the battlefield. The doctor’s at Haversham Hall Hospital used both talk therapy and a type of ergo therapy – which is basically performing everyday tasks – like farming, harvesting, gardening to help them work through their issues.

Lady Montford and Mrs. Jackson are a formidable team when it comes to investigating crimes. They are so different, you would think that they’d never get along – but they are more friends than employer/employee. Lady Montford is more of an intuitive thinker and Mrs. Jackson is more of a logical step-by-step thinker. Their strengths play off each other and they soon solve whatever crime is at hand.

All crime stories require a victim, but I just hate that the victim required for this story was Captain Sir Evelyn Bray. It seems he had found himself during the war. He’d been a bit of a profligate before, but his bravery and leadership shone once he joined the military. He suffered a great injury during the Battle of Beauville Wood while he was trying to save the remaining men in his troops. When he awoke, he had no memory of who he was or what had happened. He was then sent to the Haversham Hall Hospital to see if Major Andrews could help him with his groundbreaking therapies. After only a few weeks, he was beginning to get his memory back. Then, he was murdered.

There are suspects aplenty in this mystery and you don’t want it to be any of those walking wounded at the hospital. Could it be someone on the staff? What about those individuals in the neighborhood who think the patients at the hospital are cowards who are shirking their duty rather than going back into battle where they belong. It is a twisted tale and you begin to wonder how in the world anyone will find the solution – but they do.

I can certainly recommend this book. I love the characters and plot. From early on, I had a good idea of who the culprit was and was anxious to see if I was right and if I was, to see how they did it.

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“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.”

This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

Note: If you happen to be looking at reviews on Amazon, you’ll notice that you are seeing ‘Verified Purchase’ reviews. You have to take a couple of additional steps to see ALL of the reviews – and those reviews are definitely worth seeing, so I hope you’ll go deeper to see them all.
This Side of Murder (Verity Kent, #1)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.”

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