Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Book Review: A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber

A Grave Matter
Author: Anna Lee Huber
Series: Lady Darby Mystery (Book 3)
Publication: Berkley (July 1, 2014)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: After spending some time with her sister and brother-in-law in Edinburgh to try to recover from her friend Will's death, Keira is back in her childhood home staying with her brother. Her art, which is usually her solace, is letting her down. She has been working on the same landscape for quite a while - and she hates painting landscapes. She is hoping that the annual Hogmanay Ball at her aunt and uncles will serve as a distraction but the death of a caretaker and a disturbed grave bring back all kinds of old memories.

She reluctantly asks Gage to come and investigate. Her relationship with Gage is a big part of her confusion. She doesn't know what he wants from her or what she wants from him. She does know that she wants to be involved in the investigation. It seems odd that resurrectionists would be interested in an old grave. Surely, all that would be left would be bones.

Gage and Keira soon learn that the bones were taken from the grave and everything else was left behind. Soon, a ransom demand arrives. The current Lord Buchan needs to pay to get his father's bones back. Keira, Gage and some others try to follow when the ransom is paid but lose the horse. Some further research finds that Lord Buchan's father is not the first to have his grave disturbed and his bones stolen. Four other men who were also members of the Society of Antiquaries have had the same thing happen. This leads them to a man who is accusing members of the Society of stealing a gold torc that his aunt had donated to the Society.

Of course, there are other potential suspects. Some of the nephews of the men whose bones were stolen for ransom could have need of the ransom money. Then there is Mr. Stuart who is a descendant of Bonnie Prince Charlie who might have a grudge against the men. Adding to the mix is Edinburgh crime lord Bonnie Brock Kincaid who is also looking for the graverobbers since they were his men until they left town with his sixteen-year-old sister. He is hoping Keira can bring her back to him.

Besides the mystery, Keira and Gage are working on their relationship. Keira is hesitant to trust anyone after her bad marriage and Gage's secrecy doesn't help. When she finds out that Gage's father is angling for Gage to marry, she is hurt that he didn't tell her that he had a possible fiance. And when Gage proposes to Keira, Keira is afraid that he is just another man who wants to use her talents as an artist and investigator.

This is an engaging series. I am enjoying watching Keira grow and change through the books. I like the way she is learning more about herself and what she wants out of life. I am also enjoying Gage gradually opening up to her. 

Favorite Quote:
Gage was not one for confidences, and he preferred to charm people and fool them into thinking they were close, when in actuality he's shared next to nothing of his real self. He'd slowly begun to let me in, and as relieved and flattered as I was by that, I was also frustrated by his unhurried pace to do so. He was the most secrative person I'd ever met. Except for, perhaps, myself.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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