Tuesday, March 30, 2021

ARC Review: A Wicked Conceit by Anna Lee Huber

A Wicked Conceit

Anna Lee Huber
Series: A Lady Darby Mystery (Book 9)
Publication: Berkley (April 6, 2021)

Description: Soon-to-be new parents Kiera and her husband, Sebastian Gage, have been hoping for a respite from their inquiries, but murder and mayhem have a startling way of dropping into their laps in the all-new historical mystery in this national bestselling series.

Edinburgh, Scotland. March 1832. Kiera and Gage have been eagerly awaiting their bundle of joy but trouble has been brewing in the form of the roguish criminal Bonnie Brock Kincaid. A new book and subsequent play features some of Kincaid's daringly heinous exploits, although he swears he had nothing to do with it or the characters which are obvious representations of Kiera and Gage. While the scoundrel's fury seems genuine, as well as his determined quest to uncover the real identity of the author, the Gages still hold doubts about his innocence.

A rash of crimes break out across the city, seemingly inspired by the play and book. When the publisher is found brutally murdered--in an imitation of a gruesome scene--the finger not only points to Bonnie Brock as the possible culprit, but also the Gages, who have been outspoken in their condemnation of the tale. Now, the Gages are on a hunt to unmask the killer. Between the infamy garnered by the play, the cholera outbreak still wreaking havoc throughout the city, and the impending birth of their child, they will need all the resources they can garner

But family quarrels and the revelation of a secret Kiera has been keeping from Sebastian threaten to undermine everything they have overcome. When they find themselves in the crosshairs of the killer, trapped in the squalid underground vaults of the city, they will soon discover that the truth does not always set you free, and death can lurk around any corner.

My Thoughts: Gage and Kiera are set in Edinburgh in March of 1832 waiting for the birth of their first child. But things are not going smoothly. A book detailing the life of Bonnie Brock Kincaid and also starring Kieta and Gage has swept the country. It has also been adapted into a number of plays showing anywhere from the Royal Theatreto any other group of ragtag players. The portrayal has brought Kiera, Gage and Bonnie Brock into more publicity and gossip than any of them want. 

Bonnie Brock, a local crime lord and sometimes ally of Kiera and Gage, is certain that someone has betrayed information about him that no one is supposed to know. He believes that it might be Kiera or Gage though they are equally outraged about the book and plays. They become determined to track down the mysterious and anonymous author.

That isn't the only problem to two are having. The book has led to a number of other local crimes including jewel thefts that Gage is asked to look into. Their old enemy Lord Kirkcowan is mixed up in the new jewelry thefts.

Also, Kiera is keeping a secret from Gage which is bothering her conscience. The one who was supposed to share the secret with Gage left the country at the end of their last case leaving Kiera in a very uncomfortable position. Kiera is also facing pressure from her older sister Alana who had previously been her strongest supporter and ally but who is now very upset about Kiera's life choices. 

When the publisher of the book that started it all is found murdered shortly after Gage and Kiera interviewed him to see if they could get a clue to unknown author, they become persons of interest to the police. Also the murder was set up to mimic a scene from the book which puts Bonnie Brock on the suspect list too. Add in that cholera is running rampant in Edinburgh and some of the places where they need to investigate are places where there have been outbreaks, and even more tension is added to thes story.

The book was filled with great historical detail about the 1832 cholera epidemic and about the theater scene in Edinburgh. I really liked the way Kiera is becoming more comfortable with herself and with her choices. Despite some minor problems between Gage and Kiera, I also like the way their relationship is growing.

Fans of this series will certainly enjoy this latest episode. Newcomers will also find much to enjoy in this historical mystery.

Favorite Quote:
"What if the life I've led, the entire life, was the one I was supposed to have all along? The good and the bad." I held up a hand. "I'm not saying I'm glad Sir Anthony mistreated me, or that Will had to die as he did, or that God wished for any of it to happen. But...what if it was the only way I could become who I am right now? What if it was the only way I could become the mother this child needs?" I breathed deeply, feeling something loosen inside me, some deep source of pain I'd been harboring. "Then, I can accept that."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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