Tuesday, August 24, 2021

ARC Review: Murder Most Fair by Anna Lee Huber

Murder Most Fair

Anna Lee Huber
Series: Verity Kent (Book 5)
Publication: Kensington (August 31, 2021)

Description: All is far from quiet on the home front in USA Today bestselling author Anna Lee Huber's captivating mystery series, in which former Secret Service agent Verity Kent receives a visitor--who is being trailed by a killer...

November 1919. A relaxing few weeks by the seaside with her husband, Sidney, could almost convince Verity Kent that life has returned to the pleasant rhythm of pre-war days. Then Verity's beloved Great-Aunt Ilse lands on their doorstep. After years in war-ravaged Germany, Ilse has returned to England to repair her fragile health--and to escape trouble. Someone has been sending her anonymous threats, and Verity's Secret Service contacts can only provide unsettling answers.

Even deep in the Yorkshire Dales, where she joins Verity's family for the holidays, Ilse encounters difficulties. Normally peaceful neighbors are hostile, seeking someone to blame for the losses they've endured. When Ilse's maid is found dead, Verity must uncover whether this is anti-German sentiment taken to murderous lengths, or whether there is a more personal motive at work. Could Verity's shadowy nemesis, Lord Ardmore, be involved? And if so, how much closer to home will the blow land when he inevitably strikes again?

My Thoughts: The main thrust of this episode of the Verity Kent mystery series concerns Verity's trip back to her home and family. She hasn't been back since her brother Rob died in World War I. She hasn't dealt with her grief for the loss yet. She buried it and the grief she feels for all of her other losses in her work as a secret agent and, when the war was over, in alcohol and parties. 

Now she is forced to confront things head on. It isn't easy. Verity and her mother have never gotten along. Her mother is the sort of poisonous woman who couches harsh criticisms in what she considers to be loving concern. She keeps trying to make Verity conform to her own vision of what a proper lady does.

When Verity's great-aunt Ilse arrives from Germany with her new maid, Verity takes her back to Yorkshire with her. Ilse has a new maid who behaves rather suspiciously. And neither fares well because of the prejudice against Germans that seems to permeate the area. When her aunt tells Verity that she fears she has seen the "second deserter" in the village, Verity contacts her former bosses in intelligence to find out that they never sent another deserter. This whole deserter episode was part of her war work and covered by the Secrets Act she signed which means she can't explain what is going on to her family and needs to investigate with only the help of her husband Sydney.

When the maid is found murdered, Verity is determined to get the the bottom of the case which isn't being investigated as thoroughly as she would like because of the local prejudice against anyone German. 

There is a lot of information about the times. Verity deals with her own trauma from the war as does her husband and her brothers who all served and who were all changed forever by the experience. She also sees the effects on the war on a young man who is courting her youngest sister and who invalided out of the war for an injury that might have been self-inflicted and the abuse he receives because of it. She also sees the effects on a neighbor and childhood acquaintance whose own health kept him out of the fight.

The story was an excellent exploration of the damage war does on those who fight and those who don't. The mystery was well-integrated and the villain something of a surprise. Fans of the series will enjoy this episode and be looking forward to more. 

Favorite Quote:
There was no going back. There was no returning to the way things were, the life and innocence that we'd had before. There was no returning to the people we were before. The only choice left to us was to shrivel up and die or to move bravely forward. To abandon hope or continue to clutch it to our hearts with all the might we possessed. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I just finished this book and liked it so very much. I also realised that there is an after effect on those who do not go to war (when conscription is on). The effect is quite profound.


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