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Monday, January 08, 2018

The Anatomist's Wife a Compelling Start to Intriguing Historical Mystery Series

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

With her abusive husband dead, Lady Kiera Darby has been released from his tyrannical reign over her life.  She can't, however, shed the reputation she's gained by assisting him in his "unnatural" pursuits.  A skilled artist, Kiera was forced to sketch the dead bodies her anatomist husband studied with an interest more macabre than medical.  Although she had no choice but to obey her spouse's commands, Kiera is still viewed with suspicion and disgust.

Kiera finds refuge at her sister's estate in Scotland.  There, she can hide away, concentrating on painting what she likes.  Her intent is to stay completely out of the public eye, but when a vicious murder occurs during a party hosted by her sister, Kiera is encouraged to use her knowledge of anatomy to help solve the crime.  Paired with Sebastian Gage, an insufferable rake with some experience in private investigation, Kiera becomes more and more involved in finding the killer.  Despite the threatening notes she receives warning her off the case, she's determined to see it through.  Can she and Gage find the murderer?  Or will they become his/her next victims?

When Lark praised the Lady Darby mystery series by Anna Lee Huber on her blog, I knew I had to check it out.  I mean, a historical Scottish setting + a murder + an "unnatural" lady detective?  How could I pass up that winning combo?  The Anatomist's Wife, the first book in the series, introduces our appealing heroine and her enigmatic partner in (solving) crime.  Kiera is a sympathetic character, who's easy to admire for her intelligence, bravery, and compassion.  The mystery she's striving to solve gets predictable, with few surprises to keep the reader guessing.  Likewise, the murderer's motive seems thin.  Despite these irritants, though, The Anatomist's Wife remains a compelling novel.  I enjoyed it overall and immediately reserved the next two books in the series at my library.  As I've since read them, I can vouch for this series—it definitely gets better as it goes!

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other books in the Lady Darby mystery series [including Mortal Arts; A Grave Matter; A Study in Death; A Pressing Engagement (novella); As Death Draws Near; and A Brush With Shadows])


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Anatomist's Wife with a portion of the millions I earn from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. I've not heard much about this series, but am putting it on my list. Reminds me a bit of Tasha Alexander's series and Deanna Raybourn's earliest one as well.

    1. I've never read anything by Alexander. I love Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell series, but I haven't read anything else by her. The Lady Julia Grey series does sound really good.

  2. That's good to hear that the rest of the series gets better. It sounds like a good series. I love all things Scottish. I'll definitely have to check this one out. :)

    1. You should! I love the setting as well as the fact that the books are clean, well-written, and never too gory.

  3. This series has been high up on my TBR since I heard about it a little while ago. I’m so glad you enjoyed despite some predictability and hopefully that will get better as the series goes on.

    1. You should definitely give it a go! This was one was predictable, but not horribly so. I wouldn't call it fantastic -- still, it definitely made me want to read the rest of the series. And I haven't regretted doing so.

  4. Sounds like this has potential, too bad it wasn't fantastic.

  5. I love when a recommendation turns out great! I’ll have to keep my eyes out for this one.

    1. Lark always has great recommendations :)

  6. Isn't this a great series? I'm glad you've been enjoying Huber's books, too. :)

    1. It is a good one. I'm so glad you talked about it on your blog -- I don't think I would have found it otherwise.

  7. New to me series and one that is going on my list. Thanks for this review.

    1. I'll be interested to see what you think of it! I love finding new series to love :)


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