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The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

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2022 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

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.
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