Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

A Stroke of Malice

Saturday, April 11, 2020

A Stroke of Malice (2020) Anna Lee Huber (A Lady Darby Mystery)

A Stroke of MaliceSet in Scotland in 1832

Kiera and her husband Sebastian Gage are spending the holidays at Duchess of Bowmont’s Twelfth Night party, when a group stumbles upon a dead body. Although it’s suspected that the decayed body is the husband of the Duchess’s daughter, no one knows for certain, and Kiera and Sebastian are asked to investigate.

Although I’ve read this time and again, marriage among the wealthy and noble throughout history were just awful.

For my part, I was most surprised to see them standing arm in arm, though I knew they often enough did so for show. Both of their current lovers might be present among the guests, but that wouldn’t stop them from performing this bit of pageantry.

Having been raised by a mother and father who adored each other, and taught us to eschew such immoral behavior, I found the rampant infidelity among a large portion of society to be awkward and disconcerting. But I was also aware that much of the nobility did not marry for love, but for wealth and connections.

Considering what’s going on in the world right now, it was a bit concerting to come across this.

Her eyes gleamed in her pale face. “The cholera outbreak.”

Her simple reply sent a chill of fear whispering down my spine. The deadly disease that had ravaged Russia and the Baltic lands had reached the shores of Britain— despite all efforts to prevent it— in early November at the Port of Sunderland in northern England. From there, it had begun to spread to the north and south along the coast, leapfrogging its way closer to the densely populated cities, leaving death in its wake.

(T)he housekeeper at Lord Helmswick’s estate— a diligent, but chatty woman named Mrs. Coble— has insisted that everyone wear kerchiefs tied around their faces when they leave the manor to prevent them from inhaling the bad air.


The strength of this series is the characters. I love Kiera, and how she and Sebastian are navigating their marriage. I also appreciate the secondary characters, how not only does Kiera’s family (and in this book the children of the Duchess) support and love one another, but they also fight and bicker.

There were several surprises in this story, the fall out of which will happen in later books, but they weren’t cliff-hanger surprises. Just developments that will certainly cause upheaval for the characters, but in a normal life kind of way.

The mystery was good, and I’ll admit I was concerned about how they were going to deal with the issues around Lady Eleanor. The resolution ended up being true to the time, which means it might not be satisfying to those who place justice before all else, but I think that makes the mystery more realistic.

So another good addition to the series, and sadly now I have to wait another year or more for the next book.

Publisher: Berkley
Rating: 8.5/10

Categories: 8/10, British, Female, Historical, Mystery     Comments (0)    

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