Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

This Side of Murder

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

This Side of Murder (2017) Anna Lee Huber

Set in England in 1919.

Verity Kent is a war-widow. Her husband was killed during the Great War and she has spent the last 15 months trying to come to terms with his dead and adapt to her new status.

The period during and immediately after the first world war, which is a time of fascinating and rapid change.

“That’s what comes of allowing females to drive motorcars,” another man muttered from his chair nearby.

Americans have looked a great deal at WWII and the Greatest Generations and the society changes of that time, but those changes started during and after the first world war.

“And you must call me Helen. In fact, I insist we all use our given names,” she declared. “It’s much too tedious otherwise.”

Everyone else seemed too stunned, or too enchanted, to answer, so I responded for them. “Frightfully tedious.”

“But who cares for your clothes?” Nellie leaned forward to ask. Her wide eyes roamed over my form. “Who dresses you?”

I smiled at her horrified disapproval. “I do have a maid.” Another soldier’s widow, who had been rather desperate for work. “But there’s no need for her to travel with me.” Especially on this trip. “I can dress myself, after all.” I flipped my bobbed hair in illustration. “There are some decided advantages to short hair.”

There were still plenty of restrictions on women (lack of voting rights for one) but the war and the struggle to deal with everything that had happened led directly to the roaring twenties and then the great depression, which set the state for those changes after WWII.

Another thing I also felt fascinating was how soldiers (and nurses) went back and forth between the war and life at home. Soldiers would get leave and then after a quick trip across the channel be home and expected to behave as if they were no different than they had been before going to war, even though they were seeing truly awful things in the trenches and on the battlefield.

All of which is giving short shrift to the mystery here, which is quite good. Verity is invited to the engagement party of a childhood friend–and discovers that the survivors of the group which with Sidney were also invited–and she also receives a note intimating that Sidney might have been a traitor.

There are lots of surprises there, even though with a “locked room mystery” of this sort, there are pretty broad limits on who could possibly have dunnit.

So they mystery is good and the setting is fascinating. I highly recommend it.
Rating: 8/10

Publisher: Kensington

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

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