Review: An Artless Demise

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cover from Berkley Publishing Group

I was given an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It’s a personal rule of mine to never start a book series in the middle. The last time I did so was over ten years ago, when I picked up a library copy of Jasper Fforde’s Lost in a Good Book, the second in his Thursday Next series, which is now one of my favorite series of all time. I didn’t realize it was a sequel, and I was vaguely confused the entire time I was reading it.

But I made an exception in this case, beginning with book seven of Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby Mysteries, An Artless Demise. Had I not known this was a series, I would have never known this was a series, if that makes sense. While what I’m assuming were events from earlier books were alluded to, they weren’t crucial to the plot of this book; it works well as a stand-alone.

The description from the publisher:

Lady Darby returns to London with her new husband, Sebastian Gage, but newlywed bliss won’t last for long when her past comes back to haunt her in the latest exciting installment in this national bestselling series.

It did take a little bit of time to warm up to Keira, the Lady Darby mentioned above. I was expecting a lady sleuth heroine in the vein of Tasha Alexander’s Emily Ashton or Deanna Raybourne’s Lady Julia Grey, and at first I wasn’t sure Keira lived up to them. I realized that part of this issue was that I’d read the other two series from the beginning, so I’d seen their characters develop over several books. But as I “got to know” Keira, I came to appreciate her character more.

The mystery (random street killings) and the historical setting (pre-Victorian London) are nothing groundbreaking, but they’re well-done here. I guessed the solution to the mystery about 10 pages before it was revealed, which I think is the perfect spot; and there’s a reason why so many books are set in 19th century London: readers will never get tired of it.

All in all a solid read. I would recommend reading the entire series first, just because that’s my personal rule, but you wouldn’t need to.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

An Artless Demise by Anna Lee Huber is out April 2.

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