Still grieving after over a year, Verity Kent receives a
letter insinuating that her late husband Sidney had been a
traitor and that the fact that she had been in the Secret
Service is not so secret anymore. She is told to attend a
house party for the engagement of Walter Ponsonby where she
will learn the truth. Walter was with Sidney in the
Thirtieth battalion, but so were all the men present at the
party, along with their commanding officer, the Earl of
Ryder. However, they don't seem to like each other very
much or have much in common with Walter, which creates a
peculiar atmosphere. The party is being held at the Umbersea
Castle, on an island, very secluded. To add to the mystery
of it all, Verity finds a book in her room, in which a coded
message is hidden. Then, one of the guests is found hanged;
was it really a suicide or was it murder?
THIS SIDE OF MURDER is a classic murder mystery with the
added layer of the Great War. Some of the most enjoyable
moments owe to Ms. Huber's extensive knowledge of the
period: the politics, the war itself, and deciphering, but
also of the more mundane aspect: the speech, the manners,
the clothing, which are all impeccably described. The
dialogues are exquisite, as is the writing. The author takes
her time to introduce the characters, establish the setting
while making sharp observations on the horrors of WWI. But
when Verity attacks the coded message, that's when it all
takes off, and it never stops after that.
It's one plot twist after another as the characters reveal
more of their intents, but who is telling the truth? Is the
killer one of them or an outsider? Had Verity really known
her husband and could he really have been a traitor? The
characters are so well-rounded that I was never quite sure
who was trustworthy and who wasn't, and my "allegiances"
changed throughout THIS SIDE OF MURDER. I also found quite
interesting reading about the perception and treatment of
women versus the reality, while looking among others at
Verity who could handle herself with the best of them. I was
a bit taken aback by the romance, and honestly, I'm not
quite sure if it went how I would have wished; I will have
to ponder a bit more on this. And this goes to show how
complex the characters and their relationships really are.
THIS SIDE OF MURDER is the first book in a new series, and I
cannot wait to see where it all goes from there, because for
the life of me, I have no idea what to expect next from Anna
Lee Huber, and this doesn't happen often in the literary world!
The Great War is over, but in this captivating new series
from award-winning author Anna Lee Huber, one young widow
discovers the real intrigue has only just begun . . .
An Unpardonable Sin?
England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her
husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter,
suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason
before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with
revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory
claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the
fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret
Service, something not even Sidney knew.
Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of
one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the
men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark
secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them.
Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a
dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is
forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face
with the shattering possibility that her husband may not
have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that
could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his
deception . . .