MORTAL ARTS – Anna Lee Huber
A Lady Darby Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-425-25378-6
September 2013
Victorian Mystery

Scotland – 1830

Lady Kiera Darby is accompanying her pregnant sister and brother-in-law to Edinburgh. The move is necessary in order for Kiera's sister to have proper medical care, but Kiera is also hoping she will again see Sebastian Gage, a private investigator who helped her previously with a murder case. She's fairly sure that Gage is as interested in her as she is in him, but only time will tell.

Before the small group can reach Edinburgh, they are side tracked to Dalmay House, where childhood friend Michael Dalmay lives. Michael is engaged to be married, but his future mother-in-law is urging her daughter to convince Michael to have his older brother declared dead in order for him to inherit his title. But to everyone's shock, William, who was Kiera's former art tutor, is not dead, and Michael is desperately trying to help him. For ten long years, William has been confined in an insane asylum after his father, who was disgusted with William's post war nightmares, sent him with a doctor who specialized in brain disorders. When Michael finally discovered where his brother was, he pulled him out of the asylum, but William is having a difficult time recovering from ten years of horror and torture. With Michael's marriage in jeopardy, he must find a cure for his brother.

Kiera is surprised to find Gage at Dalmay House, and the two are soon drawn into another investigation—this time of a missing local girl. With the local constable sure that William is responsible, it's up to Kiera, Gage, and Michael to find the girl, and prove everyone wrong. But danger and untrustworthy people could make that quest impossible.

THE ANATOMIST'S WIFE is the first book in this interesting new series, and MORTAL ARTS continues with Kiera and Gage's partnering in solving another mystery. There are some red herrings to get around, but the villain is not too difficult to identify. It's the getting there that is so intriguing about this story. The secondary plot is just how war affects those who experience it, and how they deal with it afterwards, something that is not so hard to understand in the twenty-first century.  And will Kiera and Gage ever admit their feelings for one another?

 While this is a Lady Darby Mystery, Gage seems to be the real investigator who withholds knowledge of clues from Kiera until she drags it out of him.

Well written and with some very compelling characters, MORTAL ARTS is an excellent tale.

Jani Brooks