The Anatomist’s Wife (Lady Darby, Bk 1)
by Anna Lee Huber
This was so much fun! A mystery set in the 1830 Scotland highlands (and it was high time for a genre change for me). It is told in first person by Lady Darby. A woman who was married to an anatomist, and who was forced by her husband to paint pictures of musculature and other dissections of the human body, which he took full credit for, of course. Once it was found out she was the artist, she is feared and her character maligned, but she is now being called upon to assist in an investigation of a murder that happens at her sister’s castle during a weekend (or longer, they always hosted parties for days out in the country). She is sharp, thoughtful and completely naive. A wonderful and appropriate for a “let’s find out who did it and how to investigate a murder together with the reader” type of combination for a mystery heroine.
The intrigue is high, the censure sharp and mean and the stakes, life or death. If you like regency and mystery, mixed with a little historical fiction, you can’t go wrong here. Lady Darby is spunky, the politics of the era keep her confined, but she works with what she is given. I love that her knowledge works both for and against her and society is full of idiots. A good mystery of “who did the murder and why”. I figured out who it had to be kind of early on, but there were still some surprises and it was all solid. The mystery is pretty good, it is of course someone hanging out at the party. I mean, that is what you expect. Which of the political and ambitious animals was it? Her reputation is seriously on the line, with a tiny bit flirting mixed in for good measure. Looks like there is a promise of a love interest down the series line.
Anyway, I enjoyed it and have the second one so will have to read it soon to see what murder/death/kill Lady Darby solves next. 3.5 – 4 stars.