Friday, September 19, 2014

The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber

from goodreads: Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister's estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes.

Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage--a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn't about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl.

When Kiera and Gage's search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim.

While I don't normally reach for mysteries to read in my spare time, I am so glad I read this one. One of the perks of working in a library is discovering new books and authors. This book is one I kept hearing about over and over again, from my co-workers and patrons that frequent the library. 

I found Kiera's background very interesting. Her late husband was an anatomist who married her for her artistic abilities. He forced her to draw pictures of cadavers he dissected to put in a book he was writing about human anatomy. After his death and the discovery of his book, Kiera was left a little traumatized and in the middle of social scandal. 

Kiera is a character I found myself really admiring. She is intelligent, spunky, and talented. While her peers view her as eccentric and unnatural, I felt these qualities made her feel more real.  I love when I see women in the 1800's stand up for themselves. During Kiera's self-imposed isolation, a guest is murdered at her sister's home. While some guests accuse her of the murder, others feel her knowledge of anatomy may help with the murder investigation. Kiera's attention to detail and intuition helps her decipher clues no one else sees. 

To assist Kiera, her brother-in-law brings in Sebastien Gage, who has proved himself to be a competent private investigator. Although Kiera and Gage initially distrust each other, they learn mutual respect and make a complementary investigative team. Their relationship is complex, and their banter is fun. 

The mystery is compelling and intriguing, and enough false leads are planted to keep the reader guessing until the very end. I loved the setting and the Scottish accents. The characters, mystery, and plot all add up to be an amazing book!

Rating: 4
Published: 11.2012

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