This Side of Murder

Written by Anna Lee Huber
Review by Vicki Kondelik

In 1919 England, young war widow Verity Kent receives an anonymous letter suggesting her husband, Sidney, committed treason. At first, she refuses to believe it, but the sender knows she worked for the Secret Service during the war, something not even Sidney knew. Determined to find the truth, Verity accepts an invitation to the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, which is being held in a castle on an island. There, she finds a coded letter in a book that belonged to Sidney. Does the letter hold the key to her husband’s guilt or innocence? At the party, she meets the officers from Sidney’s battalion and uncovers secrets involving their wartime service. Another cryptic letter arrives, telling her to trust no one. Then one of the guests is found dead. Is it a suicide or a murder? As a storm strands the guests on the island and another death occurs, Verity knows she must find the truth or she may be the next victim. Handsome aristocrat Max Ryde appears willing to help Verity, and she feels drawn to him. But can she trust him?

Anna Lee Huber, author of the Lady Darby mysteries, has created a vibrant new heroine in Verity Kent. Huber paints a compelling portrait of the aftermath of World War I, and shows the readers how devastating the war was for everyone in England. Huber shows how people dealt with their grief in different ways. Some people turned to drink, drugs, and sex as a way to cope with their loss, while others retreated into themselves. The descriptions of the island are beautifully written, and the setting and plot recall Agatha Christie. There is one twist in the plot I never saw coming. I am looking forward to reading many more of Verity Kent’s adventures.