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As Death Draws Near

About As Death Draws Near

The latest mystery from the national bestselling author of A Study in Death tangles Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage in a dangerous web of religious and political intrigue.

July 1831. In the midst of their idyllic honeymoon in England’s Lake District, Kiera and Gage’s seclusion is soon interrupted by a missive from her new father-in-law. A deadly incident involving a distant relative of the Duke of Wellington has taken place at an abbey south of Dublin, Ireland, and he insists that Kiera and Gage look into the matter.

Intent on discovering what kind of monster could murder a woman of the cloth, the couple travel to Rathfarnham Abbey school. Soon a second nun is slain in broad daylight near a classroom full of young girls. With the sinful killer growing bolder, the mother superior would like to send the students home, but the growing civil unrest in Ireland would make the journey treacherous.

Before long, Kiera starts to suspect that some of the girls may be hiding a sinister secret. With the killer poised to strike yet again, Kiera and Gage must make haste and unmask the fiend, before their matrimonial bliss comes to an untimely end…

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Review

As Death Draws Near, the latest Lady Darby Mystery, is just as wonderful as its predecessors. I don’t think I can say enough about this historical mystery series. In Kiera, author Anna Lee Huber has created a character that, despite living in an era where men had all the rights and privileges, Kiera has risen above a difficult past to reshape her life. In doing so, Kiera has found new purpose.

If you have not read previous books in this series, you will find enough of a background in As Death Draws Near to appreciate Kiera’s history. If you have read the series, as I have, you will find new things to love about Kiera as she solves the mystery of the death of a nun.

In As Death Draws Near, one of the key parts for me was when Kiera was questioning if she was doing the right thing. That is, should a lady be spending her time investigating the crime of murder? Should she be examining dead bodies and digging through peoples lives? I appreciated how Kiera resolved her personal internal conflicts as part of that process involved an ‘if not for’ line of thinking. If not for her unhappy and scandalous past, so many good things would never have happened. While my past lacks scandal, this is a theme that is not lost on me and I am sure many people have experienced similar self reflection. Throughout the series, the introverted, analytical and creative Kiera has been a character that I relate to and I have become invested in her ongoing story.

While Kiera is obviously the main character and the heavy lifter when it comes to solving mysteries, new husband Gage is ever the hero. Supportive of having a wife that works investigations with him, Gage is Kiera’s sounding board and she his, when it comes to analyzing the facts they have uncovered. Gage is also very protective, and to Kiera’s mind, often overprotective. But if he was not, he would not be a hero would he? In As Death Draws Near, Kiera and Gage are very recently wed. I’ve enjoyed following their romance through the series.

Anna Lee Huber imbues her story with lush settings and fascinating history. Ireland’s beautiful country, culture and history are the background for As Death Draws Near. The setting is a Catholic abbey (in a largely Protestant area). The Catholic/Protestant conflicts become possible motives in the murder and details about the history are added both in fact and with some author interpretation of events of the 1830’s. Having actual events as part of the background for the book are what started me on the series in the first place, so continuing this practice is a good thing. For anyone wanting more detail on the true history, the author provides excellent notes at the end of the book.

The abbey setting, despite the good that nuns do, gives the story a shadowy feeling. I suppose it is the thoughts about the type of person that would kill a nun that lend this dark atmosphere. At any rate, murder is a dark business.

When you read As Death Draws Near, expect what appears to be an unsolvable mystery, plot twists and turns, a fascinating setting, wonderful characters and, above all, the always engaging and human Kiera. Both the book and the entire Lady Darby Mystery series are highly recommended!

Through NetGalley, the author provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Anna Lee HuberAnna Lee Huber is the award-winning and national bestselling author of the Lady Darby Mystery series. She was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. From a young age, her imagination was boundless. She spent her summers with her four brothers and one sister playing Star Wars, wearing snow boots and her mother’s old nightgowns while swinging plastic bats as light-sabers, and The A-Team hanging off the riding lawn mower (what else were they supposed to use for the van?). In the fourth grade, she penned her first story and asked her teacher to read it to the class. Sure, it was titled Prom Duty, and a ten-year-old doesn’t really know much about high school dances, but she chalked it up as her first success. She went on to write several more stories, including a series featuring her own gang of mystery-solving teens, keeping her pen moving despite teenage hormones and a cross-country move to South Carolina.

Having dreamed of becoming a Rock Star, more along the lines of Amy Grant than Britney Spears, Anna attended college in Music City USA-Nashville, Tennessee. There, she met her husband while acting in a school production of Our Town. They married just before she graduated summa cum laude from Lipscomb University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a minor in Psychology. Discovering she was better trained to sing opera than Top 40, and uncertain where her future lay, she found work as an administrative assistant while she tried to find herself again.

While pondering her choices, Anna rediscovered her need for creative expression. She began arranging music, and returned to her love of writing fiction. She now pens the award-winning Lady Darby historical mystery series for Berkley Publishing.

Anna is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. She serves as co-leader of the Historical Novel Society-Great Lakes Chapter, as well as on the Board for the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, young daughter, and a troublemaking tabby cat named Pita. When not hard at work on her next novel, she enjoys reading, singing, travel, and spending time with her family.

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