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About A Wicked Conceit by Anna Lee Huber

Edinburgh, Scotland. March 1832. Kiera and Gage have been eagerly awaiting their bundle of joy but trouble has been brewing in the form of the roguish criminal Bonnie Brock Kincaid. A new book and subsequent play features some of Kincaid’s daringly heinous exploits, although he swears he had nothing to do with it or the characters which are obvious representations of Kiera and Gage. While the scoundrel’s fury seems genuine, as well as his determined quest to uncover the real identity of the author, the Gages still hold doubts about his innocence.

A rash of crimes break out across the city, seemingly inspired by the play and book. When the publisher is found brutally murdered–in an imitation of a gruesome scene–the finger not only points to Bonnie Brock as the possible culprit, but also the Gages, who have been outspoken in their condemnation of the tale. Now, the Gages are on a hunt to unmask the killer. Between the infamy garnered by the play, the cholera outbreak still wreaking havoc throughout the city, and the impending birth of their child, they will need all the resources they can garner.

But family quarrels and the revelation of a secret Kiera has been keeping from Sebastian threaten to undermine everything they have overcome. When they find themselves in the crosshairs of the killer, trapped in the squalid underground vaults of the city, they will soon discover that the truth does not always set you free, and death can lurk around any corner.

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Review of A Wicked Conceit

Can a very pregnant woman, once shunned because of her late husband’s activities, now married to a handsome and charming lord of the realm, unmask a killer during a plague and surrounded by fictionalized accounts of her life?

Well, if you have read any of the Lady Darby mysteries, you already know the answer to that.  If A Wicked Conceit is your introduction to this series, prepare to dive into a rich historical mystery, saturated with atmosphere and emotion.

Kiera is very pregnant. Her sister, Alana, berates her for continuing to get into trouble going mystery-solving when she is about to give birth.  And I must say, in a way I agree with Alana.  But Kiera is stubborn and won’t be left out, especially since she and Gage may be suspects in a terrible murder case.

Another suspect, Bonnie Brock Kincaid, is also pushing Kiera and Gage make sure the true killer is found.  While many readers of the series have turned Kincaid into a favorite character, I am of the opinion that his selfish and threatening manners make him less than the ideal partner in crime solving.

While this is going on, Kiera is keeping a secret from her husband because of a promise she made.  The secret is pretty big and will most likely cause pain.

While I recommend the entire series, each book can be read as a standalone. Without bogging down the story with too many details, the author provides the perfect amount of backstory.  After 9 books, there are so many characters that Kiera has encountered, but A Wicked Conceit keeps number of characters to a manageable minimum.

A Wicked Conceit has all the right stuff.  It starts with an intelligent heroine, a clever hero, and personable secondary characters, all with their own lives, emotions, conflicts and victories. Then comes a great mystery with lots of suspects and seemingly unrelated clues.  And finally, historical details and actual events are expertly mixed into the story.  (Be sure to read the author’s notes.)

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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