This Side of Murder

I requested This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. It is the first in a new series – the Verity Kent series – and is set in post-World War I England. Mystery, murder, the promise of a strong female lead and one of my absolute favourite periods in history; perfect.

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When it comes to a first book in a series, I tend to be more patient and allow for them often not being as rich as books further on. The writer and her characters need to get established, find their own groove. This is essentially how I see This Side of Murder. It wasn’t incredible but I certainly liked it a lot and I will definitely read the next in the series as I do see so much potential.

Books 4

When it comes to a first book in a series, I tend to be more patient and allow for them often not being as rich as books further on. The writer and her characters need to get established, find their own groove. This is essentially how I see This Side of Murder. It wasn’t incredible but I certainly liked it a lot and I will definitely read the next in the series as I do see so much potential.

Books 4

The plot centres around an engagement party on the fictional island of Umbersea in Poole Harbour. Verity is invited as a guest of the groom to be, who had served with her husband in the trenches. Alongside the invitation, she receives a mysterious letter hinting that her husband wasn’t the honourable officer he was portrayed to be and that the answer lies on Ubersea island. And of course, a series of murders occur as the island is cut off from the mainland by a raging storm. I do love this type of plot and thoroughly enjoyed this one. Although I saw some things coming (and remember that I have read a lot of murder mysteries), there were a couple of twists I didn’t predict and Huber is wonderful at making you second guess each character in turn.

Books 4

What I loved the most about this book was the back history of Verity Kent, a young, upper class war widow, trying to find her way in the post war world. She had been part of the Secret Service during the war and I have a feeling that this will provide a lot of interesting story lines in future books. It also means she is fiercely independent and her intelligence coupled with her experience, mean that she is ideal as an amateur detective.

Books 4

I felt the writing itself was at times very strong, especially when dealing with World War I subject matter and the complex emotions of the characters, trying to come to terms with the many consequences of war. I liked that it dug a little deeper, was more serious than the average cosy crime. However, at times the language tries too hard to be 1920s, the characters speak a little unnaturally at points. Some descriptions have the same problem in my opinion, it is there to be a 1920s cosy crime. This relaxes as the book goes on and I have high hopes that the second book in the series will read more fluidly, especially as there were such glimpses of strong writing.

Books 4

So, all in all, a really enjoyable read with the potential to be a brilliant series.

 

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