Cover Image: A Wicked Conceit

A Wicked Conceit

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The newest installment in the Lady Darby series is set in Edinburgh, during the 1832 cholera epidemic. This unusual mystery involves the publishing of a book about the ruthless exploits of the most celebrated and charismatic leader of the city’s largest criminal gang. Bodies don’t appear until further down the line. The anonymous author has a personal vendetta and wants gang leader Bonnie Brock to hang for his crimes. Lady Kiera Darby and her husband, Sebastian Gage, are asked to find the author and discover his sinister motives. When a stage-play swiftly follows, what becomes clear is the citizens’ love and admiration for Bonnie Brock’s Robin-Hood-like exploits, feeding the poor and seeking justice for the down-trodden. They don’t want their hero apprehended.

This fast-paced mystery has lots to tell about cholera and the convenient availability of the dead and dying for experimentation – an idea made famous by the grave-robbers-turned-body-snatchers, Burke and Hare, a few years earlier. High society of the time is well-portrayed, and the author uses Kiera’s rather complicated relationship with Bonnie Brock to keep us guessing. Being within weeks of childbirth complicates matters further for the ungainly heroine, and the ending does ring of deux-ex-machina. The complexity of the story is aided by the diversity of well-drawn characters: a maid and valet who perform sleuthing expeditions whilst engaged in an on-off relationship, a disgruntled sister, a secret brother, heirs-in-waiting, fortunes lost, and muddled birthrights.

You can treat this as a standalone, but I think reading at least one of the earlier books would help to better understand the characters and the life experiences which impact their motives. There were many references to Kiera’s scandalous past and the relationships of those close to her. I wanted to know more. Happily recommended.
Was this review helpful?
I have been a long time fan of all Anna Lee Huber’s books, but the Lady Darby series stands out as a favorite of all her books. I will gladly clear my calendar for any upcoming Anna Lee Huber book because they are just that good! This book is the ninth in the series and I will say that I encourage readers to start this series from the beginning.

Some of the books could be read out of order but there are relationships and back stories that spread across multiple books, thus making it difficult for readers to fully appreciate the nuances of the characters and the mysteries. This book in particular harkens back to earlier books in the series and previous relationships that readers will want to be aware of.

As a side note, I loved that this book was so timely. In the book, there is a cholera pandemic and the author has commented on the fact that when she was writing this book she had no idea that we would be in an actual pandemic. It’s a fun aspect of the book and also rather ironic and timely.

Summary
Soon-to-be new parents Kiera and her husband, Sebastian Gage, have been hoping for a respite from their inquiries, but murder and mayhem have a startling way of dropping into their laps in the all-new historical mystery in this national bestselling series.

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. (summary from Goodreads)

Review
There is something about this book that stood out as so much more real in the characters for me. Across the series, the author does a great job developing Gage and Kiera as well as the secondary characters. She takes time developing their flaws, strengths, and challenges within their own selves as well as their relationships. At this point in the series the characters feel like old friends and now that we are past the ‘honeymoon phase’ of the books, we are knee deep in their lives and in this book I really felt that! For example, Kiera has been keeping a big secret from Gage and watching her struggle with how and if she should share it felt so real and emotional. I could feel her internal struggle so much! I loved that about this book! Gage’s response when the secret comes out felt legitimate and justified in comparison. I simply loved how real the characters have become over the books.

Thy mystery was as always well done. I expect nothing less than a suspenseful, intelligent and thought-out mystery from Huber regardless of what series she is writing. This mystery was completely up to snuff. I enjoyed trying to puzzle things out as well as decipher motives. In this one, while the mystery plays a large part in this book, for me it wasn’t really the focus. There is a lot of inter character relationship things going on which made it feel different than some of the other books in the series. Things are going on with Kiera and Gage, Bree and Anderley, Kiera and her sister, Gage/Kiera and Bonnie Brock, and Gage and Maclean. So there are a lot of characters who are interacting and have things to workout that don’t really have anything to do with the murder itself—or at least directly. I love seeing these established characters grow in this book and see how those relationships evolve and change with the series. The author has a clear intuition when it comes to her characters and that shined in this book.

But of course this is a murder mystery right? What’s a murder mystery without an actual murder? This book does have a strong murder mystery and as I mentioned I loved solving it right along with my favorite characters but for me, the heart of this book was the relationships and growth that the characters are undergoing on every page. Though I think one of the things that I didn’t really love about this one was the struggles that Kiera and her sister, Alana, were going through. I was so annoyed with Alana and even in the end, I felt that she was not justified in her response to her sister’s struggles. The other thing that readers should be aware of is this book references a lot of material from a novelle. I know some readers aren’t big fans of novellas but in this case you will want to read the novella prior to this. I didn’t read the novella first and while I wasn’t lost in the story, when I did go on to read the novella, I was like ‘ohhhhhh that’s how that happened!’ so I think reading that first would have helped me! Overall though, this was a great installment and the next book can’t come soon enough!

Book Info and Rating
Format384 pages, Paperback

PublishedApril 6, 2021 by Berkley

ISBN9780593198445 (ISBN10: 0593198441)

Free review copy provided by publisher, Berkley, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Genre: historical fiction, mystery
Was this review helpful?
"A Wicked Conceit" is a mystery set in February 1832 in Scotland. It is the ninth book in a series. The author referred back to events in the previous books, including the solution to several mysteries. This book also heavily referred to events in previous books, so events in the current book will probably make more sense if you've read those books.

About 80% of the book was spent on relationship conflicts (with Kiera's sister, between Kiera and Gage, between Kiera's maid and Gage's valet, dealing with the scandal implied by a recently released book, etc.). While this continued to develop the characters, the mystery seemed more like the event driving the relationship conflicts than the focus of the story. I prefer a little more focus on the mystery.

The historical details were mainly about the cholera outbreak and book publishing. Kiera was about to give birth at any time, but she continued to investigate and go to dances and other social functions (where people, mainly women, made public comments about the state of her pregnancy).  Kiera and Gage investigated the identity of the informant, the author, and the murder (which weren't necessarily different people, but the people behind those roles needed to be identified). They asked good questions and followed up on clues. I guessed some of it before the reveal, but some parts weren't clear until the final clues were uncovered.

There were no sex scenes. There was occasional use of British bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this mystery to fans of the series.
Was this review helpful?
Wow.  I've been a fan of this series since the beginning.  This one was one of the best in my opinion.

Gage and Kiera, on the cusp of becoming parents, are now the subject of public discussion as a book by an anonymous author has been made into a play with them and Bonnie Brock Kincaid as the stars!  This is not a good thing.  

As people close to the publishing and printing of the book begin to die, Gage, Kiera, and Kincaid are not only the subjects of the book and play, they are also suspects in the murder!  As usual, Gage and Kiera begin to look into the death of the publisher and try to talk Kincaid out of getting in the middle of the investigation...not like he listens...

So many twists and turns and then there is a baby coming!  

I really enjoyed this book, especially since we're in the midst of a worldwide pandemic now and this book is set during the cholera pandemic in Edinburgh.  We've learned so much about epidemiology and illness since the time period the novel is set in, and we're still learning.  

I was gifted this book by Netgalley and the Publisher for my honest review.  I also purchased a copy for my bookcase.  It's just that good!
Was this review helpful?
This is the 9th book in the Lady Darby Mysteries series. It doesn't disappoint!
Kiera and Gage are expecting their first child but that doesn't slow Kiera down.
A book and it's subsequent play put Lady Darby's reputation in question. Suggesting that she only married Gage because he was the "proper" choice.
The resulting chase for a murderer is smart and action packed.
I can't wait for more of this couple!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This ninth entry in the charming Lady Darby mystery series is a delightful read, especially for longtime fans.  Full of scandalous gossip, murder, life altering secrets, and the anticipation of a new baby’s arrival, it is a complex and engaging read.

I adore this series with its unconventional heroine Kiera and her dashing husband Sebastian Gage.  Their chemistry and respect for each other is palpable.  Author Anna Lee Huber graces Kiera with intelligence and the keen observational eye of an artist but makes her quite relatable with insecurities and past scars.  It is amazing the growth Kiera has experienced over the course of these nine books (to date), blossoming into a confident, resilient woman of action and social conscience.  Gage’s attitude about women is quite modern, giving Kiera a bit of license, but Huber remains true to her well researched early nineteenth century setting with plenty of details about the expectations of “respectable” society.

A WICKED CONCEIT brings criminal Bonnie Brock Kincaid back into Kiera and Gage’s lives after a book touting Kincaid’s life and escapades, with plenty of references and innuendo about the Gages, is published and stage productions inspired by it make a splash.  It is all anyone, regardless of social standing, is talking about.  Determined to flesh out the identities of the author and informant, the three find themselves mixed up in murder, blackmail, greed, and jealousy.  If only they can get to the bottom of things before Kiera gives birth!  In addition to the exciting primary mystery, Kiera must contend with her older sister’s criticism (heart-wrenching after a lifetime of her support), and Gage must face a revelation of betrayal. 

Each of these characters are drawn with such care, they jump right off the page.  From the investigative duo to their friends, family, and servants to the snooty society members, they are all individualized and fully developed.  Kiera and Gage feel like great friends to me after so many books, and I treasure my time spent with them.  The writing is impeccable and the mystery smartly executed.  A WICKED CONCEIT is one of the best in the series and one of my best reads of 2021.  Highly recommended to Huber’s fans and to readers who enjoy Regency romances, history, and mysteries.

I gratefully received an ARC of this title from the author and Berkley Publishing Group and voluntarily shared my thoughts here.
Was this review helpful?
The capricious and cholera plagued streets of Edinburgh set the backdrop for a murdered publisher and an anonymous author intent on capitalizing on (or taking down?) the prestige of Bonnie Brock Kincaid and his alleged romance with our pregnant heroine. If you are looking for a cozy historical mystery with a dash of romance, the Lady Darby series never disappoints!

With each installment the characters take several steps forward and (sometimes) like real people fall back into old habits. Kiera has reluctantly taken ownership of her scandalous reputation as a former anatomy assistant to her deceased first husband but that doesn't mean all her demons are buried, especially when she has to confront her current husband with a secret that is sure to upset him. Kiera's sister, Alana, has secrets of her own that make our unique main character anxious about her impending motherhood. Similarly, former helper and policeman Mean Maclean's reappearance brings confusion rather than confidences. How will Kiera face her family, friends, and foes in order to save her unborn child's reputation? Huber adds subtle nods to the reader about the characters, such as the digs between Bonnie Brock and Kiera's husband, Gage, at each meeting in their boyish attempts to show greater affection for Kiera. I think I keep returning to this series for more the unique and fun characters than for the mystery itself. 

I've read many other standalone historical mysteries and historical mystery series but I keep coming back to Lady Darby. I highly recommend this series and I hope that there will be at least 9 more! 

This honest review was written thanks to an ARC from #NetGalley and @BerkleyPub.
Was this review helpful?
Lady Darby is one of my favorite historical mystery series. I have enjoyed every book in the series, but I have really been enjoying the books with Bonnie Brock Kincaid.  

The mystery surrounding the book and play was interesting and I enjoyed the twists and turns of Kiera and Gage conducting their investigations. 

I like Kiera’s character because she is clever, strong, and creative. Although, I do wish she would put her sister in her place! I think Brock Kincaid has become my favorite character in this series, so I really hope there will be more books featuring this lovable rogue. 

I appreciated the Historical Note, especially the facts surrounding the cholera epidemic.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical mysteries.

4.5/5
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars

This is the ninth book in the Lady Darby mysteries series by Anna Lee Huber.

This historical cozy mystery centers around a mysterious author of a play lauding the exploits of Kincaid with curious characters who look like replicas of Kiera and Gage. Crimes break out all over the city looking like they are triggered by this play. Then the publisher is found murdered and here we go round the merry-go-round. The number one suspects look to be not only Kincaid but Kiera and Gage too. So the two of them have to break out their detective hat and do a little sleuthing.

I really enjoy cozy mysteries in this era. There is nothing technical to fall back on to beef up the story. This is real detective work almost like a historical police procedural. I love how Kiera is not taking a back seat and really contributes to the solving of the mystery. That has to be my favorite part. 

The setting is my second favorite thing. This author does a great job of making me believe we are in the past and realizing what odds are up against anyone in their position. Can’t wait to dig more into this series. A new author for me and I look foward to seeing more.

Overall it is one great read. Check it out.

If you love a good cozy mystery, definitely check this one out.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title. Opinions are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
It is no secret that I adore this series. The relationship between Gabe and Kiera is one of my favorites. I love how well they work together and that they love each other, quirks and all and neither tries to change the other to fit proper society. And there is something to be said about a strong feisty woman that knows what she wants and doesn't settle for less. 
And while I love this series, I can say without hesitation, that this has to be one of my most favorite books yet! It absolutely had everything I was hoping for, everything I expect from this amazing author and then some.

This is one series that continues to get better and better as it goes and I can not wait for what their next adventure holds.
Was this review helpful?
Scandal and more!

1832, Edinburgh. Cholera is rife, although more in the crowded squalid areas of the city.
Kiera (Lady Darby)and her husband Sebastian Cage are expecting their first child.
Kiera has information she knows will hurt Cage and she withdraws from informing him at the request of Lord Henry Kerr who wishes to inform Cage himself. Kiera, although reluctant to do that, agrees. But as time draws out and Henry doesn’t comply she feels even more anxious.
A new play based on the book The King of Grassmarket is sweeping the various theatres. A play about the notorious gang lord, Bonnie Brock Kincaid. Rumours are running high is high that have Brock as the father of Kiera’s child, much to her’s and Cage’s annoyance and consternation. Brock (a very private man) is upset because his life and activities have become open to foes.
As Kiera angrily tells Brock, ‘The entire book was a disquieting swirl of fact and fiction, but too many of the more obscure particulars were true for us to believe they’d been cobbled together from what little was publicly known about Bonnie Brock.‘
Trying to track down the author is proving difficult. Then the publisher of the play is found murdered. It comes to light that there’s a sequel and that must be stopped. Where it is and who the author is joins the puzzle.
It seems the authorities are concerned about sentiments in the play. For starters Brock is heralded as a Robin Hood figure (who sent his true love into the arms of Cage. A tear jerker for the ladies.) Then there’s the idea that Kincaid’s actions might be deemed by the general populace as ‘heroic and not criminal, and so be inspired to follow the same path,’ as Cage so succinctly explained in the theater lobby to the aghast gasps of many.
Gage and Kiera need to find out who the author is, and that’s when things become more convoluted and more dangerous. 
Another startling story from this unusual couple and the satellite personalities that revolve around them. 

A Berkley Group ARC via NetGalley 
Please note: Quotes taken from an advanced reading copy maybe subject to change
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
Was this review helpful?
Another really nice outing with Kiera and Gage.  This time, the couple are in Edinburgh and investigating the murder of the publisher of a "tell all" book about Bonnie Brock Kincaid, a powerful local crime boss that Kiera and Gage have had some dealings with in the past.  Needless to say, Mr. Kincaid is not too pleased by the expose and he expects Kiera to help him out ... and yes, he supposes that Gage needs to be involved, too, even though he's not a fan of our hero.  I was frustrated with a few parts of the plot of this book, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I had trouble imagining Kiera doing so much and going out this much at 8+ months of pregnancy at this time in history.  I also didn't quite totally buy into the problems Kiera is having with her sister.  If my sister spoke to me this way, we would have some serious problems, I can tell you that.  I was glad to see the return of Henry as a character, and I hope to see more of him.  And Huber has to do something to help out poor Bree and Anderley.
Was this review helpful?
(The following review will be posted on CriminalElement.com the week of publication.)

It’s February of 1832. Kiera, the former Lady Darby, and her private inquiry partner/husband Sebastian Gage have returned to Edinburgh to prepare for the birth of their first child. 

This should be a joyful time for the happy couple. But things are not peaceful in the Scottish capital, with a cholera outbreak gripping the city. And, on a more personal note for Kiera and Gage, the publication — and subsequent dramatization — of a book called The King of Grassmarket has turned them into unwilling celebrities. 

The wildly popular book/play claims to be the true story of infamous criminal Bonnie Brock Kincaid, a sometimes-ally of the Gages. Kincaid’s none too happy for the extra notoriety, either, which has put his illegal operations under a concentrated spotlight.


	I studied Bonnie Brock’s drawn countenance. This entire affair obviously infuriated him. Someone he trusted had shared intimate details about his life and they’d been turned into fodder for the public’s entertainment, to the monetary benefit of some unknown writer. And because of it, not only were his gang’s activities now under even greater scrutiny, but other criminals were encroaching on their territory, thinking to claim the same glory without understanding the cost, and besmirching Brock’s reputation in the process. There was much to be enraged by.
	But I also noted something I hadn’t expected. All of this seemed to genuinely trouble him. Beyond anger, beyond disgruntlement. The shadows around his eyes, brackets about his mouth, and wariness of his surroundings denoted a deeper level of uneasiness and, dare I say, distress.


For Kiera and Gage, the book has also tarred them with the same brush, implying they’re corrupt investigators involved with bribery schemes and casting aspersions on the paternity of Kiera’s unborn child. 

With Kiera’s confinement fast approaching and The King of Grassmarket’s popularity only rising, the Gages are determined to uncover the author’s true identity and counter their spurious claims. The couple’s determination only grows when a rash of thefts breaks out, further implicating Kincaid, and a related murder turns them all into suspects. 

And if that weren’t enough to darken their days, Kiera’s once-supportive sister Alana has abruptly turned into an outspoken malcontent, heaping scorn and disapproval just when Kiera needs her the most.


	I could appreciate that she was anxious for the safety of me and my child. I could even understand why she would suggest I temporarily withdraw from taking part in any murderous inquiries. What I couldn’t accept was her determination that I should retire from assisting Gage in his work as a gentleman inquiry agent entirely and forever.
	She knew what pride I’d taken in discovering I was skilled at working out the complexities of my and Gage’s investigations, and the sense of purpose I derived in wrangling the truth into the light and bringing justice to those who had been wronged or murdered…
	That she should brush my feelings and accomplishments aside in her single-minded effort to impose her will by forcing me to conform to the familiar mold pressed upon every upper-class lady—a mold I had never fit—was both baffling and distressing. I had always been able to rely upon my sister’s unwavering, rock-solid support, but now, when I needed it most, I found that it was built upon sand. 


A Wicked Conceit is the ninth installment in the Lady Darby Mysteries, and Huber continues to charm with her plucky outsider of a heroine. It’s been deeply satisfying to watch Kiera’s progression from traumatized hermit to confident investigator who boldly faces down society’s disapproval while blazing her own path. There’s a fine line between modern feminist sensibilities and accurate historical mores in this series—thus far, Huber has managed it with the flair of a tightrope walker. 

Equally enjoyable is seeing Kiera and Gage’s relationship continue to evolve, now that certain family secrets have come to light and the pair has embarked on parenthood. Huber is doing a masterful job of keeping their dynamic interesting and compelling now they’re an established couple, something other authors often struggle with once the will-they/won’t-they question has been answered. 

Established fans know things are always bound to get exciting when the dashing yet dangerous Bonnie Brock Kincaid shows up, and this adventure is no different. There’s never any question of Kincaid coming between Kiera and Gage—love triangles have become far too overused, and it’s a relief that there isn’t so much as a wiff of that here—but the brawny Scottish Robin Hood still shakes things up for our heroes, proving to be just as helpful as he is infuriating. 

This is a novel that takes its time in really getting to the explosive stuff, so be prepared for a slow start while Huber fully establishes the setting and characters before building up some shocking stakes and surprises. The second half more than makes up for the leisurely first, with some downright thrilling scenes. 

And while a period-accurate plague (cholera, in this case, instead of COVID-19) lurks in the background of A Wicked Conceit, Huber hasn’t made it the focus on the story, so any readers hoping to escape the current pandemic won’t feel themselves trapped in an identical situation. 

As a whole, A Wicked Conceit is another thoroughly enjoyable novel from an author who has yet to disappoint. Anyone who enjoys historical mysteries, atmospheric settings, and strong female investigators should have Huber on their automatic buy list.
Was this review helpful?
OMGoodness. This exciting book stays with you long after you have read the last words – especially since the setting is during the cholera pandemic of the 1830’s – and we’re living with the COVID pandemic of the 2020s. The writing is superb, and the plot is tight, well-developed, and well-delivered. Then, of course, we have all of the characters we have grown to know and love. This author’s knowledge of, research of, and delivery of historical reality during that period is absolutely flawless – you feel as if you were living the tale right along with the characters in the book.

Keira and Gage have returned to Edinburg for the delivery of their first child only to find that they are, again, embroiled in a scandal. Someone has written a book – a very, very popular book that has also been made into plays featured at the various theaters around Edinburg. The book’s main character is Bonnie Brock Kincaid, but Gage and Keira are featured as well – and the image is not at all flattering. The book intimates that the child Keira is carrying is Bonny Brock’s and not Gage’s. Of course, everyone who knows Keira and Gage knows that isn’t the case, but that doesn’t stop the gossip, the snide comments, the cuts, and the sneers. After the end of Kiera’s scandalous first marriage to an anatomist, she is no stranger to the gossip – but that doesn’t make it any easier. It is unfair to her, to Gage, to her sister and brother-in-law – just unfair and they need to find this author, Nathan Mugdock, and get him to share the name of his source.

Super secretive, super-criminal, Bonnie Brock Kincade is incensed at the book that has been written because it has some secrets in it – some known by only a handful of people. Since he isn’t the source, nor is his sister or his two trusted henchmen, that only leaves two people who could have shared those secrets – Keira and/or Gage. Shortly after their arrival in Edinburg, Brock menacingly confronts them about sharing such personal information. They, of course, deny having shared anything and vow they’re going to find and stop whoever has provided the information because much of the book presents them as well as Brock in a very bad light.

Things get really tense as they try to find out the author’s true identity. The only person who actually knows is the publisher of the book, Mr. Rookwood. Rookwood refuses to share the identity of the author – and when he is brutally murdered, any chance of finding the author dies with him.

Keira and Gage must continue to investigate – not only for themselves, but the book is also causing much unrest in Edinburg. Rival gangs to Brock’s are feeling emboldened and crime is increasing. With the specter of a sequel to be published and even more incendiary, outlandish, and untrue tales to be told, Edinburg could find itself in the middle of riots as well as a Cholera epidemic.

While the investigation puts both Keira and Gage at great risk, they still have family issues plaguing them. Will they – and/or their marriage – manage to survive both the investigation and the family issues?

This is an absolutely riveting book and I highly recommend it.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
1832 Edinburgh, Scotland

Happy sigh.  Getting lost in a Lady Darby novel is a great place to be.

In this ninth of the series, Lady Darby is late into her first pregnancy.  As expected, she isn't going to let a small detail like pregnancy to keep her from solving mysteries.  How she gets involved is completely plausible as it would take something personal to pull her into crime solving given her physical condition and concern for her unborn child.

Bonnie Brock reminds me of Moses in the PBS Miss Scarlet and the Duke Series.  He's a criminal with a warm heart and a soft spot for a mystery solving lady.  Bonnie Brock is a great part of the series and it was fulfilling to learn additional details about his background.

Another delightful tale by the talented Anna Lee Huber.  I dread the day this series ends.
Was this review helpful?
One of my favorite mystery series is the Lady Darby series. When I read the first book, I was intrigued by the original plot and the wonderful setting of Scotland. What I loved then and and what keeps drawing me back is Ms. Huber's gift for storytelling. I soon found myself drawn to a heroine who is the dichotomy of strength and vulnerability. 

In A Wicked Conceit, the reader is blessed with a mystery that is solved within the pages of this book, but also the overlying story arc of Gage and Keira's complex relationship with each other and their families. 

Huber skillfully pens a thrilling blend of mystery and murder, set against an atmospheric backdrop that draws upon her strong historical knowledge of Edinburgh and the growing civil unrest that was caused by the inequity between the classes. 

While the tone of the mystery is rather dark, I found a message of hope in restored family relationships and the birth of a child. I am sure Keira's desire to make the world more just will shape the stories to come.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this title from the publisher for an honest review.  I am always amazed by Ms. Huber's ability to continue writing such great books in such a long running series, and this book is no exception!  The book opens as Gage and Kiera are in Edinburgh awaiting the birth of their first child following the events of the previous book as they encounter Bonnie Brock Kincaid (a favorite of many fans of the series) as he ambushes them on their way home from a dinner party.  Kincaid is convinced that Gage or Kiera told someone about his past and that knowledge was used by someone to author a book purporting to be about his life.  Although not 100% accurate, it includes too many accurate details for someone not to have blabbed.  Even worse, plays are being written causing wide spread interest in Kincaid making it harder for him to conduct his business as a leader of a gang.

Kiera and Gage are no more a fan of the book that provides details about their association with Kincaid they would have rather kept private as well as insinuating that Kincaid could be the father of Kiera's unborn child.  They soon are conducting an investigation into the identity of the author   When the publisher of the book is found murdered, Kincaid and Gage are both prime suspects.  Now they are in a race against time to unmask the mystery author before a new book is published and clear Gage's name before the birth of their child.

As always, I enjoyed the mystery portion of this one, but there were many interesting character developments.  We saw Kiera's relationship with her sister, Alana, continue to be strained and even worsen as Kiera gets closer to her confinement.  Alana doesn't approve of Kiera's involvement in the investigation nor her determination to continue to help Gage after the birth.  I enjoyed getting more insight into Alana and what makes her tick.  We also see the continuation of the struggle Gage wages over protecting Kiera and allowing her to be an equal partner in his investigations; he clearly respects her and her intellect, but has difficulty with how best to keep her safe without wrapping her in cotton.  I look forward to future titles that allow us to see Kiera and Gage as parents and how that impacts their relationship and work.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley, Berkley and Ms. Huber for the opportunity to read an ARC of this title. A review was requested but not required. The following opinions are my own.

A Wicked Conceit was a little difficult to get into, featuring something of a slow start. Kiera is 8 months pregnant and the author made the (wise) decision to have this mystery be more of a dramatic, intrigue-filled construct rather than a very physical and active chase, which would be unrealistic given Kiera's condition, but it did make for a more slowly-paced story.

Kiera's pregnancy did seem to drag on and on which, speaking from experience, is absolutely realistic. Feeling like a big beached whale is an awful feeling and, all things considered, Kiera did accomplish quite a bit in her condition, especially for the times.

I liked the Bonnie Brock plot but was less enamored of the subplot with Alana. I felt Kiera reacted very equably to her sister's ridiculous temper tantrums (it's like Alana suffered all of Kiera's hormonal mood swings on her behalf) and I wasn't satisfied with the resolution of their difficulties. Constantly, and I do mean CONSTANTLY, haranguing a very pregnant woman is just... uncool. The *other* subplot, with Lord Henry, was resolved much more reasonably and realistically. I'm glad that's done with because I dislike "big secret" tropes. I look forward to seeing how Lord Henry will be involved in future stories.

I am ALSO interested in seeing how the Bree/Andereley situation evolves, as it's clear that was left wide open.

All in all, definitely enjoyed this one, and looking forward to the next!
Was this review helpful?
What could be more awkward than attending a play that implies you only married your husband because you couldn’t marry the love of your life because he’s a criminal? Well, Kiera and Gage are doing so as a book has come out about Bonnie Brock’s exploits and it’s been adapted to a play, and heavily implies that he and Kiera are lovers torn apart by circumstances so she accepted the more suitable Gage’s proposal. Bonnie Brock isn’t impressed by whoever dug so deeply into his life, and it’s taken on a new tone with the play, giving him a Robin Hood hero’s welcome instead of the tones of the book that focus on his crimes.
The publisher of the book is shockingly murdered, as everyone’s trying to figure out who the author is. Kiera is getting closer to giving birth, but that doesn't slow down her investigation. On top of this, the cholera epidemic continues. Questions just lead to more questions and the mystery unfolds nicely. Another stellar installment in this series.
Was this review helpful?
Heavily pregnant Kiera and her husband come back to Edinburgh to people questioning her child's paternity. A novel was written about crime boss Bonnie Brock that showcases her relationship with him. When the book's publisher is murdered, the married team has to figure out the killer while Bonnie Brock is breathing down their neck, and the police are freezing them out.

I love this series. Kiera and Gage are a delight. They did have a disagreement, but their understanding of each other didn't drag it out too long. I was holding my breath for most of the book, waiting for Kiera to give birth because it would have to be at the most inconvenient time. I was right.

Bring on the next book.

This review is based on an advanced reader copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?