Tag Archives: Anna Lee Huber

A day in the life with Verity Kent by Anna Lee Huber

I pressed a hand to my temple, closing my eyes as the beat of the drums grew ever louder, synchronizing with the pounding in my skull. I silently willed my man-of-all-work to hurry, praying I wasn’t already trapped. That it wasn’t too late.

I’d originally planned to attend the Trooping the Colour, the first since the war had ended. As such, it was to be the largest ever, and consequently would be held in Hyde Park to accommodate all of the soldiers. But when I’d woken to the sounds of drumming and marching only a few short blocks away from my Berkeley Square residence, panic gripped my chest.

I simply couldn’t do it. I couldn’t sit in my flat and listen to all that pomp and circumstance. And I certainly couldn’t stand among the other spectators and pretend I wasn’t a wreck inside. What if I should fail to hold it in? What if I should break down?

I inhaled sharply at the horrifying thought. No, it was best, for all, if I left.

I would weave my way north if I had to before doubling back to the southwest. I’d planned to leave tomorrow anyway and make my way down to the Derby at Epsom before traveling on to Winchester and then Umbersea Island. What did it matter if I left a day early? There was so little demand on my time anymore.

Not so long ago, I would’ve woken early to hurry off to my job, grateful for the warmth of the sun on my cheeks even though I knew such clear skies could mean zeppelin raids in the evening. Ostensibly, I worked for a shipping company who helped supply victuals to the troops at the front, but in actuality my work took me to Whitehall Court and into the domain of the Secret Service, where my days were filled with exhausting, but important work, with purpose. In my more reflective moments, I recognized my job had been the only thing to keep me on my feet after my husband, Sidney, died in early 1918.

But then the war had ended, and soon enough, so had my usefulness. I’d been released from service to wander our empty, echoing flat. I’d volunteered where I could, frantic to fill my hours during the day, while at night I frequented parties and nightclubs with friends equally desperate to stifle their pain, to dance and drown themselves into forgetfulness.

I suspect my life would have continued in that vein had the letter not arrived.

I know the secrets you hide. Why shouldn’t I also know your husband’s?

Then I couldn’t go on ignoring it all. I couldn’t continue to banish the memories. Not when my anonymous letterwriter had made such terrible accusations against Sidney. So I’d followed his instructions. I’d telephoned and told one of my husband’s oldest friends I’d had a change of plans and would be able to attend his engagement house party on Umbersea Island after all. What would happen when I arrived, I couldn’t guess. But I certainly wasn’t going to allow this mysterious correspondent’s claims about Sidney to go unchallenged.

I heard the engine of my late husband’s Pierce-Arrow before I saw it, and stepped through the door to meet my man-of-all-work as he brought the current-red motorcar to a stop. The sleek little Runabout had been Sidney’s pride and joy, and had since become mine.

“She’s all ready for ye, Mrs. Kent,” Rufus declared as he hopped out, holding the door for me.

I climbed in behind the driving wheel, wondering why men always referred to motorcars as females. Not that I disagreed, for I thought the same of this lovely girl. Especially when she was so keenly complicit in my escapes.

I checked the mirrors and resisted the urge to fidget as I waited impatiently for him to load my luggage.

“All set.” Rufus’s head turned to the side so he could gaze down the street, eager to catch a glimpse of the proceedings at Hyde Park.

“Go on,” I told him. Let someone enjoy the spectacle. “I won’t return until Monday, so you’ve your ease until then.”

He nodded, careful concern banked in his eyes. It simply wouldn’t do for a man of his station to be telling me what to do, even if he had served under Sidney. “Take ‘er easy through the acceleration. The clutch is stickin’ a tad. I’ll take another look when ye return.”

I couldn’t tell whether this was true or if it was simply his way of urging me to be safe, but I offered him an artless smile. “Don’t fuss, Rufus. We’ll return in one piece.”

I sped away oblivious to what was to come.

You can read more about Verity in This Side of Murder, the first book in the NEW “Verity Kent” mystery series.

The Great War is over, but in this captivating new mystery from award-winning author Anna Lee Huber, one young widow discovers the real intrigue has only just begun . . .

England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.

Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception . . .

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About the author
Anna Lee Huber is the Daphne award-winning author of the national bestselling Lady Darby Mysteries, the Verity Kent Mysteries, and the Gothic Myths series, as well as the forthcoming anthology The Jacobite’s Watch. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she majored in music and minored in psychology. She currently resides in Indiana with her family and is hard at work on her next novel. Visit her online at www.annaleehuber.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the Life with Lady Kiera Darby by Anna Lee Huber

As Death Draws NearI lower my brush from the canvas and step back, tilting my head to examine today’s efforts. The portrait is beginning to take shape nicely. The intricate folds of the gown I’ve been shading and highlighting seem to almost ripple in the soft breeze blowing through the window. I nod my head in satisfaction and drop my brush in the jar of linseed oil. There is cleaning to be done, but the evening light gleaming over the Edinburgh rooftops outside catches my eye. Rubbing my paint-smeared hands against a cloth, I move closer to take a better look.

The view is still novel to me, having only lived in this town house for a few short weeks with my new husband. A smile curls my lips at the thought of Gage, who purchased this home as a wedding present, so that I would be close to my sister whenever we resided in Edinburgh. I can’t help feeling that I should pinch myself at my good fortune. So much has changed in the past twenty-one months. So much that I would never have believed possible.

Then I was the widow of a famous anatomist—a man who brutally used me, and forced me to sketch his dissections as he worked on his definitive anatomy textbook. And when he died, as word of my involvement with his anatomy work shocked and horrified a public still reeling from the infamous trial of Burke and Hare—bodysnatchers turned murderers, he left me to face the storm of the scandal of his creation. They called me the butcher’s wife, the sawbones’ siren, and worse.

Fortunately, my sister and her husband, the Earl and Countess of Cromarty, willingly took me in, and hurried me away to their castle in the Highlands, where I might lick my wounds while the worst of the rumors subsided. However, the place that started as my sanctuary, quickly turned into my hiding hole. I’m not sure I would ever have willingly left the Highlands again if not for my sister and the house party she insisted on hosting, or the murder that befell one of the guests. A murder in which I instantly became the main suspect because of my macabre past. At my brother-in-law’s urging, I reluctantly agreed to assist his friend, the dashing Sebastian Gage, gentleman inquiry agent, with the investigation. That one action irrevocably altered my life and set me on a different course. A course of healing and discovery, of daring and courage, of comradery, and yes, even love.

Gage and I have now conducted numerous inquiries together, both big and small, humorous and life-shattering, and I have grown more in the span of the past twenty-one months than in an entire lifetime. I am more capable and confident than I ever imagined, and not just at painting portraits—my particular passion. And a great deal of that has to do with those who entrusted me to find out the truth of their loved one’s murders, and the support of my investigative partner, now my loving husband.

I turn at the distinctive sound of his footsteps striding down the hall. No one moves quite like he does, with purpose and surprising grace for a man of his height. There is a gentle rap on the door before he opens it. His pale blue eyes immediately go to the spot before my canvas where I normally stand before searching the room and finding me near the window. He smiles that smile I know is only for me, and I can’t help but grin back.

In a few days’ time we shall depart on our honeymoon to the Lake District of Cumberland. Who knows what adventures will await us there and beyond. All I know is that for perhaps the first time in my life, I am excited to face them, with Gage by my side.

As Death Draws Near is the fifth book in the Lady Darby mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, July 2016.

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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Meet the author
Anna Lee Huber is the RITA and Daphne awards-nominated author of the national bestselling Lady Darby Mysteries, Anna_Lee_Huberincluding A Study in Death, A Grave Matter, Mortal Arts, and The Anatomist’s Wife. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she majored in music and minored in psychology. She currently resides in Indiana with her family and is hard at work on the next Lady Darby novel. A special Lady Darby novella titled A Pressing Engagement was released in May.

Visit her online at www.annaleehuber.com, on Goodreads, Twitter and on Facebook.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of As Death Draws Near. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end July 18, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.