cover image A Grave Matter

A Grave Matter

Anna Lee Huber. Berkley Prime Crime, $16 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-425-25369-4

In Huber’s polished third pre-Victorian mystery (after 2013’s Mortal Arts), the grief that artist Lady Kiera Darby feels for her late friend, drawing master Will Dalway, doesn’t prevent her from enjoying a traditional Hogmanay Ball near her childhood home in Scotland. Then a bloodstained servant from the estate of neighbor Lord Buchan appears. Buchan’s caretaker has been shot, and his uncle’s body has been stolen from its grave. Kiera is the only expert available to hunt for clues, though her interest in crime is considered scandalous. The stolen corpse is too long dead to have been purloined for anatomy lessons, and soon Lord Buchan receives a ransom note for his uncle’s bones. When investigator Sebastian Gage arrives from Edinburgh, he brings useful information about a similar crime. But he also fills Kiera with tumult unresolved from their uneasy parting nearly two months before. Huber deftly evokes both the pair’s attraction and the period’s flavor. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary. (July)