As Death Draws Near

As Death Draws Near

The latest mystery from the national bestselling author of A Study in Death tangles Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage in a dangerous web of religious and political intrigue.June 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 dis...

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Title:As Death Draws Near
Author:Anna Lee Huber
Rating:
ISBN:0425277720
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:342 pages

As Death Draws Near Reviews

  • Jaclyn
    Sep 07, 2015

    is the fifth outing in the

    historical mystery series. With this fifth book there is a bit of a change in the series now that Keira is married to inquiry agent Sebastian Gage. These two have come along way from the first book, when Gage suspected Keira of murder.

    At the start of the book, Keira and Gage are enjoying an idyllic honeymoon (for details about their wedding, check out the novella,

    ). Unfort

    is the fifth outing in the

    historical mystery series. With this fifth book there is a bit of a change in the series now that Keira is married to inquiry agent Sebastian Gage. These two have come along way from the first book, when Gage suspected Keira of murder.

    At the start of the book, Keira and Gage are enjoying an idyllic honeymoon (for details about their wedding, check out the novella,

    ). Unfortunately, Kiera and Gage's well deserved vacation is interrupted when Gage's father sends a request for both of them to investigate the murder in an abbey in Ireland. Not wanting to risk the local investigators forming biases based on the existing religious tensions in Ireland, Kiera and Gage set sail for Ireland. With the investigation underway, Kiera and Gage delve into local politics and the tense atmosphere of the region, which is only exacerbated when a second nun is found murdered.

    is another fantastic addition to the

    series. If you're looking for a character-driven historical mystery series look no further. Kiera is a wonderful character; she's quiet and full of her own insecurities. And, in those insecurities readers are treated to a fully fleshed out character. In this book in particular Kiera is struggling with her own desire to participate in these inquiries with Gage. While Gage has always given Kiera his support, she is only now realizing how her involvement in these investigations could impact their married life. What I like about how the author navigates this personal turmoil is that Kiera has to work this out herself. There is no indication that Gage has any qualms about Kiera participating in inquiries in their married life. Rather, the obstacles that Kiera sees are more self-imposed than anything. That's not to say that the challenges aren't real, they certainly are, but it's Kiera's own personality that causes her to develop anxieties. I love this level of detail in Kiera's character development and I'm happy to say that it's still evolving over the course of five books.

    The historical aspect of

    is another great element of the book. The tension between religions in Ireland at this time are at a boiling point, and it is those tensions that directly impact the murders that Kiera and Gage are investigating. While I did have some awareness about this turmoil, I appreciated the level of detail that the author provided in explaining the historical context of the period. As usual, the historical atmosphere presented by the author is authentic and compelling.

    is a stellar addition to the

    series that gives readers further insight into Huber's heroine Kiera. With each book, Kiera has grown as an individual, finding strength after the abuses of her past. It is the evolution of this character that keeps me coming back - the mystery element is simply an added bonus for me.

  • TheWitchReads
    Sep 18, 2015

    I CAN'T WAAAAAIIIITT! I need a time-traveling machine, seriously.

  • Nidofito
    Dec 06, 2015

    Ahem, more please.

    Loved the beautiful prose, the socio-political turmoil in Ireland, the perspective on female education in 19th century, and (

    ) the couple: Kiera and Sebastian.

    I still find the clothing descriptions mid-sentence out of place but they do add a lovely layer to enrich the setting, especially with the way Huber writes them.

    I mentioned it in one of my status but I love that it's not a HEA for Kiera and Sebastian after their marriage. They're not perfect individuals, they both ha

    Ahem, more please.

    Loved the beautiful prose, the socio-political turmoil in Ireland, the perspective on female education in 19th century, and (

    ) the couple: Kiera and Sebastian.

    I still find the clothing descriptions mid-sentence out of place but they do add a lovely layer to enrich the setting, especially with the way Huber writes them.

    I mentioned it in one of my status but I love that it's not a HEA for Kiera and Sebastian after their marriage. They're not perfect individuals, they both have fears and doubts, and they're both privy to losing their tempers in frustrating situations. They're quick to quarrel but just as quick to forgive and that shows their love for each other just as well if they were exchanging I love yous (which they also do - again

    ).

    The murder mystery was a little underwhelming this time, particularly the culprit and the situation leading to it, but the state of Ireland and its relations with England that accompanied the mystery was wonderful to read.

  • Lady Wesley
    Feb 01, 2016

    Excellent on so many levels -- mystery, love, religion, social history.

    Since her debut in 2012, Anna Lee Huber has given us four novels and one novella – each of them first-rate – featuring Keira Darby and Sebastian Gage. Now comes the fifth novel in the series, and I believe it is the best yet.

    The opening of this book finds Keira and Gage on their honeymoon in Keswick when they receive a message (an order, really) from Gage’s father requesting their help with an inquiry. Lord Gage, who moves in

    Excellent on so many levels -- mystery, love, religion, social history.

    Since her debut in 2012, Anna Lee Huber has given us four novels and one novella – each of them first-rate – featuring Keira Darby and Sebastian Gage. Now comes the fifth novel in the series, and I believe it is the best yet.

    The opening of this book finds Keira and Gage on their honeymoon in Keswick when they receive a message (an order, really) from Gage’s father requesting their help with an inquiry. Lord Gage, who moves in the highest circles (and does not approve of Keira), tells them that Wellington’s cousin, Harriet Lennox, has been murdered at a convent in Ireland. She had recently converted to Catholicism and was serving as a postulant while preparing to become a nun.

    The couple sets off for Ireland, where they are confronted with many surprises. First, at the port town of Whitehaven, they encounter the Marquess of Marsdale, a dissolute rake who treats life as one big joke. He spins a tale about compromising an earl’s daughter and having to flee the country to avoid a forced marriage (or worse). After a stormy crossing and a rough carriage ride from Dublin, they reach the village of Rathfarnham, where they find that the nuns are kind but reticent and the villagers unkind and reticent. They are met with a baffling mystery that takes many twists and turns. The couple’s devoted and clever servants, Bree and Anderley, are there to help, and even Marsdale turns out to be of assistance when he confesses that Harriet Lennox is in fact his cousin.

    It becomes apparent that Miss Lennox’s death likely had something to do with the political troubles that are roiling Ireland. Protestants and Catholics are at daggers drawn with one another and the occupying English are oppressive, high-handed, and contemptuous toward the Irish people. The local constabulary is no help, so Keira and Gage are largely on their own. When a second nun is murdered, everything becomes muddier rather than clearer.

    Although the mystery drives the plot, this book is also a strongly character-driven love story. It is absolutely lovely to watch Keira and Gage navigate through the early days of their marriage. Keira has grown since we met her in The Anatomist’s Wife, but she still harbors insecurities relating to her unhappy first marriage, the notoriety resulting from her work, and her rejection by society. And now, should she and Gage have children, how could she continue working with him on investigations? Keira cannot bring herself to discuss this with Gage, but she pours out her heart to the mother superior, and what follows is a beautifully written conversation about the role of women in marriage and in society, how to ascertain God’s will, and how to make the best our of bad experiences. The mother superior is so loving and wise that I found myself wishing that I could share a cup of tea with her.

    As for Sebastian Gage, he remains handsome, stalwart, and devoted to Keira. His character is not as inclined to introspection as hers, but we do see him trying to navigate, not always successfully, between being Kiera’s husband and being her partner in investigation. When he goes off on a risky errand and orders Keira not to leave the house – is he being a husband who expects to be obeyed or a fellow investigator who needs his partner not to go into danger on her own? Ah, yes, these two will have many challenges as they begin their next investigation, the disappearance of Gage’s cousin Alfred in the wilds of Dartmoor.

    I cannot recommend the Lady Darby series strongly enough, and while this one works as a stand-alone, for maximum effect, they really should be read in order. Anna Lee Huber is a supremely talented author, and these books are complex, impeccably plotted, and clearly well-researched. In addition to creating the wonderful characters, she brings the culture and the landscape into full view, and there is a strong sense of place. I can’t wait until we get to Dartmoor!

    * * *

    Review first posted at

    .

  • Mel
    Mar 13, 2016

    This was an excellent mystery in spite of the "dis" and "dats" which were in my opinion unnecessary.

  • Jessica
    May 13, 2016

    Kiera and Gage are recently wed and find the idyllic bliss of their honeymoon in Keswick interrupted by a letter from Gage's father requesting their help with an inquiry. The couple's strained relationship with Gage's father makes this request all the more surprising. The Duke of Wellington's distant cousin has been murdered. To further add a layer of oddness to the murder is that she was a young postulate close to taking her vows as nun. Though a papist, this murder cannot be left alone and it

    Kiera and Gage are recently wed and find the idyllic bliss of their honeymoon in Keswick interrupted by a letter from Gage's father requesting their help with an inquiry. The couple's strained relationship with Gage's father makes this request all the more surprising. The Duke of Wellington's distant cousin has been murdered. To further add a layer of oddness to the murder is that she was a young postulate close to taking her vows as nun. Though a papist, this murder cannot be left alone and it requires Gage's skills to solve it. Keira and Gage go to Ireland. When they arrive, they find their preconceptions and stereotypes challenged by the Irish farmers, nuns, land owners, and even from their own staff. The friction between the Catholics and Protestants is growing and compounded by the issue of tithing. A murder of a postulate begins to be the tip of a far deeper purpose brewing in Ireland. One that involves religion and countries. Gage and Keira are never anyone or any entity's pawns. They resolve to make right by the dead girl and the rest can be dealt with at a later date.

    My ratings are always consistent with any book Anna Lee Huber writes. I love her tidy mysteries that are character driven and has a strong focus on the development of the main characters through each of the series' books. The Keira in

    is not the same Keira that we met in

    . She has definitely grown and I always appreciate the self introspections she does. One aspect of this book that really stood out to me was the beautiful details of the Irish countryside, towns, and people. Huber's research into the the turmoil between the Catholics and Protestants was thorough, I had no idea about the tithing issue and also need for people to hide their Catholic religion in order to keep their employment. Fans of Keira and Gage won't be disappointed either... I'll leave it at that. If you haven't met Keira and Gage, it is best to start at this book

    as this is a the newest in a series and not really a stand a lone.

    My many thanks to the author and to Penguin House-Berkley Prime Crime for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review. I now am eagerly waiting for the next installment in the series which was cleverly hinted at in the end of this book!

  • LORI CASWELL
    Jul 15, 2016

    Dollycas’s Thoughts

    It seems Kiera and Gage can’t even have a honeymoon. Lord Gage sends them a message to travel to Dublin to investigate a nun that has been killed at an Abbey. He provides no details so the newly married couple find transport and get to Ireland as quickly as possible. The people of the surrounding area are not quick to provide much more information, even the other nuns at the abbey and the local Constable seems to holding back. Kiera and Gage have their work cut out for them to

    Dollycas’s Thoughts

    It seems Kiera and Gage can’t even have a honeymoon. Lord Gage sends them a message to travel to Dublin to investigate a nun that has been killed at an Abbey. He provides no details so the newly married couple find transport and get to Ireland as quickly as possible. The people of the surrounding area are not quick to provide much more information, even the other nuns at the abbey and the local Constable seems to holding back. Kiera and Gage have their work cut out for them to solve this case. It also tests their new married life as these two very independent people learn to trust their place now as man and wife.

    Kiera has grown so much since this series began, much of the thanks to Gage, but now that she is his wife will he fall into the ways of most men in this time and curtail her independence and freedom when it comes to their investigations. The author has shown us both sides and not everything is resolved by the end of this book.

    Huber’s stories are very character driven. Servants Anderley and Bree also play major roles in this mystery. Kiera has always been extremely close to Bree and we see Gage and Anderley are very close and trusting as well. We are also introduced to a wide variety of characters and a character from a past story reappears, much to Lady Darby’s dismay.

    This mystery includes a lot of history and the murder takes a very interesting turn as we learn more about how that history impacts the nun’s death. I felt it was pretty complex and just a little hard to keep straight at times. There were so many players, secondary and minor characters that all played a part.

    As I have come to expect from this author she paints amazing pictures with her words. The areas around the Abbey formed immediately in my mind. The portion of the story that takes place on the ship almost had me weaving with the motion of the waves.

    As I have said in previous reviews to get the most out of these series the stories should be read from the start but this one does read well as a stand alone as the author gives us plenty of background.

    I love that as the 5th book in this series that characters are fresh and engaging and the mystery is excellent. The author gives us a little tease for book number six and that made me so happy. I really want to go on more adventures with Mr. & Mrs. Gage.

  • Caz
    Jul 21, 2016

    .

    This fifth book in Anna Lee Huber’s series of historical mysteries featuring Lady Keira Darby is another well-constructed tale – one in which Keira and her new husband, inquiry agent Sebastian Gage, are asked to investigate the murder of an Irish nun.

    The newly-weds are on their honeymoon when an urgent letter from Sebastian’s father, Lord Gage, reaches them, informing them that a young woman –a relative of the Duke of Wellington

    .

    This fifth book in Anna Lee Huber’s series of historical mysteries featuring Lady Keira Darby is another well-constructed tale – one in which Keira and her new husband, inquiry agent Sebastian Gage, are asked to investigate the murder of an Irish nun.

    The newly-weds are on their honeymoon when an urgent letter from Sebastian’s father, Lord Gage, reaches them, informing them that a young woman –a relative of the Duke of Wellington – has been found dead on the grounds of Loretto Abbey near Rathfarnham where she was a postulant. Seeing as Gage and Keira are in the north of England and can more easily travel to Ireland, Lord Gage asks them to look into the matter in his stead. Gage’s relationship with his overbearing father is strained to say the least, and has become moreso since he refused to marry the debutante chosen for him and married Keira, a widow dogged by scandal (

    ). They have half a mind to refuse the request, but fearing that Lord Gage would simply rush the inquiry and would more than likely not be impartial, they decide to go and do their best to obtain justice for the dead woman.

    You can read the rest of this review at

    .

  • Staci
    Dec 31, 2016

    Another delightful Lady Darby mystery. This time the location is outside of the borderlands.

    In this novel, I particularly enjoyed the history of Catholics and Protestants and the struggles between the two.

    I look forward to the next novel in this series.

  • Margie (Bookzombie)
    Jan 30, 2017

    Set in Ireland in 1831 amidst unrest between Protestants and Catholics. The main characters face mistrust and danger as they try to determine who killed a postulant just outside the walls of an abby. I love this series and the characters. I wish I had waited to listen to this one. It wasn't a cliff hanger, but Huber did some set up for the next book out in 2018.