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Mortal Arts

(Lady Darby Mysteries #2)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  8,177 ratings  ·  775 reviews
Scotland, 1830. Lady Kiera Darby is no stranger to intrigue—in fact, it seems to follow wherever she goes. After her foray into murder investigation, Kiera must journey to Edinburgh with her family so that her pregnant sister can be close to proper medical care. But the city is full of many things Kiera isn’t quite ready to face: the society ladies keen on judging her, her ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Berkley
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Shana Karnes
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  8,177 ratings  ·  775 reviews

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Andrea Seaver
Well. What to say. Let's start with the good. Lady Kiera Darby is a heroine with an interesting backstory. She views the world in which she inhabits with a bit of an outsiders eye, and since the novel is written first person, hers is the only viewpoint we have. The setting (rambling family manse in Scotland) is interesting for the time period. No London high society setting, very different. The storyline/mystery: very high promise. What depravities might Kiera's tortured past art instructor be c ...more
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-books
This series is definitely getting better as it goes! I really liked the first installment but I liked this one even more. So excited to see what comes next and love that the romance aspect, is definitely heating up as well!
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Setting: Scotland 1830

In the second book by Anna Lee Huber, Lady Kiera Darby accompanies her pregnant sister Alanna to Edinburgh for a much needed medical care for her.
And although Kiera would never admit it, she is excited to be in the same city that she knows investigator Sebastian Gage is in as well.
While there, she plans to attend the wedding of an old family friend.
But when a local girl goes missing and the groom's brother becomes a suspect, Kiera once again must use her medical
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Since most of us don't read the author's notes until the book is done, I found some info that I would have loved to have known at the start. Would have helped with the imagery of the two houses.

The Dalmay House in Mortal arts was based on Dalmeny House, and the crumbling abandoned castle was based on Barnbougle Castle. There's also a short video taken of the old castle here on Youtube.

Now for the review. You'll have to mosey on over to Booklikes and read it here.
The mystery was easy to figure out, but I still enjoyed the story. Love Gage and Kiera's collaboration in the investigation, and their developing romance.

Already onto the third book. I'm addicted. As with the last book, Heather Wilds' narration is perfection!
Very creepy, with a master of an insane asylum gone rogue and a man who suffers from severe PTSD in the same area when a young lady disappears. It's a mostly clean mystery, with some mild period curses and some innuendo, along with moderate violence. I'll definitely be moving along to the third book in the series to see what else Kiera and Gage will be solving. ...more
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading The Anatomist's Wife, I couldn’t wait to rejoin Kiera and see what happened next to her. Naturally, another mystery presents itself to be uncovered, involving her childhood art tutor, who had been missing for nearly ten years.

I must admit I didn’t expect this but I appreciated Huber’s choice of dealing with mental illness (PTSD from war experience) in a time when it was totally misunderstood, and the horrors of quite a few contemporary insane asylum. The resulting narrative is pret
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent read. Central to the plot is a veteran's horrific struggles with PTSD, which was not recognized or treated in 1830. Rather, it was considered to be melancholy or madness. There are many dark, gothic moments, and the thrilling conclusion is reminiscent of Poe! ...more
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Mortal Arts is Anna Lee Huber’s second in the Lady Darby Historical Mystery series published by Berkley Prime Crime, September 2013

If you have not read the first in this new series, The Anatomist’s Wife, run out and get a copy, download a copy, whatever you have to do, and then get ready for Mortal Arts. Find a quiet place, get a glass of wine or fresh brewed coffee or tea, and let the Victorian atmosphere and careful narration take you away to another time and share with you the sounds and scen
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
An unconventional female heroine, paired with an enigmatic and charming male lead; whispers of a brewing attraction between them; set in 1830 on the rocky coast of the Firth of Forth in Scotland; a mystery involving betrayal and a creepy lunatic asylum and the disappearance of two young girls-- this historical mystery has everything a reader of my tastes could want, and indeed, I was prepared to devour it with singular enjoyment. The trouble is, it fell short on all of these elements. The heroin ...more
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
This is definitely a series that I'll be sticking out, if only in hopes of seeing Kiera and Gage make it to the altar one day. :D I love their banter and how protective Gage is and how Kiera still won't let that stop her from solving the mystery at hand. She's plucky and courageous and one day, I'm sure she'll get that gun she's been meaning to purchase. ;) Lord knows she's gonna need it if she keeps on her current path. I do wish there was more of an on-going mystery and not just a new case wit ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kiera and Gage are once again involved in solving another mystery, but this one is far more personal to Kiera, giving us a great chance to learn more about her beyond her past with her brute of an anatomist husband. It says a lot for how sympathetic an heroine Kiera is that the enormous pain she experienced due to the events in The Mortal Arts soured my mood as much as hers. Although I liked her healthy, loving relationships with her sister and brother-in-law, it was even better seeing her stand ...more
3.5 stars.

This was a heartbreaking mystery (which, again, wasn’t very mysterious) featuring a strong h and a well developed cast of secondary characters. The suspense was good and the development of the relationship between the MCs continued to draw me in. There was no sex in this book (yay!) and no OP drama at all. The thing I probably appreciated the most about this book was that the h didn’t chase the H. She didn’t apologize for anything that wasn’t her fault and she wasn’t a doormat. I’m lo
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Moving from a Highland Scotland castle to Edinburgh, Lady Darby and her family stopover with friends and become engrossed in a new, dark mystery and brings Kiera into contact with the enigmatic Sebastian Gage once again.

Mortal Arts is book two in the Lady Darby series. It follows on the heels of the events of book one and, though it presents a new mystery, works best when gotten in order.

Kiera and her brother in law worry for her sister's pregnancy and so decide to move the family to Edinburgh a
Mortal Arts
4 Stars

Lady Kiera Darby travels with her sister and brother-in-law to Edinburgh, but is detoured to Dalmay by an urgent missive from Phillip’s aunt. It seems that Michael Dalmay, an old family friend, is soon to be wed to Phillip’s cousin. Unfortunately, the return of Michael’s older brother and the disappearance of a local girl put a pall on the wedding plans, and Kiera is forced to join forces once again with the enigmatic Sebastian Gage to uncover the truth.

An enjoyable sequel wit
It was an interesting choice for the author to centre the story on the mental health of a former drawing teacher and respected friend of Kiera’s, and the possible culpability of this friend in the disappearance of a young woman.
There was no understanding, at the time this story is set, of the complexities of mental health issues such as depression and PTSD, and these misunderstandings fuel the confusion and prejudices marring the investigation that Kiera is pulled into, along with Gage.
That Kier
The Lit Bitch
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After rapidly finishing the first Lady Darby book, I knew that I would need the next one. I didn’t care that the book cost $14.00 on my Kindle and I had tons of other books I could read….I had to know what happened to Gage and Kiera next!

This book was much different than the first one and I think I liked it even more than the first book! I loved all the Gothic elements that this one had. The first book lacked some of my favorite elements but this one did NOT disappoint!

Crumbling castle on the co
*The Angry Reader*
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, historicals, 2019
I’m not sure how 2 such down to earth and relatively sane characters could become such twats in book 2 but here we are.

I feel like Huber didn’t know what to do with Kiera and Gage. So she made them bicker. And bicker. And bicker. They did little else. Their relationship didn’t grow. I’m not even sure we can say it backslid. It just sort of turned into middle school crap. Lots of hurt feelings and non-conversations.

The Mystery was not a mystery as it was completely obvious from the get food. No
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This series is getting better. Enjoyable read.
I'd enjoyed Book 1 in this series SO much (despite some nitpicks) that I immediately bought Book 2; with this one, Book 2, I had no nitpicks at all. I just loved it! This is such a binge-worthy series. The mystery was much stronger in this volume, and I really, really love the way the relationships are developing through the books - not only Kiera's relationship with her romantic interest, but also with her family members and old friends and in the way she's learning to re-enter larger society a ...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
The mystery and suspense weaved into the plot of Mortal Arts is far superior to the first book of the series, in my opinion. You guys, it is impossible not to become emotionally involved in the story. William, who has been locked away, is a former soldier suffering from PTSD in a time before it was recognized or understood. The combination of watching him suffer as well as seeing everyone around him at a total loss as to how to help? Heart wrenching, seriously. PTSD is still so misunderstood eve ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
This book taked place soon after the end of the first one, so I would advise the readers not to miss the first one. If you do, you'll miss all the little important parts!

Here the mistery is around a very important friend of Kiera's: her paining teacher, Will. A person who reappers after many years missing. A gruesome disapperance: the poor guy was comitted by his own father to an asylum (and we all know how they were then!!!).

There're murder victims, gossiping people, missing persons, deceaving
Heather Gilbert
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
At this point, I am fairly confident to say I'm going to like every book in this series. Although this one is setup differently from a traditional mystery (ie: we don't have a body at the beginning), Huber once again makes me feel invested in the characters and the setting right from the get-go. This novel delves into PTSD in a time when it wasn't recognized as such, and I couldn't put the book down until I knew what had happened.

I truly admire Huber's smooth writing style. Both novels I've read
Lupinus Texensis
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, 2016
2020 Reread

Continued to reread these for reading slump reasons. I love them.


I continue to adore this series. I adore this one for many of the same reasons I adore the first one.

I also really like how Gage and Lady Darby's relationship is developing, how they're starting to trust one another. (view spoiler)
May 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Abandoned on page 47, after several weeks where I was not able to sustain interest in the story. Might come back to the series later... but probably not.
Lady Kiera Darby is enroute to Edinburgh with her sister's family when they are sidetracked at the behest of a family friend. Michael Dalmay is about to be married, but when his fiancée's family learns that Michael's older brother William - Lady Darby's beloved childhood painting tutor - has been released from a nine-year stint in a mental institution, they no longer approve of the marriage. Lady Darby having believed that William was dead is both overjoyed to see him and shocked by his frail me ...more
Elliot A
Feb 03, 2017 marked it as to-read
Stopping at 119 pages. I don't think I'm in the mood for this story at the present moment. Speaking purely from my own point of view; I found the protagonist has changed from the first instalment to this one. She seems more subdued and centred too much on her own plights, which are still the same as in the first book. I was looking forward to a murder mystery set in Scotland during the 1800's, but instead it felt like recycled internal conflicts and social commentary.
Again, this is how I felt w
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
Mortal Arts is the second offering in the Lady Darby series. I liked it even better than the first book, The Anatomist's Wife.

Anna Lee Huber offers mysteries set in 1800s Scotland. She paints a clear picture of what life was like during the time period and location. In addition to the mystery, there is a budding romance between the two main characters.

I recommend the Lady Darby mysteries for those that enjoy Charles Todd and/or Regency Mysteries. I do recommend starting with The Anatomist's Wi
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
This was just excellent! I liked the first one, but this one just hit all the right notes for me. The mystery almost felt like an afterthought to me with this book. It was more about mental illness, most especially what we now call PTSD, and how people were treated at the time. The horrors they were often subjected to were unspeakable. I have a personal interest in the treatment of depression, what was referred to as simply melancholy during the time period these books are set in, and a book lik ...more
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Anna Lee Huber is the USA Today bestselling and Daphne award-winning author of the Lady Darby Mysteries, the Verity Kent Mysteries, the Gothic Myths series, and the anthology The Deadly Hours. 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 ...more

Other books in the series

Lady Darby Mysteries (9 books)
  • The Anatomist's Wife (Lady Darby Mystery, #1)
  • A Grave Matter (Lady Darby Mystery, #3)
  • A Study in Death (Lady Darby Mystery, #4)
  • As Death Draws Near (Lady Darby Mystery, #5)
  • A Brush with Shadows (Lady Darby Mystery, #6)
  • An Artless Demise (Lady Darby Mystery, #7)
  • A Stroke of Malice (Lady Darby Mystery, #8)
  • A Wicked Conceit (Lady Darby Mystery, #9)

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