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A Wicked Conceit

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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 br 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.


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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 br 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.

30 review for A Wicked Conceit

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    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 ev 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. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  2. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    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 Scarle 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. My gratitude to publisher Berkley for a complimentary NetGalley copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jude: The Epic Reader

    Well, those last few chapters gave me a.n.x.i.e.t.y. The way that I'm getting fully invested in book character's pregnancies has been such a thing for me this year. The moment that I have been waiting for for a couple of years now has finally arrived and in such a satisfyingly dramatic way! Well, those last few chapters gave me a.n.x.i.e.t.y. The way that I'm getting fully invested in book character's pregnancies has been such a thing for me this year. The moment that I have been waiting for for a couple of years now has finally arrived and in such a satisfyingly dramatic way!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    Edinburgh is whispering behind their hands about Kiera once again, but this time it because her name is tied to the town’s most infamous criminal, Bonnie Brock Kincaid. This is a series I eagerly jump on each new installment for the colorful characters, the riveting plot, and the well-drawn historical backdrops. A Wicked Conceit is the ninth in a series that works best read in order. In fact, it references earlier books and even the most recent novella so readers get a better experience when they Edinburgh is whispering behind their hands about Kiera once again, but this time it because her name is tied to the town’s most infamous criminal, Bonnie Brock Kincaid. This is a series I eagerly jump on each new installment for the colorful characters, the riveting plot, and the well-drawn historical backdrops. A Wicked Conceit is the ninth in a series that works best read in order. In fact, it references earlier books and even the most recent novella so readers get a better experience when they have already read the scenes that were being addressed. Only three weeks before she is due, Kiera doesn’t need the added stress of an unauthorized book about “Bonnie” Brock Kincaid and featuring her and Gage in a bad light taking Edinburgh by storm even as cholera is still raging strong. Her sister is bugging her to leave the mystery-solving and her artwork behind now that she is to be a mother and the secret she is keeping from Gage is churning inside her. But, Kiera has come a long way and is hurt by Alana’s lack of understanding that detective work with Gage and her art are part of who she is and being a mother will add to that and not replace it. Gage doesn’t expect her to suddenly turn into the little woman who stays at home. He does expect complete honesty, but she still can’t bring herself to tell him the truth that she discovered over the Christmas holiday about Lord Henry. The mystery in this one took a bit to get underway because much of this book was focused on Kiera’s life. I’m not a big fan of people keeping secrets from those they are in relationships with so I was not well pleased with that aspect of the story. I also found myself barely tolerating Kiera and Alana’s sisterly squabbling. It was starting out rocky for me, but then the mystery side finally kicked into high gear and my usual pleasure in the Lady Darby mysteries was back. I shouldn’t complain about all the personal plot developments because the blend of character, relationship-building, and mystery plots are what drew me to the series and was a strong part of this book. The author wrote a note that she did not write the cholera epidemic in because she was writing during our own pandemic. It was always going to be part of whatever book happened at this time, but it did have greater significance to me as a reader as a result. The murder mystery was not that challenging to me. I figured out swiftly who was behind the author learning about Brock’s life, how a certain gambling aristocrat fit in, and it wasn’t long after the murder that I knew who did it and a little of why. But, the deeper motive was what surprised me later in the book. That said, I loved trotting along with Kiera and Gage as they worked it all out. It ended on a high note and left me eager for the next book. There was one confrontation after a certain secret was revealed that didn’t happen in this book and I’m curious how that will go. And, naturally, I can’t wait to see what mystery will come their way next. Those who love historical mystery with solid historical background and engaging characters really need to try this book/series. I rec’d this eARC from NetGalley to read in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sometime

    Another great Lady Darby book. I love Kiara and Gage (although it did get a little ridiculous having Kiara running around 9 months pregnant. Girl, sit down for a minute and put your feet up!)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    Series: Lady Darby #9 Publication Date: 4/6/21 Number of Pages: 384 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 o Series: Lady Darby #9 Publication Date: 4/6/21 Number of Pages: 384 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, supercriminal, 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    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 o 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

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    I am a huge fan of the Lady Darby Mysteries! This time around, in the ninth book, Anna Lee Huber again brings readers a great experience. Kiera and Gage are greatly anticipating the birth of their first child and are at their home in Edinburgh. There is a cholera outbreak and they are having to be very careful. Then a publisher puts out a book about their friend/nemesis Bonnie Brock Kincaid, a criminal extraordinaire, but a very likeable one. This notorious book also has Kiera and Gage in it, al I am a huge fan of the Lady Darby Mysteries! This time around, in the ninth book, Anna Lee Huber again brings readers a great experience. Kiera and Gage are greatly anticipating the birth of their first child and are at their home in Edinburgh. There is a cholera outbreak and they are having to be very careful. Then a publisher puts out a book about their friend/nemesis Bonnie Brock Kincaid, a criminal extraordinaire, but a very likeable one. This notorious book also has Kiera and Gage in it, albeit with different names, and it casts quite a huge shadow on their lives. And Kiera is keeping a large secret from Gage, too, and it's eating at her. Then there is a murder and of course, Gage and Kiera must get to work to solve it. 'Death is sometimes racing right on your heels.' I was captivated by Huber's first book in this series, 'The Anatomist's Wife'. These books must be read in order, I'll say that right up front. Huber takes great pains to delve deep into Kiera's personality and the reader feels they know her very well. Incredibly well written and impeccably researched, the books in this series are full and rich and will capture your interest throughout. Huber's vivid descriptions are one of the things I enjoy most about her books. Well done! I thank the publisher for a copy of this book. I received no compensation and the opinion in this review is solely my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ♥Rachel♥

    3.5 Stars I love this series, but this was not my favorite installment. Alana got on my very last nerve being so awful to Kiera and the fact that Kiera would just mostly take it instead of standing up for herself was so frustrating! This went on through almost the entire book! Also, the ending drama went on and on. Still, I love Gage and Kiera together, and the love between them and (view spoiler)[their new child (hide spoiler)] at the end was a delight. 3.5 Stars I love this series, but this was not my favorite installment. Alana got on my very last nerve being so awful to Kiera and the fact that Kiera would just mostly take it instead of standing up for herself was so frustrating! This went on through almost the entire book! Also, the ending drama went on and on. Still, I love Gage and Kiera together, and the love between them and (view spoiler)[their new child (hide spoiler)] at the end was a delight.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    This was a harrowing read given the fact that it was published ( unintentionally) during a year with a pandemic that was so hauntingly similar. I love the Lady Darby books where Huber's knowledge of ---and evident passion for--- the dark streets of 19th Century Edinburgh shine through. Here, Kiera's looming baby and the reappearance of the fascinating and sinister Bonnie Brock up the stakes in a well---and often furiously paced--mystery. There is an overarching sense of cloisters and claustrophob This was a harrowing read given the fact that it was published ( unintentionally) during a year with a pandemic that was so hauntingly similar. I love the Lady Darby books where Huber's knowledge of ---and evident passion for--- the dark streets of 19th Century Edinburgh shine through. Here, Kiera's looming baby and the reappearance of the fascinating and sinister Bonnie Brock up the stakes in a well---and often furiously paced--mystery. There is an overarching sense of cloisters and claustrophobia here that loans to the tension but also mimics a lot of what I was feeling during lockdown isolation. A remarkably current read and a delight for fans of Sebastian and Lady Darby!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    Keira and Gage are expecting their first child, but they are still investigating, despite her sister's request that they quit. There is a popular novel which makes scandalous implications about Lady Darby, and they are determined to locate the anonymous author. With the help of one of Edinburgh's most infamous criminals, they hope to stop publication of an even more shocking sequel. Recommended not only for those who enjoy Regency novels and historical mysteries, but also for anyone who has beco Keira and Gage are expecting their first child, but they are still investigating, despite her sister's request that they quit. There is a popular novel which makes scandalous implications about Lady Darby, and they are determined to locate the anonymous author. With the help of one of Edinburgh's most infamous criminals, they hope to stop publication of an even more shocking sequel. Recommended not only for those who enjoy Regency novels and historical mysteries, but also for anyone who has become addicted to the Bridgerton series and particularly likes the spunkier women like Penelope and Eloise. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC.

  12. 5 out of 5

    OLLI at WVU

    Lady Darby is very pregnant at the start of this book, so it was clear she was going to the baby at the end of the book. “Let’s hope she doesn’t end up having the baby in some weird place because of the machinations of the mystery.” Guess how that went for me. Someone has written a novel about Bonnie Brock Kincaid, and unfortunately Kiera and Sebastian feature in it–with just the tiniest bit of obfuscation so the publisher doesn’t get sued. Both Brock AND Sebastian & Kiera want to know who the auth Lady Darby is very pregnant at the start of this book, so it was clear she was going to the baby at the end of the book. “Let’s hope she doesn’t end up having the baby in some weird place because of the machinations of the mystery.” Guess how that went for me. Someone has written a novel about Bonnie Brock Kincaid, and unfortunately Kiera and Sebastian feature in it–with just the tiniest bit of obfuscation so the publisher doesn’t get sued. Both Brock AND Sebastian & Kiera want to know who the author is. And Alana (Kiera’s sister) is distressed and wants all the talk to stop as well, for fear of what it will do for Kiera and her baby. Sadly, I had multiple problems with this story. First, why on earth would Brock accuse Kiera & Sebastian of being behind the book, when the story quite obviously slanders them as much as Bonny Brock? Second, there are a lot of references to the novella that came out a bit ago as part of an anthology. Since I didn’t really love that anthology, I wasn’t thrilled to be reminded of it. Third, I really did not care for the Hollywood ending. That’s typical for me, but having the baby’s birth be part of the ending was just too much. Fourth, this anachronism really bugged me. And I had never colored inside the lines. Coloring books were invented in the 1880s. On the plus side, she totally referenced John Snow in the bibliography! It wasn’t until 1854, when Dr. John Snow was able to trace the source of a single cholera outbreak in London to a specific water pump, and then a decades-long fight for germ theory to overtake that of the miasma theory, that the real cause of cholera was pinpointed and accepted. It’s not that I disliked this book, it just wasn’t as good as I have come to expect these mysteries to be.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    I think this is as far as I go with this series. The things that annoy me about the writing have now surpassed the enjoyment I get out of the mystery. For example: Did you know the main character, Kiera (Lady Darby), is pregnant? Yes, she’s heavy with child. In case this is the first book you’ve read in the series, you should know she’s Heavy. With. Child. And her back hurts, which she complains about NON-STOP throughout the book, cuz you know, she’s heavy with child. 🙄🙄🤯 Also, Lady Darby doesn’t ju I think this is as far as I go with this series. The things that annoy me about the writing have now surpassed the enjoyment I get out of the mystery. For example: Did you know the main character, Kiera (Lady Darby), is pregnant? Yes, she’s heavy with child. In case this is the first book you’ve read in the series, you should know she’s Heavy. With. Child. And her back hurts, which she complains about NON-STOP throughout the book, cuz you know, she’s heavy with child. 🙄🙄🤯 Also, Lady Darby doesn’t just carry a pistol. She carries a Hewson percussion pistol. Not a gun. A Hewson percussion pistol. Still not sure of the maker of said pistol? No worries. You’ll read it again at least 3 more times. 🙄 This novel mentions the cholera outbreak of 1832. And of course it can’t just be cholera. (Like a Hewson percussion pistol can’t just be pistol). Nope, this outbreak is of cholera morbus. 🙄 I especially loved the extra long sister fight that came out of nowhere and dragged on throughout the whole book. Alana was extra bitchy and hurtful this book. But no worries! It’s all love and hugs at the end. 🌈🦄🙄 I JUST CAN’T ANYMORE.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    I adore the Lady Darby Mystery series by Anna Lee Huber. Seriously, I love it. You should read it, starting with book 1, including this book despite my slightly lower rating. This book read more as a continuation of book 8 or an incredibly extended epilogue rather than a true new addition to the series. There is a new, somewhat, mystery to solve. As it is directly related to things that happened in the previous two books, you definitely shouldn't read this as a standalone. It re-covers some alre I adore the Lady Darby Mystery series by Anna Lee Huber. Seriously, I love it. You should read it, starting with book 1, including this book despite my slightly lower rating. This book read more as a continuation of book 8 or an incredibly extended epilogue rather than a true new addition to the series. There is a new, somewhat, mystery to solve. As it is directly related to things that happened in the previous two books, you definitely shouldn't read this as a standalone. It re-covers some already well tread plot and character development, while simultaneously giving me a headache as I tried to remember who everyone was and why and what previously happened. I continued to love Bonnie Brock and his anti-hero additions to the world. The historical timing with the cholera epidemic was fitting, and long time fans of the series will celebrate the conclusion. It's good and a good addition to the series, but not my favorite of the 9 so far. The ending teaser has me very excited for the next book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    4.5 stars 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 dif 4.5 stars 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. 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! See my full review here

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carole (in Canada)

    Secrets can be dividing...secrets can be destructive...secrets can be deadly. "Who did ye tell?" (quote from the book) And so begins the ninth book in the Lady Darby Mystery series that takes Sebastian and Kiera Gage, along with Bonnie Brock Kincaid on another investigation to find out who has written a book about them that has currently been sensationalized into plays throughout the city. What is fact and what is fiction needs to be sifted through to try and determine who has a vendetta against t Secrets can be dividing...secrets can be destructive...secrets can be deadly. "Who did ye tell?" (quote from the book) And so begins the ninth book in the Lady Darby Mystery series that takes Sebastian and Kiera Gage, along with Bonnie Brock Kincaid on another investigation to find out who has written a book about them that has currently been sensationalized into plays throughout the city. What is fact and what is fiction needs to be sifted through to try and determine who has a vendetta against them; especially Bonnie Brock. "Gage and I spent so much of our time and effort in the pursuit of truth and justice, and yet, at times, all it seemed to do was reveal how dubious and unjust the world truly was." (quote from the book) Add to this, a secret Kiera has promised not to tell after their last investigation. A secret she knows that will test the bonds of her marriage. The rift with her sister, Alana, the Countess of Cromarty, isn't helping either. Alana has been critical of Kiera's continued activities as they are contrary to the strictures of society's role of women; especially now that Kiera is only a few weeks away from giving birth. But it appears there is more to it than that. "Just like dozens of times before, I ordered myself to tell him. I summoned the words to the back of my mouth, but then I couldn't force them out. Instead they sat there, crowded in my throat, choking me." (quote from the book) I love The Lady Darby Mystery series. Each book builds on the next, and for this reason, it is highly recommended you start at the beginning with 'The Anatomist's Wife'. Not only does each book have a mystery, but the political and socio-economic troubles of the time period are seamlessly woven in to each story. In this one, they are dealing with a major cholera epidemic and the Reform Bill. And Kiera has an awakening of what she must do going forward. "Just because that's the way things are, doesn't mean that's the way they always have to be." (quote from the book) I am completely invested in the characters of this series. The writing is evocative and my emotions engaged. I am already greatly anticipating the next book in the series!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Kiera and Gage... Honestly these two bring me so much joy! I just love the way they work together both in their marriage and in their detective work. This book is set only a couple of months after the last one. Kiera is basically bursting, about to give birth at any moment. And of course, the man, the myth, the legend, Bonnie Brock is also back! He might not be the greatest guy, but boy is he such a fun character. I loved how integral he was to the plot. It was enjoyable to see that he does seem t Kiera and Gage... Honestly these two bring me so much joy! I just love the way they work together both in their marriage and in their detective work. This book is set only a couple of months after the last one. Kiera is basically bursting, about to give birth at any moment. And of course, the man, the myth, the legend, Bonnie Brock is also back! He might not be the greatest guy, but boy is he such a fun character. I loved how integral he was to the plot. It was enjoyable to see that he does seem to care somewhat for Kiera. But at the same time he is truly an untrustworthy criminal. The plot was good, and it took me a while to figure out the killer in this one. And there is some strain in Kiera and Gage's relationship regarding the big secret revealed in the last book. But it was handled so beautifully and in such a real way. This is why I love their relationship. They are there fore each other no matter what, but they have both have headstrong personalities and it means they disagree on things. But no matter what they always make it through together. That ending! Loved it, just loved it! Honestly, it was just so good to be back in this world with characters I love and I can't wait until the next one. I love how she always leaves a little teaser at the end giving a little spoiler for the next book. If only I could have it now!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    Boring on the whole and lacking any real intrigue until well over the halfway mark. This series has been boring before, so I’m not surprised. There were also numerous allusions to prior volumes and not enough detail to make the reader really remember. I’m not really dissatisfied with this, but it was a bit of a chore.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    "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, dealin "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. I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eager Reader

    The Lady Darby series gives us a likable, strong-willed lady detective who assists her husband as an enquiry agent in 1832 Edinburgh. Lady Darby and Sebastian Gage return to Edinburgh to find themselves featured in a popular novel about Bonny Broch a notorious thief, part Robin Hood , part ruthless gang leader. A well plotted mystery that deepens as the twists keep coming. All of this would be enough but Lady Darby is also nearing the end of her first pregnancy. This reader found the many pregna The Lady Darby series gives us a likable, strong-willed lady detective who assists her husband as an enquiry agent in 1832 Edinburgh. Lady Darby and Sebastian Gage return to Edinburgh to find themselves featured in a popular novel about Bonny Broch a notorious thief, part Robin Hood , part ruthless gang leader. A well plotted mystery that deepens as the twists keep coming. All of this would be enough but Lady Darby is also nearing the end of her first pregnancy. This reader found the many pregnancy references unnecessary for the plot, and in fact they interrupted the "willing suspension of disbelief" necessary to enjoy a historical mystery. We have a twentieth century mindset set in Georgian Scotland. Terms like confinement for pregnancy and the popular treatment of 'lying in' don't seem to fit the author's story line so they were overlooked completely. Fans will like the mystery. Let's hope the history comes back in the next of the series.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Daniele

    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 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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    Gage and Kiera are set in Edinburgh in March of 1832 waiting for the birth of their first child. But things are not going smoothly. A book detailing the life of Bonnie Brock Kincaid and also starring Kieta and Gage has swept the country. It has also been adapted into a number of plays showing anywhere from the Royal Theatreto any other group of ragtag players. The portrayal has brought Kiera, Gage and Bonnie Brock into more publicity and gossip than any of them want. Bonnie Brock, a local crime Gage and Kiera are set in Edinburgh in March of 1832 waiting for the birth of their first child. But things are not going smoothly. A book detailing the life of Bonnie Brock Kincaid and also starring Kieta and Gage has swept the country. It has also been adapted into a number of plays showing anywhere from the Royal Theatreto any other group of ragtag players. The portrayal has brought Kiera, Gage and Bonnie Brock into more publicity and gossip than any of them want. Bonnie Brock, a local crime lord and sometimes ally of Kiera and Gage, is certain that someone has betrayed information about him that no one is supposed to know. He believes that it might be Kiera or Gage though they are equally outraged about the book and plays. They become determined to track down the mysterious and anonymous author. That isn't the only problem to two are having. The book has led to a number of other local crimes including jewel thefts that Gage is asked to look into. Their old enemy Lord Kirkcowan is mixed up in the new jewelry thefts. Also, Kiera is keeping a secret from Gage which is bothering her conscience. The one who was supposed to share the secret with Gage left the country at the end of their last case leaving Kiera in a very uncomfortable position. Kiera is also facing pressure from her older sister Alana who had previously been her strongest supporter and ally but who is now very upset about Kiera's life choices. When the publisher of the book that started it all is found murdered shortly after Gage and Kiera interviewed him to see if they could get a clue to unknown author, they become persons of interest to the police. Also the murder was set up to mimic a scene from the book which puts Bonnie Brock on the suspect list too. Add in that cholera is running rampant in Edinburgh and some of the places where they need to investigate are places where there have been outbreaks, and even more tension is added to thes story. The book was filled with great historical detail about the 1832 cholera epidemic and about the theater scene in Edinburgh. I really liked the way Kiera is becoming more comfortable with herself and with her choices. Despite some minor problems between Gage and Kiera, I also like the way their relationship is growing. Fans of this series will certainly enjoy this latest episode. Newcomers will also find much to enjoy in this historical mystery.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    February 1, 1832. Edinburgh, Scotland “Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.” Scottish Proverb. Anna Lee Huber’s A Wicked Conceit (Lady Darby Mysteries, #9) states in the prologue that Kiera and Sebastian Gage are leaving a dinner party given by Kiera’s sister and brother-in-law at their townhouse in New Town of Edinburgh to walk the few minutes to new home, also a townhouse in New Town, Edinburgh when they are confronted by gang leader, Bonnie Brock Kincaid. Oh, they have met be February 1, 1832. Edinburgh, Scotland “Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.” Scottish Proverb. Anna Lee Huber’s A Wicked Conceit (Lady Darby Mysteries, #9) states in the prologue that Kiera and Sebastian Gage are leaving a dinner party given by Kiera’s sister and brother-in-law at their townhouse in New Town of Edinburgh to walk the few minutes to new home, also a townhouse in New Town, Edinburgh when they are confronted by gang leader, Bonnie Brock Kincaid. Oh, they have met before. This meeting is related to a new book and now, it is a play referring to Bonnie Brock’s deeds and misdeeds with a inference to the Gages but with a slight name change. Bonnie Brock has a Robin Hood style reputation, and the Gages helped him through an extremely, almost deadly, time. Thus, with the book and the play fore most in just everyone minds in Edinburgh, both Kiera who is about 3 weeks from giving birth to her and her husband’s first child, and Bonnie Brock assumed to be responsible for a recent wave of crime are center stage for gossip. Some people are voicing Is BB the father of Lady Darby’s child? Then the publisher of this book is murdered. Questions are being asked - who actually wrote this book and why? Why has it been staged differently from the book? Who killed the publisher and why? The Gages try to find the answers. Is BB’s gang the only one in Edinburgh? Everything is happening during the Cholera Pandemic of 1832, while the author wrote this book during the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020. Exciting, well written, and the ending will keep you on the end of your seat. Highly recommended! 5 stars!

  24. 4 out of 5

    GG

    4.5 stars rounded up. I always seem to struggle with the beginning of a Lady Darby book, then suddenly I am caught and forget to feed the cat. This is how it was with A Wicked Conceit. As most readers know this is not a standalone, the Prologue makes numerous refernces to the anthology The Deadly Hours, which I admit I did not read. I am not comfortable with the paranormal. Hence the half star. There are mysteries in mysteries, and only Kiera's organized mind keeps them straight. Not to mention s 4.5 stars rounded up. I always seem to struggle with the beginning of a Lady Darby book, then suddenly I am caught and forget to feed the cat. This is how it was with A Wicked Conceit. As most readers know this is not a standalone, the Prologue makes numerous refernces to the anthology The Deadly Hours, which I admit I did not read. I am not comfortable with the paranormal. Hence the half star. There are mysteries in mysteries, and only Kiera's organized mind keeps them straight. Not to mention she is dealing with hormones from nine months of pregnancy. Gage is with her, of course Gage is with her. But he doesn't know all the secrets, and that bothers Kiera more then anything. Bonnie Brock Kincaid must feature heavily in the anthology, he is very much present in The Wicked Conceit, as well as his sister Maggie. Again mysteries in mysteries. Bonnie Brock loves his sister, more to the point, he loves Kiera and despises Gage. As bad as he is sometimes the good comes out in him whether he likes it or not. It shows in the later part of this book. I fell for Gage in The Anatomist's Wife when he cared for her as she was vomiting. Not many men would do that then or now for that matter. He remains true to character, you have to love him for it. Especially in this book. All the characters we have come to know and love are there, and not a few breadcrumbs for the next Lady Darby. The coincidence of the cholera outbreak in the book and our current world pandemic strike very close to home. And less I forget there is a baby. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review. And so it is.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    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 t 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lorena

    I really enjoy the Lady Darby series, and this installment brings a lot of simmering storylines to a head - Lady Darby and Sebastian Gage are back in Edinburgh, awaiting the birth of their first child. Things are uncomfortable, though, because someone has written a thinly-disguised work of fiction about their sometime criminal associate, Bonnie Brock Kincaid...which strongly implies that, not only are Lady D and Gage actively involved in the criminal side of his enterprises, Lady Darby's child i I really enjoy the Lady Darby series, and this installment brings a lot of simmering storylines to a head - Lady Darby and Sebastian Gage are back in Edinburgh, awaiting the birth of their first child. Things are uncomfortable, though, because someone has written a thinly-disguised work of fiction about their sometime criminal associate, Bonnie Brock Kincaid...which strongly implies that, not only are Lady D and Gage actively involved in the criminal side of his enterprises, Lady Darby's child is actually Kincaid's. No one is pleased about these circumstances, and things only get worse when the publisher of the book is murdered, and suspicion falls on those lampooned in his latest bestseller. There's also family drama galore, on both sides, and a countdown to the inevitable birth to make things more difficult. Action packed all the way, and with so many storylines resolved by the end, the series is clear to take off in an entirely new direction!

  27. 4 out of 5

    E.L. Cross

    Well researched, as always. The cholera epidemic in England is a fascinating setting for this story. Prior to the germ theory, the miasma theory that "foul air" poisoned people and transmitted disease led to interesting methods of protecting/treating oneself from illness. I do love Anna Lee Huber's stories and writing style. Her writing voice is authentic and perfectly suited to the time period. I listened to the audiobook and highly recommend it. The voice actor was a great fit for the story an Well researched, as always. The cholera epidemic in England is a fascinating setting for this story. Prior to the germ theory, the miasma theory that "foul air" poisoned people and transmitted disease led to interesting methods of protecting/treating oneself from illness. I do love Anna Lee Huber's stories and writing style. Her writing voice is authentic and perfectly suited to the time period. I listened to the audiobook and highly recommend it. The voice actor was a great fit for the story and did an excellent job at speaking for all the characters and making the various accents sound genuine. The complex main characters leave me thinking about them long after I have finished the book. Their motivations are believable and relatable. The secondary characters are more than props to fill the story. They are a driving force in the novel, well developed, and worthy of books of their own. In this particular novel, I was happy to see the return of Bonnie Brock, everyone's favorite anti-villian. The revelation of his origins and hints that, had life been different for him, he may not have turned into a crime lord kept me listening long into the night.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I do enjoy this series. The mysteries are clever & well-plotted, the historical setting is well-rendered, and the characters are interesting & complex. Besides being a cozy historical mystery, there is a sweet romance between the main characters that develops slowly over time, until by now in the series, they are married & expecting their first child. Kiera discovers it's difficult to be an inquiry agent while 8 months pregnant, but she carries on, aided by the fact that she has lots of help fro I do enjoy this series. The mysteries are clever & well-plotted, the historical setting is well-rendered, and the characters are interesting & complex. Besides being a cozy historical mystery, there is a sweet romance between the main characters that develops slowly over time, until by now in the series, they are married & expecting their first child. Kiera discovers it's difficult to be an inquiry agent while 8 months pregnant, but she carries on, aided by the fact that she has lots of help from the help. It's the Gage's long & complicated history with the crime boss, Bonnie Brock Kincaid, that is causing them grief now. A popular book & play about his life that includes titillating details about the couple has once again made them the object of gossip. As they try to solve a brutal murder, they hope to clear their names in the process. A good read & fine entry in the series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Another great addition to the series. In this book the old timeline events mirror some of the events at the time of publication such as a pandemic (Covid-19 in the 2020/21 and Cholera in 1831/32) as well as the plight of the poor verse the rich and their abuses of money and power to be above the law or societal rules. Kira and Gage have come back from their extended honeymoon, Kira far along into her first pregnancy. When a book is published about an outlaw acquaintance of theirs with thinly veil Another great addition to the series. In this book the old timeline events mirror some of the events at the time of publication such as a pandemic (Covid-19 in the 2020/21 and Cholera in 1831/32) as well as the plight of the poor verse the rich and their abuses of money and power to be above the law or societal rules. Kira and Gage have come back from their extended honeymoon, Kira far along into her first pregnancy. When a book is published about an outlaw acquaintance of theirs with thinly veiled references to them they are in the public eye and not in a good way when the book becomes very popular that even plays and songs are being written about it. Out of curiosity and to stop their acquaintance from doing the author any harm they try to find out who the author is since he has hidden behind a false name. Things get harder when the publisher is murdered and a sequel is set to be published. Now it's a race against the clock to find the author, solve the publisher's murder, and stop the sequel before Kira has her baby.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Toby

    I used to love this series, and I’m still fond of the characters. But the more of this genre I read, the less well written I think this is. This could easily have been 1/3 shorter than it was - too wordy, too much repetition of past work, etc. Also, the audio narrator started to drive me crazy: it was apparent that she was not pausing in between sections (except chapters) but instead running everything together, which made for some odd scenes until I figured out what was going on. I’ll likely co I used to love this series, and I’m still fond of the characters. But the more of this genre I read, the less well written I think this is. This could easily have been 1/3 shorter than it was - too wordy, too much repetition of past work, etc. Also, the audio narrator started to drive me crazy: it was apparent that she was not pausing in between sections (except chapters) but instead running everything together, which made for some odd scenes until I figured out what was going on. I’ll likely continue to borrow them from the library in the future, but not with as much enthusiasm as previously.

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