I have been looking for this book all my life! My word, what a wonderful period mystery! Obviously well researched, well written, and great characters: what more can you ask for?
The main character, Lady Darby, is living at her sister and brother-in-law's estate, secluding herself from the society that has blackened her name since her husband's death and secrets came out. For those of you who know a bit about this time period, this supposedly took place soon after Burke and Hare's infamous trial.
For Kiera, her family, solitude, and particularly her painting are her solace. This ends when her sister Alana and husband Philip host a party at their house, many of the group making no attempt to hide their disgust at Kiera. When one of the unaccompanied married women is found dead in the garden soaked in blood, Philip has to ask her to help his friend Gage investigate the situation. The unsought for knowledge from her husband becomes a help as the two of them attempt to find the perpetrator of the hideous crime among the guests. Meanwhile, all of them seem to know precisely who to blame - the anatomist's wife.
This book had it all: wonderfully real characters, excellent setting you felt you could almost see and smell, great period information, and a good and unguessed mystery. It also had just enough chemistry between Kiera and Gage to have me rooting for them without being annoyed. The author used few cliches and actually did several things the complete opposite of what I expected.
I can't wait to see what happens next but I'll have to; my library owns the third but not the second book!
When my head broke the surface, I gasped, pulling in as much of the cool air as my lungs could hold. It sawed in and out of me, sharp and sweet, ambrosia on my tongue.
I felt even as I typed it, that I was experiencing it myself. Been there, done that, and it does hurt and yet is so wonderful to have air again. Excellent writing.