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Penny for Your Secrets by Anna Lee Huber
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Penny for Your Secrets (edition 2019)

by Anna Lee Huber (Author)

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397453,221 (4.25)6
England, 1919. In Anna Lee Huber's latest mystery, former Secret Service agent Verity Kent is finding that life after wartime offers its own share of danger . . . The Great War may be over, but for many, there are still obstacles on the home front. Reconciling with her estranged husband makes Verity sympathetic to her friend Ada's marital difficulties. Bourgeois-bred Ada, recently married to the Marquess of Rockham, is overwhelmed trying to navigate the ways of the aristocracy. And when Lord Rockham is discovered shot through the heart with a bullet from Ada's revolver, Verity fears her friend has made a fatal blunder. While striving to prove Ada's innocence, Verity is called upon for another favor. The sister of a former Secret Service colleague has been killed in what authorities believe was a home invasion gone wrong. The victim's war work-censoring letters sent by soldiers from the front-exposed her to sensitive, disturbing material. Verity begins to suspect these two unlikely cases may be linked. But as the connections deepen, the consequences-not just for Verity, but for Britain-grow more menacing than she could have imagined. Praise for Anna Lee Huber's Treacherous is the Night "A thrilling mystery that supplies its gutsy heroine with plenty of angst-ridden romance." -Kirkus Reviews "A splendid sequel. . . . Huber combines intricate puzzles with affecting human drama." -Publishers Weekly "Masterful. . . . Just when you think the plot will zig, it zags. . . . Deeply enjoyable." -Criminal Element… (more)
Member:19anne44
Title:Penny for Your Secrets
Authors:Anna Lee Huber (Author)
Info:Kensington (2019), 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Penny for Your Secrets by Anna Lee Huber

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This third installment in the Verity Kent Mystery series is complex, twisting, emotionally charged, somewhat dark and is a thoroughly rewarding read. Author Anna Lee Huber writes exquisitely with a tremendous understanding of the pulse of English society, circa 1919. She has gone to great lengths to display the emotional undercurrent playing out among the various characters. Tensions are high and everyone's walking on eggshells.

The Great War has ended. London society is trying to regain its pre-war societal norm but that doesn't come easily. Our bright and lovely protagonist, Verity Kent and her handsome war hero husband, Sidney are gathering at the Rockhams' home for dinner and drinks. There's quite a bit of tension in the room and sure enough, someone ends up dead when no one's looking. The hostess asks Verity to quietly investigate and get her out of the police inspectors cross-hairs. Verity agrees and with Sidney's assistance they begin their investigation. Meanwhile, a past colleague of Verity seeks assistance in finding out more about her cousin's sudden demise. Something niggles at the back of Verity's steel trap mind and she questions whether the two demises may be related. I leave that to you, dear reader, to ascertain.

What I loved best about this book is the emotional interplay between Verity and Sidney. He was an officer in the war who had lead his troops into battle after battle. Many of those men never made it home and or if they did, they may have returned home broken men. Sidney suffers from battlefield flashbacks and tremendous survivor's guilt. Verity wishes she could somehow ease that sorrow and guilt and struggles with what approach is best.

I do love this series as much as I enjoy Huber's "Lady Darby Mystery" series for somewhat different reasons. Both series are equally well written but I find that the psychological undercurrents in the Verity Kent series are more brilliantly played out and are quite palpable. There's a certain gravitas to it all.

Synopsis (from book's back cover):
England, 1919. In Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery, former Secret Service agent Verity Kent is finding that life after wartime offers its own share of danger . . .

The Great War may be over, but for many, there are still obstacles on the home front. Reconciling with her estranged husband makes Verity sympathetic to her friend Ada’s marital difficulties. Bourgeois-bred Ada, recently married to the Marquess of Rockham, is overwhelmed trying to navigate the ways of the aristocracy. And when Lord Rockham is discovered shot through the heart with a bullet from Ada’s revolver, Verity fears her friend has made a fatal blunder.

While striving to prove Ada’s innocence, Verity is called upon for another favor. The sister of a former Secret Service colleague has been killed in what authorities believe was a home invasion gone wrong. The victim’s war work—censoring letters sent by soldiers from the front—exposed her to sensitive, disturbing material. Verity begins to suspect these two unlikely cases may be linked. But as the connections deepen, the consequences—not just for Verity, but for Britain—grow more menacing than she could have imagined. ( )
  KateBaxter | Dec 27, 2019 |
The third Verity Kent mystery has Verity and her husband Sydney trying to find out who killed Lord Rockham who is the husband of one of Verity's friends from her wartime service. The evidence points to her friend Ada but Verity doesn't want to believe that she killed her husband. But Ada isn't the same woman as she was during the war. She and her husband were fighting and she was flaunting a new titled lover. Sydney wonders what Verity ever saw in her that made her a friend.

While she is investigating Lord Rockham's death, another friend comes to ask her to look into the suspicious death of her half-sister. Gradually, Verity and Sydney come to believe that the two events are related and come as a result of something mysterious that happened during the war.

The story is filled with action as Sydney and Verity travel to France and the Isle of Wight to track down some of their clues. They become convinced that there is still a mastermind behind the murders and that the mastermind might not be finished cleaning up some loose ends.

I enjoyed the setting of this story. I liked Verity who isn't willing to go back to the restricted life of an upper class matron after proving herself as a spy during the war. I like that she is fighting to rebuild her relationship with her husband Sydney who, if he fought in a more modern war, would likely have been diagnosed with PTSD. I could feel Verity's concern for her husband and frustration that she didn't know how to help him deal with the trauma of his service. ( )
  kmartin802 | Oct 31, 2019 |
1919 Intrigue with a capital 'I'!

Attending a dinner party and having the host murdered is shocking! For Verity Kent and Sidney we might be forgiven in thinking it's naught but small change for them after all they've encountered other the past years. It's not! Ada, Lady Rockman is an old friend of Verity's and due to a totally dramatic moment between the hosts at the dinner table, it seems Ada is about to be charged with murder.
Ada appeals to Verity for help. To find out who really killed her husband. The trail is convoluted and snakes back in upon itself. Add to this the unrelated death of a woman who'd worked for the Royal Mail,” in the censorship department. Verity and Sidney are forced to cast the net wide. Along the way they encounter Ada's lover Lord Ardmore, who "holds some unknown position within Naval Intelligence", and as things become more complex, Captain Alec Xavier, a man Verity became close to after Sidney had supposedly died, and Max Westfield, the Earl of Ryde, Sidney's commanding officer. Verity and Max had been drawn to each other during the time of Sidney's supposed death.
With the close of the novel I find I'm conflicted. The immediate problem may have been solved but we're left teetering on the precipice of some thing so much bigger. I felt somewhat cheated.
The complexity of the plot left me gasping with exhaustion as I mentally ran to keep up, and then the door was slammed shut, presumably to be thrown open at some time in the future. Who knows where that future will take Verity and Sidney? Judging by all that's gone before I can confidently predict it will be dangerous. I feel with a couple of things hinted at Verity may be possible accused of wrongdoing during her wartime exploits. It seems C's second in command Major Davis has had Verity's name added to the list of women "suspected of having intimate relations with the enemy.” Verity is shocked, I smell treachery in the future!
On the personal front, Verity and Sidney are leading a racy post war life style, moving from one distraction to another. Both are hiding things, immersing themselves in feverish activity. As Verity acknowledges it's "better to dance and be merry than to remember and regret." The mending of their relationship is tied in with their mental health and the cracks are very much starting to show, especially with Sidney.
I must applaud Huber for the depth and breadth of her background research. How she takes events and includes them in her storyline to give the 'wow' factor is indeed a credit to her talent.
I can't finish this review without saying how much I admire the cover art for all of the Verity books thus far. The retro 1920's block type Art Deco look that recalls Agatha Christie is stylish and intriguing, always with Verity's face turned away, enhancing her mysteriousness even as her clothes portray the stylish figure she cuts. Verity still remains somewhat of an enigma and the fabulous covers reflect that.

A Kensington ARC via NetGalley ( )
  eyes.2c | Oct 29, 2019 |
This series continues to be enjoyable; in fact, I felt like book 3 was a little more engaging than the first two. The mystery was good, and I also like the way the author is handling the ongoing relationship fallout from Sidney having let Verity assume he had died in the war. I do feel like the author has a tendency toward over-explaining characters' thoughts and conclusions and could allow the action and dialogue speak for themselves and trust that the reader will come to the conclusions on their own. ( )
  bookcookie1920 | Oct 28, 2019 |
The period just after World War I is a frenetic time. Everybody seemed to be struggling with survivors guilt and deep, deep sorrow – they all probably knew more people who had died than who had lived. The times were stressful with the soldiers returning home and trying to resurrect some semblance of a normal life and the women who had flocked into the workforce to fill the gaps left by the men being forced out of jobs they had not only filled but excelled at. Is it any wonder that everybody turned to the clubs and dancing and drinking to fill the hours and avoid the pain.

Verity and Sidney Kent are two of those frenetic people trying to get past the guilt of surviving. Sidney is particularly hard hit because he feels so very much guilt – I won’t tell you a lot about it, but you’ll learn when you read the story. As we know from the first two books in the series, Sidney was declared dead and was left in a ditch. Somehow, he managed to survive and went into hiding in order to uncover a nest of viperous traitors. In the meantime, Verity was mourning him deeply and burying her sorrows in drink. She’d worked for the Secret Service during the war and was about as shell-shocked as Sidney. In the first book, This Side of Murder, Verity was drawn into a case where she discovered Sidney was still alive. Now, Verity and Sidney are slowly trying to patch up their marriage and make things work between them.

Verity and Sidney spent a very tense evening at the home of Verity’s friend Ada and her husband, the Marquess of Rockham. Everyone could tell that Ada and her husband had been at odds with each other and neither behaved very well. Verity and Sidney left early, only to be awoken by Ada requesting them to come right away because Rockham had been shot. Verity is sure that her friend can’t be the guilty party, but the police seem to be heading in that direction. Verity can’t do anything else, so she starts to investigate on her own – well – with Sidney.

Not long after Ada comes to Verity, another friend, Irene Shaw, comes to Verity about the death of her half-sister. The police are treating her sister’s death as if it was the result of a robbery, but Irene doesn’t believe that because nothing was taken.

As Verity and Sidney investigate the two cases, they soon come to suspect they might be related – but how and who or what is the common denominator. Their investigations take them back to France and on to the Isle of Wight – and introduces a master manipulator who will probably be a villain in a few future books at least. I hope not too many because I really don’t like him and I want him gone.

The story is masterfully written and the research is impeccable. From the first page, the reader is drawn into that time and place and doesn’t leave until hours after the last page has been read. The story is so compelling that you feel those repressed emotions, the grief, the guilt that Sidney and the other survivors feel. You also feel Verity’s anxiety for Sidney when he constantly closes her out and won’t talk.

I can definitely recommend this well-written, well-researched story.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. ( )
  BarbaraRogers | Oct 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Huber offers a well-researched historical and a fascinating look at the lingering aftermath of war.
added by rretzler | editPublishers Weekly (pay site) (Aug 16, 2019)
 
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