So Bumble BFF is going...semi okay. At first, I swiped right (or "yes") on anyone breathing. I didn't get a lot of responses right away...except from the people who had filled out their profiles. So then I decided to just swipe right on potential gal pals who had filled in their profiles. Except if their entire profile was 420 themed. Like, that's fine, you do you...but I'm going to want to talk about if Armie Hammer is a cannibal...not your favorite strand of weed. I'm not being a straight laced person here...everything was weed related. I have a friend who thinks these are dealer profiles. That would make sense, because it was a very specific type of call out.
Today, one of the not-filled out profile gals matched with me, so I checked out her profile. The only thing listed was her job and that she wanted to meet people. So I wrote to ask how she was doing and what her job was like. She wrote back that it was an odd question and then "fine." No further comments. Am I supposed to continue this conversation(?) and how was that an odd question? It was all I had to go on! Like, I have stuff to do and there's nothing on my list saying "bully someone into talking to me." Obviously, filled out profiles are the way to go. Everyone else wants to talk about if Armie's weird ass tendencies with me.
Let's just move on. Otherwise, I'll write a whole blog post about weird men with money and their odd requests in bed (yes, I'm still talking about Armie). I bought this book as it fits some of my checklist for this subgenre I'm quite interested in. It's set in the time period of 1900-1940 (this one is set in 1919) and is a mystery that's not too cozy. I've been having quite a few misses in this category so I had middling hopes for this book, but I think it's much better than I was expecting.
Gosh, I'm glad I don't sell books. I did not give this one a good introduction. This was a pretty good book with shades of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (we're not doing any title but that one). It was a fairly intricate mystery with an absolute twist ending.
Title: This Side of Murder (Verity Kent #1)
Author: Anna Lee Huber
Page Number: 289 pages (paperback)
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Historical Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Kensington Books Publisher
England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.
Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception . . .
Once the group lands on the island, they make their way to the house. The island is fairly desolate and cut off from the mainland. There are also very few people on it, other than staff. Parts of the abandoned island are part of the story, but in the beginning the atmosphere is quite gothic. This is where the rest of the party is introduced, Posonby's fiancée Helen Crawford. Helen's two friends Elsie and Gladys. The last two people are Nellie's other cousin Mabel and her fiancé Sam Gerard.
Verity discovers a coded book in her room and hopes that if she can decode it, she'll be able to uncover who is accusing her late husband and solve this whole tangle. The actual murders begin on the island, the men of the 30th are being targeted one by one. There are many suspects as the why is mysterious (although they all seem to be hiding something). Max and Verity team up for a bit to try and work out what's happening because Max is apart of the 30th but also detached as he wasn't with them for the last part of their tour.
To amp up the tension, a storm arrives and cuts the island off completely. So everyone is trapped on an island with a deranged killer. Very much shades of And Then There Were None.
I didn't find the writing totally dry/flat (a personal pet peeve) but I did find it dehydrated. I don't know exactly how to describe the writing, it didn't totally lack emotions. It was just very measured and plodding. Considering the fact that all these men are being murdered, everyone is far too calm. The other issue I had was with the plot twist [HUGE SPOILER]: Verity's husband is alive, and is the one sending her the letter. They rekindle their marriage and he hopes to clear his name through this house party. I hated it. HATED it. I would not be so forgiving of a man who made zero contact and let me grieve. What a jerk. Not to worry for Sidney, Verity immediately forgives him. Also, I was keen on Verity and Max getting together. Apparently, Sidney continues on in the series so I probably won't unless I can get over it but ugh. What I did like, the honest talk about PTSD (or shell shock), amputations/injuries that were common from war, and the big flu scare of the time. It's all quite true and is usually glossed over. Huber did a great job in her research here.
Overall, this was a nice book. Hopefully I can get over the plot twist and maybe continue on. We shall see.
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