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Publisher's Summary

After her foray into murder investigation, Lady Kiera Darby 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 fellow investigator (and romantic entanglement) Sebastian Gage, and ultimately, another deadly mystery. Kiera's old friend Michael Dalmay is about to be married, but the arrival of his older brother, William, has thrown everything into chaos. For ten years Will has been missing, committed to an insane asylum by his own father. Kiera is sympathetic, especially when rumors swirl about a local girl gone missing. Now Kiera must once again employ her knowledge of the macabre and join forces with Gage in order to prove the innocence of a beloved family friend.

©2013 Anna Aycock (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"The mystery is well plotted, with many unique twists that stem from Lady Darby's unconventional role in life." ( RT Book Reviews)

Featured Article: The Best Audiobooks for Mystery Lovers and Hopeless Romantics


Both romantic stories and mysteries can cause your heart to beat a bit faster—so naturally, the two make a perfect match! Filled with tension and suspense, the audiobooks on this list will keep you guessing about both the mystery itself and when the lead will end up finding the person of their dreams. Whether you prefer contemporary novels or a bit of historical fiction thrown into the mix, here are the very best mystery romance listens to get your pulse racing.

What listeners say about Mortal Arts

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great second book to a (hopefully) ongoing series

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I was hesitant to start this series based on some negative reviews, but I finally broke down and got the first book. I was pleasantly surprised and have now read the first 3 books. All are good, solid entertaining books.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty good story line.

The story structure was pretty much a repeat of the 1st book in the series but the descriptions of the people & scenery were excellent.
I almost didn't get this book because I found the narration so bad in the 1st book. This one is only a little better. It is stiff & stilted & the tones & inflections don't match what is described in the story. It sounds as if the person is reading the story for the first time & is just reading the words sometimes pausing in the middle of a sentence & then realizing the statement goes on to the next line.
I would like to get the next book but I'm not sure I can listen to the narrator again.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Painful Narration and Steroidal Overexplanation

I'll start out by saying that I rarely agree with the narrator bashing that some people love to engage in BUT this narrator is SO tedious to me that I felt the need to warn others. Each sentence is begun and ended repeatedly without completing a thought as though there were 3 periods per sentence. I struggled through the narration in first book in the series because the story was worth it. In this book, I tortured myself again just to get to the last hour of the book - the only part that was worth the time. The main character's inner dialog makes me wonder if the author assumed her audience to be incapable of drawing the most obvious conclusions. I found myself saying "blah, blah, blah...get to the point" repeatedly. I really wanted to love this series and hoped that the narration would either improve or the narrator would be replaced. Given that neither seems to be the case I've read last Lady Darby adventure. This could have been a great story with half the word count.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Even better than the first

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
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 fellow investigator—and romantic entanglement—Sebastian Gage, and ultimately, another deadly mystery.

Kiera’s old friend Michael Dalmay is about to be married, but the arrival of his older brother—and Kiera’s childhood art tutor—William, has thrown everything into chaos. For ten years Will has been missing, committed to an insane asylum by his own father. Kiera is sympathetic to her mentor’s plight, especially when rumors swirl about a local girl gone missing. Now Kiera must once again employ her knowledge of the macabre and join forces with Gage in order to prove the innocence of a beloved family friend—and save the marriage of another…

MY TAKE
I liked this book even better than the first. It still had a creepy murder mystery to solve, but the history between Kiera and Gage already had its footing in the first book and their tantalizing relationship continues to grow.

We learn more about Kiera's icky and brutal first husband and also things about Gage and the public face he wears. I like him better because of it.

The ending is bittersweet, and my heart ached for Kiera. The storyline for this book has resolution, but she's not in a good place. As with the first book, this one ends with a teaser for the next.

4 1/2 stars

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Better than TV

Anna Lee Huber, surprisingly an American living in the South, writes mystery stories with interesting plots and well drawn characters. I much prefer listening to her novels while I work on crafts than watch television. I would recommend her books to readers who like series books and historical fiction. The narrator does a good job providing a low key performance that nicely reflects the complicated personalities of the characters.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story, so-so narration

I really like this series but I SO wish the author or her agent had selected a better narrator. There is a lot of first-person narration by Lady Darby and this is when the narrator is most annoying and monotonous. The dialog portions are not as bad since she does vary the voices.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

What a grind.

Started OK. As novel progressed the protagonists became more annoying. The male protagonist became more emotional and the female heroine became more arrogant and irrational. The last paragraph. read had them both competing in moronic reasoning. I quit.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

War Wounds, The Insane and The Evil

As Lady Kiera Darby is on the way to Edinburgh with her sister, brother-in-law and family, they receive a message from their aunt regarding the engagement and upcoming marriage of their cousin to an old friend of the family. Stopping along the way to visit and see what assistance is needed, Philip agrees to meet with his aunt, Lady Hollingworth and cousin, Caroline at the home of her fiancé, Michael Dalmay. Thinking the issue is one of semantics and that Michael’s older brother, William who fought in the war has been missing for the last ten years and by all rights is the one who should now carry the title of Lord Dalmay, since their father had passed away, Philip believes that Michael might decide to have William declared dead. But not long after their arrival, it becomes clear that William is very much alive . . . and living at the family home, although he is not mentally stable, after being institutionalized, forcibly committed for the last ten years by their father. With his wife expecting their fourth child and not doing well, Philip feels compelled to continue on to Edinburgh, while Lady Darby stays behind, to assist investigator, Sebastian Gage in getting to the bottom of the cloud of suspicion surrounding William Dalmay. Is he truly a danger to himself and others? Does Philip’s Aunt, Lady Hollingworth have good reason to ask Caroline to call off the engagement? And is William connected with the local young woman who has gone missing? The second book in the Lady Darby series is just as good as the first and keeps you guessing as Kiera and Gage investigate the history of the mental asylum and the doctor that held William Dalmay captive for a decade. Lady Darby once again makes good use of her skills of anatomy and forensics, which were forced upon her by her late husband, as he dissected corpses, in preparation for the publication of his book. I was glad to hear Gage give up some of the details of his own past, as he and Kiera get closer in their relationship. Great atmospheric and historic details. Excellent resolution to the story. Looking forward to the next in the series . . .

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Overall good read and audiobook

I enjoyed both the narrator and the characters. This is the second book in the series of Lady Derby. I enjoyed both the touch of mystery and the historical accuracy of the period. I also like the fact that it did not contain foul language or excessive sexual scenes. It was a really good audiobook to listen to and very refreshing. I will continue to listen to the rest of the series and hope to find more books like these!!

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it!

I loved the story AND the narrator! It is nice to be able to listen to a book from this era while I work in the kitchen without being concerned about inappropriate language and content.

1 person found this helpful