A decidedly mixed bag, not unlike love itself.



Fifteen reprinted stories, most of them originally published between 1923 and 1933, for those who think the doyenne of golden-age detective fiction had no time for love.

Fans of Christie’s novel-length puzzlers won’t be surprised to learn that love doesn’t conquer all. In “Death by Drowning,” Miss Jane Marple announces Rose Emmott, unmarried and pregnant, has been murdered, and she knows by whom. A pair of lovers confess separately to killing the woman’s husband in the Harley Quin mystery “The Love Detectives.” Hercule Poirot intervenes in a lovers’ triangle only just in time to prevent murder in “Wasps’ Nest,” as does Quin’s friend Mr. Satterthwaite in “The Face of Helen.” Soon after asking the vacationing Mr. Parker Pyne to determine whether she’s being poisoned in “Death on the Nile,” the importunate Lady Grayle is dead. Tommy and Tuppence do their best to compete with the Father Brown franchise in “The Man in the Mist.” It would be a stretch to call most of these love stories, and amateur sleuths would have to look even more closely to find the romance in “Fruitful Sunday,” in which a jeweled necklace appears in a just-purchased bowl of fruit, or “The Case of the Caretaker,” in which Miss Marple’s physician gives her a mysterious story to read and solve. But love plays a more central role in the lesser tales “The Case of the Rich Woman” (a client of Mr. Parker Pyne’s who is seeking happiness finds it through an unexpected romance) and “Magnolia Blossom” (a straying wife is torn between loyalty to her husband and the creditor she loves), and in the best of the bunch, “The King of Clubs,” Poirot deftly uncovers the truth about a lothario who deserved exactly what happened to him. The collection is capped by Christie’s reminiscences of two abortive romances of her own.

A decidedly mixed bag, not unlike love itself.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-314234-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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A smart summer escape.


Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon novel is a bit of a throwback—in the best possible way.

One-time assassin and legendary spymaster Gabriel Allon has finally retired. After saying farewell to his friends and colleagues in Israel, he moves with his wife, Chiara, and their two young children to a piano nobile overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. His plan is to return to the workshop where he learned to restore paintings as an employee—but only after he spends several weeks recovering from the bullet wound that left him dead for several minutes in The Cellist (2021). Of course, no one expects Gabriel to entirely withdraw from the field, and, sure enough, a call from his friend and occasional asset Julian Isherwood sends him racing around the globe on the trail of art forgers who are willing to kill to protect their extremely lucrative enterprise. Silva provides plenty of thrills and, as usual, offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the outrageously wealthy. In the early books in this series, it was Gabriel’s work as an art restorer that set him apart from other action heroes, and his return to that world is the most rewarding part of this installment. It is true that, at this point in his storied career, Gabriel has become a nearly mythic figure. And Silva is counting on a lot of love—and willing suspension of disbelief—when Gabriel whips up four old master canvases that fool the world’s leading art experts as a lure for the syndicate selling fake paintings. That said, as Silva explains in an author’s note, the art market is rife with secrecy, subterfuge, and wishful thinking, in no small part because it is almost entirely unregulated. And, if anyone can crank out a Titian, a Tintoretto, a Gentileschi, and a Veronese in a matter of days, it’s Gabriel Allon. The author’s longtime fans may breathe a sigh of relief that this entry is relatively free of politics and the pandemic is nowhere in sight.

A smart summer escape.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-283485-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: today

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A rarity: a police procedural more deeply invested in the victims than either the killer or the police.


June 2061 is a perilous time for women in a downtown Manhattan neighborhood who happen to resemble a violent kidnapper’s mother.

The killer doesn’t seem to be trying to hide anything except his own identity. Ten days after snatching bartender Lauren Elder from the street as she walked home, he leaves her body, carefully dressed and made up, with even the gash in her throat meticulously stitched up and beribboned, where it’s sure to be found quickly, along with the chilling label “bad mommy.” When Lt. Eve Dallas and Detective Delia Peabody realize that Anna Hobe, a server at a nearby karaoke bar who disappeared a week ago under similar circumstances, was probably another victim of the same perp, the clock begins ticking down even before they learn that assistant marketing manager Mary Kate Covino has gone missing as well. Dallas, Peabody, and the helpers who’ve made Robb’s long-lived franchise even more distinctive than its futuristic setting race to find the women or identify their kidnapper before he reverts once again to the 5-year-old abandoned by his mother many years ago. The emphasis this time is on investigative procedure, forensics (beginning with the Party Girl perfume and the Toot Sweet moisturizer the murderer uses on the corpses of his victims), and the broader danger women in every generation face from men who just can’t grow up.

A rarity: a police procedural more deeply invested in the victims than either the killer or the police.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7821-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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