Robinson balances crime and romance, but her sharp heroine is the real prize.

FAREWELL BLUES

A dowager marchioness’s daughter does her best to get her mama out of the pokey in 1925 London.

Things look bleak for Constance, Lady Broughton. Not that her affair with Edmund Moreton, fifth Duke of Rufford, was in any way illegal, both participants being well of age and widowed to boot. But the Duke’s death in a suite at the Ritz definitely was a crime since he was shot with a pistol. And since the pistol was Lady Broughton’s and the lady herself was found standing next to the body in a bloodstained peignoir, it’s hard to fault the police for locking her up, title and all. Her daughters, Lady Adelaide Compton and Lady Cecelia Merrill, appeal to the court to grant their mother bail, to no avail. So while Cee weeps and frets, Lady Adelaide does the only thing she can think of to secure her mother’s release: She launches a full-scale investigation to unmask the real culprit. Her probe depends on an odd assortment of characters: Beckett, Addie’s cinema-fanatic maid; Stephen Moreton, the murdered Duke’s grandson, who wishes to marry a Black American cabaret singer; and Graf Franz von Mayr, the estranged Austrian husband of the late Duke’s daughter. But the pick of the litter is DI Devenand Hunter, who takes a leave of absence from his job at Scotland Yard to help Lady Adelaide clear her mother’s name. Dev is a catch not only from the sleuthing perspective; he’s also handsome, witty, and a good dancer. Adelaide’s first priority is her mother’s release, but the plucky sleuth can’t help enjoying the chance to get up close and personal with dashing Dev.

Robinson balances crime and romance, but her sharp heroine is the real prize.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4642-1519-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

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THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A satisfying, if predictable, thriller that will please fans of police procedurals.

THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE

When health care aide Bettina Holte is found drained of blood in Copenhagen’s oldest fountain, little does Investigator Jeppe Kørner know that he has a budding serial killer on his hands.

The very next day, another body is found, similarly drained. Under increasing pressure from his superintendent, Kørner quickly deduces that the murder weapon was a scarificator, a strange bloodletting device. He also learns that both victims once worked at Butterfly House, a short-lived residential home for teens with psychiatric illnesses. The home was closed after a young girl died by suicide and a social worker was found drowned. An expert at narrative sleight of hand, Engberg strews the investigational field with multiple suspects, each shadowy enough to maintain our suspicions. Perhaps Bo Ramsgaard, the teen's grieving father, is worth a closer look. Or perhaps one of the young people could hold a grudge against the staff, which included the ambitious psychiatrist Peter Demant and nurse Trine Bremen, who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Yet former patient Isak Brügger, diagnosed with schizophrenia, is still under nearly 24-hour surveillance at the Bispebjerg Hospital, as Simon Hartvig, his social worker, can attest. And former patient Marie Birch is now living in an insular countercultural community. Meanwhile, Kørner himself is conflicted about his relationship with Detective Sara Saidani: Is he ready to try again so soon after his divorce? And Kørner’s partner, Anette Werner, is on maternity leave but can’t resist getting involved as well. It’s her work that collides with Kørner’s for a dramatic final confrontation.

A satisfying, if predictable, thriller that will please fans of police procedurals.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982127-60-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scout Press/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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