Blink and you’ll miss the killer, who has to fight for attention with all the rest of the period mayhem.

LAST NOCTURNE

More skulduggery high and low knocks at the door of a pair of Victorian enquiry agents.

Prostitution has never guaranteed a long life, but a rash of poisonings has taken London working girls at distressingly young ages. A year and a half ago, 17-year-old Mabel Glossop was discovered in Cremorne Gardens with a copy of Moby-Dick. Now she’s joined by Clara Jenkins, only four years older, posed with a copy of The Fruits of Philosophy. But it’s the third victim who’s the most shocking: Lt. Anstruther Peebles, found dead in woman’s apparel even though no one in his regiment would have suspected him of turning tricks. All three victims, it turns out, were artists’ models, and so is Evangeline French, discovered with a copy of John Ruskin’s King of the Golden River. The Ruskin novel is of special interest to American-born painter James McNeill Whistler, who’s already hired his compatriot Matthew Grand and his English counterpart James Batchelor to conduct a thorough investigation of his enemy Ruskin. The stakes rise, and the case broadens, when Whistler’s Nocturne in Blue and Gold is one of several paintings vandalized as they hang in the Grosvenor Gallery, which, as Ruskin’s ex-wife, Effie Gray, assures Grand’s inamorata, Lady Caroline Wentworth, everyone knows is haunted. Series fans will know better than to expect all these threads to be tightly wound up. But Trow piles on the society gossip, celebrity cameos, and blood and thunder with the panache of a pastry chef concocting a mega-calorie dessert.

Blink and you’ll miss the killer, who has to fight for attention with all the rest of the period mayhem.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78029-130-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

A mystery overflowing with local color, holiday charm, appended recipes, and plans for themed parties.

TWISTED TEA CHRISTMAS

A week before Christmas, Charleston society is shocked by the murder of one of their own.

Tea shop owner Theodosia Browning and her sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian-themed party at the home of wealthy and beloved society doyenne Miss Drucilla when their client is murdered almost before their eyes, her rings stripped from her fingers, and a valuable Renoir stolen. Theodosia has plenty of experience with murder and a fairly good relationship with grouchy Detective Burt Tidwell. Even though he prefers that she stay out of his investigations, she can’t ignore the pleas of Miss Drucilla’s assistant to investigate and does some snooping between putting on several fabulous Christmas-themed tea parties. Most of Miss Drucilla’s money was earmarked for various charities jockeying for her attention. With her police officer boyfriend out of town, Theodosia finds herself unprotected when her sleuthing apparently attracts the killer’s attention, and she has some narrow escapes. With Drayton as her reluctant sidekick, she uses all her contacts to help dig up some motives. In the end her investigation literally goes to the dogs, who may be the most gifted sleuths of all.

A mystery overflowing with local color, holiday charm, appended recipes, and plans for themed parties.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20086-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more