Duncan’s decision to combine the talents of Daisy (Spirits Revived, 2014, etc.) and Mercy (Fallen Angels, 2011, etc.)...



A Boston Brahmin–turned–woman of the people helps solve a murder.

Mercy Allcutt left Boston to get away from her stiff, wealthy, ultracritical parents. Thanks to an inheritance, she lives comfortably in Los Angeles, where she works as a secretary for private eye Ernie Templeton. Her parents have purchased a mansion in Pasadena and ordered Mercy and her sister, Chloe, who’s married to movie mogul Harvey Mann, to come for Thanksgiving week. Mercy takes her toy poodle Buttercup, sure to annoy her mother, who dislikes dogs. A séance her mother has arranged with Daisy Majesty is attended by Mercy, Chloe, and several neighbors: the Pinkertons, Mrs. Bissel, and movie costumier Harold Kincaid. Just as they exit the séance room with perfect alibis, another guest, Mrs. Winkworth, plunges to her death from the staircase. It quickly becomes obvious that the tiny lady could not have accidentally fallen over the high railing, and everyone agrees that she was too self-centered and nasty to kill herself, so it must be murder. Daisy calls her fiance, Sam Rotondo, a detective on the Pasadena force; Mercy’s parents insist that she call her boss to come solve the crime. Several other people are less lucky in their alibis: Mrs. Winkworth’s unhappy secretary; party-crashing movie star Lola de la Monica; Harvey Mann, who has just told Lola that her contract won’t be renewed; and the Allcutts’ Japanese houseboy, who were all upstairs. Even Mrs. Winkworth’s daughter and grandson loathe her. Daisy gets to hear most of the interviews when she takes notes for Ernie. Fancying herself a detective, she discovers several clues even as she makes herself a target.

Duncan’s decision to combine the talents of Daisy (Spirits Revived, 2014, etc.) and Mercy (Fallen Angels, 2011, etc.) doesn’t strengthen the mystery, but the period details are charming.

Pub Date: May 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4328-3056-4

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Five Star/Gale Cengage

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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?

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.


Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet