Maxwell, who always puts an interesting spin on her country-house mysteries set between the great wars, delivers once again...

READ REVIEW

A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE

A marriage made to save a family’s fortunes comes to a quick and unfortunate end.

Lady Julia Renshaw knows she has to marry a wealthy man to keep up the family estate even though she’s in love with someone else. Her sister Phoebe urges her to back out of her engagement to wealthy Viscount Annondale, who wants to produce an heir with an aristocratic wife. But Julia insists that if she can provide an heir and inherit the estate, the family will be secure for life once her much older husband passes on. She tells Phoebe that unless she marries well, their younger brother, Fox, will be unable to maintain the estate and provide for them. Strangely, Annondale insists that the wedding reception be held on the yacht named for his first wife and docked at Cowes. After a catered meal, he quickly dismisses his guests except for those who will accompany the couple on their honeymoon cruise: his sister, Veronica Townsend; his best man, Sir Hugh Fitzallen; Mr. Mowbry, the wedding photographer; and Annondale’s cheeky secretary, Mildred Blair. When Julia arrives at her family’s hotel in the middle of the night with a badly cut hand and a story of Annondale’s accusing her of flirting with the photographer in front of the crew, her sisters and her loyal former maid, Eva, realize that the honeymoon has well and truly ended. Julia returns to the yacht to find Annondale missing. When his body washes up near the yacht club and blood is found on the railing, she’s arrested for his murder. Both Phoebe and Eva have experience in solving mysteries (A Devious Death, 2017, etc.), and since they know Julia’s innocent and the police aren’t looking for other suspects, they plan to use all their sleuthing skills to find out who else wanted Annondale dead.

Maxwell, who always puts an interesting spin on her country-house mysteries set between the great wars, delivers once again in this tale of love, hate, revenge, and country houses in peril.

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4967-1739-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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?

Child builds tension to unbearable extremes, then blows it out in sharply choreographed violence, even if his plot has more...

ECHO BURNING

From the Jack Reacher series , Vol. 5

Smashingly suspenseful fifth in Child’s series (Running Blind, 2000, etc.) lands this British author’s rootless, laconic action hero in southwest Texas, where a femme fatale lures him into a family squabble that inevitably turns violent.

In the kind of daylight-noir setting that Jim Thompson loved, ex-military cop Jack Reacher has his thumb out on a lonely west Texas highway when he’s picked up by Carmine Greer, the Mexican-American wife of bad-ol’-boy Sloop Greer. It seems that Sloop, elder son of a white-trash-turned-oil-rich ranching dynasty, is nearing the end of a prison term for tax evasion, and Carmine, whose body Reacher sees is marked with signs of physical abuse, wants Reacher to be her bodyguard—or, failing that, kill the man in such a way that Carmine can still hold on to her terminally cute six-year-old daughter Ellie. Reacher refuses but decides to meet the folks: Rusty, Sloop’s racist, charmless mother, and Bobby, Sloop’s stupid, pugnacious brother. Meanwhile, a trio of paid assassins is littering the Texas roadside with corpses, starting with Sloop’s lawyer, Al Eugene. In a set-piece as good as anything in Elmore Leonard, Bobby sends two ranch-hands to ambush Reacher at an Abilene roadhouse filled with 20 other cowboys spoiling for a fight. Reacher walks away without a scratch, telling Bobby that his hospitalized ranch-hands have “quit.” Child twists his increasingly hokey plot into a pretzel when Sloop is found dead and Carmine confesses to killing him. Reacher just can’t believe that Carmine is guilty and teams up with Alice Aarons, a leggy Jewish lesbian fresh out of law school, who trusts him with her car, her handgun, and her life.

Child builds tension to unbearable extremes, then blows it out in sharply choreographed violence, even if his plot has more holes in it than the shirt Reacher uses for target practice.

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-14726-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more