A revealing look at the pottery business melds nicely with a classic 1920s-style mystery.

A SINISTER SERVICE

An aristocrat and her maid get involved in yet another murder mystery in the aftermath of World War I.

Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her siblings, Julia, Amelia, and Fox, have come to the Crown Lily pottery to commission a new set of china for their grandparents’ anniversary, and they're greeted by owner Jeffrey Tremaine and head designer Ronald Mercer. During their tour of the factory, 15-year-old Fox runs into his schoolmate Trent Mercer, who’d vanished from Eton. It turns out his father forced him to come home and learn the pottery business. Although they’re staying at nearby Lyndale Park, the estate that had belonged to pregnant Julia’s recently deceased husband, Phoebe, Amelia, and Fox aren’t welcomed by their sister's in-laws, who are unhappy about the prospect of Julia’s unborn child's inheriting the estate they’d had hopes of sharing. At Crown Lily, both Phoebe and her devoted maid, Eva Huntford, pick up undercurrents of dislike among several people, including the head designer, a younger colleague whose design the Renshaws favor, and the woman who runs the painting department, whose considerable talents have been overlooked because of her sex. Still, when the elder Mercer is found mangled by machinery, the police seize on Trent as the killer. Phoebe and Eva are no strangers to murder, and all the Renshaws believe Trent is innocent and aim to help prove it. Phoebe and Eva put themselves in danger asking questions someone doesn’t want answered.

A revealing look at the pottery business melds nicely with a classic 1920s-style mystery.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4967-1745-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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A rousing legal thriller that’s also an acute study of female victimization and male privilege.

THE STOLEN HOURS

A law clerk still battling demons from her past must rise to dizzying heights in preparing a case against a serial sex killer.

Lila Nash has never truly recovered from her rape when she was 18. She’s cut herself, tried to kill herself, spent years in therapy, powered her way through law school, and landed a plum entry-level job with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office despite the fact that Frank Dovey, the new prosecutor, has hated Lila ever since she and her law school mentor, professor Boady Sanden, embarrassed him in court. Now Andi Fitch, the aggressive prosecutor to whom Dovey has assigned Lila as an assistant in the serene confidence that she’ll fail, presses her to make the case against wedding photographer Gavin Spencer, who’s accused of assaulting and nearly killing bridesmaid Sadie Vauk. Spencer, a serial predator who plans and executes his murderous assaults meticulously and has a special gift for seeing around curves and destroying the evidence that might incriminate him, is a ruthless antagonist. As Eskens demonstrates, however, he’s cut from the same cloth as Frank Dovey, whose bloodless campaign against Lila is every bit as unscrupulous. Even readers who predict the tale’s biggest twist before it arrives will still have the breath knocked out of them by the surprises that follow. And they’ll all cheer when fragile Lila finally gains the strength to stand up to the oppressors in her life and wrestle it back from them.

A rousing legal thriller that’s also an acute study of female victimization and male privilege.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-31670-349-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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

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