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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Combines disarming sensitivity to the nuances of the tangled relations among the characters with sledgehammer plotting.

FALSE WITNESS

A master of the no-holds-barred law enforcement thriller turns to legal intrigue, with shattering results.

A week before he’s to stand trial for the aggravated assault and rape of DataTel district manager Tammy Karlsen, car-dealership scion Andrew Tenant fires his lawyer and asks for a new one: Leigh Collier, a rising star at an Atlanta white-shoe firm. Originally baffled by the request, Leigh quickly realizes that her new client has a special reason to have asked for her: He’s recognized her from a magazine photo as the older sister of Callie, the babysitter who killed his father, Buddy Waleski, when his latest pedophile assault on her turned violent 23 years ago. In fact, the truth is even darker than that. Leigh was an active participant in the killing. Now she's determined to do everything she can to torpedo the defense she's preparing for Andrew, who’s accused of stabbing Tammy Karlsen in exactly the way Callie stabbed his father, while persuading both her client and her watchful senior partner that she’s doing her utmost to represent him. As she learns more and more particulars about the case and her client, Leigh realizes that her plan doesn’t go nearly far enough. Andrew is guilty of this assault and others, but he doesn’t just want her to get him off: He plans to blackmail her into complying with a potentially endless series of demands. How can she strike back at a monster who holds all the cards? Only by tapping into the depthless power of sisterhood with Callie, who’s descended into addiction but still loves Leigh with a ferocity that makes the pair of them as dangerous as the man who’s targeted them.

Combines disarming sensitivity to the nuances of the tangled relations among the characters with sledgehammer plotting.

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-285809-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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