In kicking off her Living History Museum series, Flower (Maid of Murder, 2010, etc.) combines a plethora of suspects, a...

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THE FINAL REVEILLE

A living history museum teeters on the brink of extinction.

Kelsey Cambridge, director of Barton Farm, is just about to pull off the biggest coup of her tenure: a long weekend of Civil War re-enactments capped by a ball. Cynthia Cherry’s foundation has long supported the museum. So Kelsey is shocked when Cynthia’s unlikable nephew, Maxwell, takes her aside and informs her that his aunt’s health is failing, that he’ll be running the foundation, and that Barton Farm will need to look elsewhere for money. During a tour Kelsey gives Cynthia, Maxwell, and his new fiancee, Portia Bitner, Maxwell, who’s highly allergic, is disturbed by bees in the brick-making pit, and Portia comes face to face with Sgt. Wesley Mayes, whom she’d recently dumped for the wealthy Maxwell. When Maxwell is found dead in the brick pit, Kelsey becomes better acquainted with paramedic Chase Wyatt, the handsome nephew of the police chief (and part-time Confederate general), who indulges his uncle by taking part in an occasional re-enactment. Once it’s discovered that Maxwell died from an overdose of insulin, Kelsey, whose father is diabetic, becomes the favored suspect. Chase wants to help prove her innocence, but Kelsey has had trust issues ever since she divorced her cheating husband, her beloved son’s father, who’s just announced he is getting remarried. Juggling all the problems that come with the crowds at the museum and sleuthing at the same time is very stressful, but it’s not as bad as being attacked by a killer who thinks Kelsey is getting too close.

In kicking off her Living History Museum series, Flower (Maid of Murder, 2010, etc.) combines a plethora of suspects, a soupçon of history, and a dash of romance.

Pub Date: May 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4473-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Midnight Ink/Llewellyn

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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

THINGS IN JARS

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

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