Plenty of period detail and shoals of red herrings keep the story moving as the clever heroine seeks answers and a better...


A festive gathering of actors ends in disaster.

When Lord and Lady Ansley invite a group of theatrical types to Wychbourne Court to give a performance that will benefit charity, Lady Ansley, herself a former Gaiety Theatre star, fails to predict how much awkwardness will arise among several prima donnas who aren’t friends despite, or because of, their common interests. Growing ever more nervous, Lady Ansley counts on her chef, Nell Drury, a purveyor of magnificent meals and a fountain of strength, and Tobias St. John Rocke, a keeper of secrets and comforter to the theater tribe, to smooth things over. In an awkward moment, Lady Ansley lets slip the name of Mary Ann Darling, an actress she replaced but never met before the woman vanished and turned up dead several years later, presumably the victim of an unsolved murder. Invoking a shadow from the past only increases the squabbling among the guests, who are not all happy about the production’s being moved to the local inn and opened to the public. After the show, Lady Ansley discovers that she’s lost a valuable brooch. When Nell and Lord Ansley return to the inn to search for it, they discover the bloody body of Tobias dead near the village church. Sharp-eyed Nell can’t help but notice evidence being covered over by snow. Scotland Yard sends Inspector Alexander Melbray, whom Nell had helped before (Dancing with Death, 2017) and thought of as more than a passing acquaintance. So she’s especially put out by Melbray’s cold treatment of her. In between whipping up dinners for the guests, Nell finds time to comfort Lady Ansley and hunt for clues to Rocke’s murder. Although the police arrest a local man, Melbray’s clearly not satisfied until the answer to several connected murders is revealed by some shocking secrets from the past.

Plenty of period detail and shoals of red herrings keep the story moving as the clever heroine seeks answers and a better relationship with the handsome inspector.

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7278-8850-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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One of her best. Poirot, again on vacation, falls foul of a murder on board a Nile river steamer, followed by two successive murders, obviously connected. A sophisticated group, an ingenious plot, clever deduction, swift-paced narrative. A little romance on the side lends glamour. First rate entertainment.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 1938

ISBN: 0062073559

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1938

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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