An amusing combination of Regency mores, romantic aspirations, and a clever mystery makes this one of Lloyd’s best.

DEATH COMES TO BATH

The healing qualities of Bath’s famous waters are no match for murder.

Sir Robert Kurland was wounded at the battle of Waterloo. When his friend Patrick Fletcher, a former army surgeon, is forced to reopen an infected wound, he suggests that a visit to Bath to soak in the waters will greatly aid his recovery. So Robert’s wife, Lucy, arranges to hire a house, and they proceed there accompanied by Lucy’s beautiful sister, Anna, and Dr. Fletcher and his heavily pregnant wife, Penelope. Their new next-door neighbor, Sir William Benson, a plainspoken Yorkshireman who made his brass in trade, reminds Robert of his own grandfather, a mine owner. To his surprise, Robert finds that the baths are actually helping him. And he enjoys Sir William’s company. As the two families become better acquainted, Lucy gets to know Sir William’s second wife, a much younger woman of great beauty and a dramatic disposition with two sons from a former marriage who don’t get on with Sir William’s three older sons. Arriving at the baths one day, Robert finds Sir William dead, possibly drowned after a heart attack. Then Dr. Fletcher discovers that a wound was the cause of death. The family is in turmoil when Sir William’s latest will cannot be found, and Robert and Lucy, no strangers to murder (Death Comes to the School, 2017, etc.), decide to lend a hand. The likeliest suspects are members of Sir William’s family. His stepsons despised him; his own sons have problems that had greatly annoyed their father; and his wife finds little reason to regret his passing. The next to die is Sir William’s valet, perhaps killed by one of the stepsons searching for the will. Robert and Lucy both have their sources and talents for finding clues, but the family’s litany of lies makes it hard to unearth the truth.

An amusing combination of Regency mores, romantic aspirations, and a clever mystery makes this one of Lloyd’s best.

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4967-0212-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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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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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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