A caper-filled romp in the Riviera sure to delight expats and mystery lovers alike.

A NICE CUP OF TEA

Charming restaurant La Mosaïque is in dire financial straits, but when its owners try to auction off some artwork, they set off a chain of events that may spell utter ruin.

In this, Imrie’s third novel about five Londoners who have retired to the South of France (Nice Work (If You Can Get It), 2016, etc.), pooled their resources and talents, and opened a chic restaurant, hilarity mixes with rather serious troubles. Of course, the Brexit referendum and the terrorist attacks of July 14, 2016, have economically devastated the businesses of Bellevue-sur-Mer. The friends’ plan to sell the Picasso mosaic medallion embedded in the floor of their restaurant, however, inadvertently draws the attention of the Picasso estate, which not only bans the sale, but also presents a bill for administrative costs of recovering the priceless art. Luckily, Marcel, the owner of a neighboring bar, may be interested in buying them out if he can have their financial books for a few days. Yet the five friends face personal troubles, as well. Sally, a former actress, is beset by the unwelcome attentions of a horrible couple she once shared the stage with—and Phoo and Eggy Markham are eager to take every opportunity to remind Sally what a failure she was. Chef Theresa has begun receiving strange gifts, photos and phone calls, suggesting she may have a stalker. Even worse, Theresa’s granddaughter, Chloe, has gone missing and may be traveling to France in the company of a pedophile. From marijuana-laced brownies to slapstick boat chases, Imrie capitalizes on her background in comedic acting, creating scene after scene rife with screwball comedy. And as the multiple mysteries collide—besides the stalker and kidnapping, there's the question of who is sabotaging the restaurant’s online reviews—Imrie nimbly ratchets up the excitement.

A caper-filled romp in the Riviera sure to delight expats and mystery lovers alike.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63557-355-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...

BADLANDS

Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.

Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-58321-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

more