by Colleen Cambridge ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 26, 2023
Cambridge graciously declines to offer serious competition to the originality or ingenuity of her famous model.
A prewar-set homage to Agatha Christie’s A Murder Is Announced, with the famous author playing a mostly offstage role.
While she’s waiting for the delivery of the new vacuum cleaner Agatha and her husband, Max Mallowan, have ordered, Phyllida Bright, the housekeeper at Mallowan Hall, opens an invitation to neighboring Beecham House, where “A Murder will Occur / Tonight.” Since Agatha and Max are staying in London, they can’t attend the festivities, but Agatha encourages Phyllida, who by now has quite the reputation as an amateur sleuth, to go in her stead. So Phyllida’s on hand when aspiring theatrical producer Clifton Wokesley, who’s rented Beecham House, announces a Murder Game, lies down to assume the role of the victim, and then never gets up again. Beatrice Wokesley is much too distraught over her husband’s death to be an obvious suspect, but the same allowance can’t be made for any of the other Murder Game performers: divorcée Charity Forrte; Fitchler School headmaster Hubert Dudley-Gore; Beatrice’s ex-fiance, Sir Keller Yardley; and Georges Brixton, whom everyone else accuses of having killed their host. The delayed arrival of DI Cork gives Phyllida plenty of time to take a leading role in Constable Greensticks’ tedious interviews of the suspects and then adjourn to their bedrooms, which she thoroughly searches without authorization. After Brixton predictably removes himself from the suspect list by getting shot, it seems that anyone might be guilty—at least till Phyllida begins to make enough connections to finger the real culprit.Cambridge graciously declines to offer serious competition to the originality or ingenuity of her famous model.
Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023
Page Count: 304
Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023
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by Michael Connelly ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 7, 2023
The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.
Harry Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer team up to exonerate a woman who’s already served five years for killing her ex-husband.
The evidence against Lucinda Sanz was so overwhelming that she followed the advice of Frank Silver, the B-grade attorney who’d elbowed his way onto her defense, and pleaded no contest to manslaughter to avoid a life sentence for shooting Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Roberto Sanz in the back as he stalked out of her yard after their latest argument. But now that her son, Eric, is 13, old enough to get recruited by local gangs, she wants to be out of stir and at his side. So she writes to Mickey Haller, who asks his half-brother for help. After all his years working for the LAPD, Bosch is adamant about not working for a criminal defendant, even though Haller’s already taken him on as an associate so that he can get access to private health insurance and a UCLA medical trial for an experimental cancer treatment. But the habeas corpus hearing Haller’s aiming for isn’t, strictly speaking, a criminal defense proceeding, and even a cursory examination of the forensic evidence raises Bosch’s hackles. Bolstered by Bosch’s discoveries and a state-of-the-art digital reconstruction of the shooting, Haller heads to court to face Assistant Attorney General Hayden Morris, who has a few tricks up his own sleeve. The endlessly resourceful courtroom back-and-forth is furious in its intensity, although Haller eventually upstages Bosch, Morris, and everyone else in sight. What really stands out here, however, is that Connelly never lets you forget, from his title onward, the life-or-death issues behind every move in the game.The most richly accomplished of the brothers’ pairings to date—and given Connelly’s high standards, that’s saying a lot.
Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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