In her 20th mystery, George delivers just what she always has: storylines that take a long time to resolve and narratives...

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A BANQUET OF CONSEQUENCES

The courtly Inspector Lynley and rougher-edged Sgt. Havers meet again for another adventure in genteel mayhem.

Is anyone in England happy? Not to gauge by this latest yarn of George’s (Just One Evil Act, 2013, etc.), which ranges from the white cliffs of Dorset to the whiter districts of London. Young William Goldacre, on the face of it, is aptly named: he has a girlfriend who's affectionate, if “a pierced and tattooed creature” with an unusual-enough look to scare the country gentry, and he’s a wizard in the garden, “expert, visionary, artist, and laborer.” So why did Will sneak off and throw himself into the churning sea as if an extra in Quadrophenia? That’s a question for psychologists to ponder. If, that is, they have a minute to spare, for the self-help author caught up in events turns up dead, too, and those on whom suspicion falls have problems of their own: the author’s editor goes around with a PAD—a “psychological assistance dog,” that is—while Will’s mum, who’s bound up in all this mess, may or may not be a pathological liar with a murderous streak. Meanwhile, Inspector Lynley, who knows his way around a martini glass and the Tate, finds himself in conversations about just why Sgt. Havers never bothers to fix her hair. Caught up in the slough of despond, the assorted cast should barely have energy to commit crime and cover it up, much less solve the mischief. Yet they manage to pull themselves together and do that heavy lifting. Heaviness, too, figures into the tale, as does depression, madness, jealousy, and the ordinary misunderstandings—a trademark George scenario, that is, including apparent mishaps that have more sinister causes.

In her 20th mystery, George delivers just what she always has: storylines that take a long time to resolve and narratives that are a shade too long but that in the end are always satisfying.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-95433-0

Page Count: 736

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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