Next book


Compassion and authenticity bolster the anemic suspense.

The fourth in a series (Birds of a Feather, 2004, etc.) of class-conscious World War II–era whodunits.

On a beastly cold winter day, London artist Nicholas Bassington-Hope is found dead in his gallery, where he had been erecting scaffolding for the mysterious pièce de résistance of his upcoming show. Scotland Yards rules Nick’s death an accident and closes the case. But his twin sister, Georgina, is convinced that there was foul play and hires psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs to look into the matter. Maisie spends the next several days acquainting herself with Nick’s high-brow family, his loyal friends, and the rich patrons who were interested in buying his work. She learns that Nick, while universally respected as a talented artist, also produced a body of evocative and even offensive work. Did his latest masterpiece, which he had kept hidden from even close family and friends, have the potential to shock and anger someone into murder? Other characters in his life are also suspicious. Nick’s older sister Nolly is a war widow who disapproved of his lifestyle and seems overly interested in his assets. His younger brother Harry is a derelict gambler who had gotten involved with the wrong crowd—one Scotland Yard is trailing far closer than Nick’s potential homicide. And even Georgina, a writer whom Maisie learns has been involved in a secret affair with Nick’s American patron—had recently been particularly competitive with her twin. As Maisie flits among the moneyed gentry of the Bassington-Hopes, she is all too aware of the growing chasm between their world and the rest of London. Her own assistant, Billy, can hardly pay for a doctor for his dying toddler, and his East End neighbors and relatives who came back from the war in France are largely jobless and homeless. Though the actual mystery is not as intricate Maisie’s previous adventures, Winspear makes up for it with careful, detailed treatment of the time period and its social issues.

Compassion and authenticity bolster the anemic suspense.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2006

ISBN: 0-8050-7898-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Next book


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

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Next book


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

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 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

Close Quickview