One last testament to the importance of community in maintaining the values that make America great, or at least human.

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Gregor Demarkian’s last case.

Marta Warkowski has lived all her 72 years in a three-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia's Alder Arms despite the best efforts of Miguel Hernandez, the building’s super, to cajole her to leave or evict her. She knows all the dodges: Bring your rent check directly to Cary Alder’s office; make sure to get a receipt every month; and don’t let the bastards think they can get away with bullying you. About the only thing that will get her to move is death. Even when her body, stuffed into a plastic garbage bag, is tossed from a van onto the street, she’s not quite dead, only comatose. It’s Hernandez who’s dead, lying on the floor of her coveted apartment. Father Tibor Kasparian and 14-year-old Tommy Moradanyan, who are on the scene, are already preoccupied with their own problems, which range from the imprisonment of Tommy’s father, attorney Russ Donahue, to Tibor’s recent placement of Javier, an abandoned child, in foster care. Since Russ Donahue’s crimes include shooting Gregor Demarkian, who’s also agreed with his wife, Bennis Hannaford, to take in Javier, it’s only natural that the Philadelphia Police Department comes calling on Gregor for help. This time, though, the interest in the Armenian American Poirot’s sleuthing is outpaced by Haddam’s exposition of an all-too-plausibly widespread plot to smuggle undocumented people into the country and exploit them in every possible way. The result is a fitting sunset vehicle for Haddam, a pseudonym for Orania Papazoglou, who died in 2019 and is memorialized in a brief, glowing afterword.

One last testament to the importance of community in maintaining the values that make America great, or at least human.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-25-077049-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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The most over-the-top of Horowitz’s frantically overplotted whodunits to date—and that’s no mean feat.

MOONFLOWER MURDERS

Susan Ryeland, the book editor who retired to Crete after solving the mind-boggling mysteries of Magpie Murders (2017), is enticed to England to try her hand at another Chinese box of a case.

Eight years ago, the wedding weekend of Cecily Treherne and Aiden MacNeil at Branlow Hall, the high-end Suffolk hotel the bride’s parents owned, was ruined by the murder of Frank Parris, a hotel guest and advertising man who just happened to be passing through. Romanian-born maintenance man Stefan Codrescu was promptly convicted of the crime and has been in prison ever since. But Cecily’s recent disappearance shortly after having told her parents she’d become certain Stefan was innocent drives Lawrence and Pauline Treherne to find Susan in Crete, where they offer her 10,000 pounds to solve the mystery again and better. Susan’s the perfect candidate because she worked closely with late author Alan Conway, whose third novel, Atticus Pünd Takes the Case, contained the unspecified evidence that convinced Cecily that Detective Superintendent Richard Locke, now DCS Locke, had made a mistake. Checking into Branlow Hall and interviewing Cecily’s hostile sister, Lisa, and several hotel staffers who were on the scene eight years ago tells Susan all too little. So she turns to Atticus Pünd Takes the Case, whose unabridged reproduction occupies the middle third of Horowitz’s novel, and finds that it offers all too much in the way of possible clues, red herrings, analogies, anagrams, and easter eggs. The novel within a novel is so extensive and absorbing on its own, in fact, that all but the brainiest armchair detectives are likely to find it a serious distraction from the mystery to which it’s supposed to offer the key.

The most over-the-top of Horowitz’s frantically overplotted whodunits to date—and that’s no mean feat.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06295-545-6

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Slow moving and richly layered.

THE SEARCHER

A retired cop takes one last case in this stand-alone novel from the creator of the Dublin Murder Squad.

Originally from North Carolina, Cal Hooper has spent the last 30 years in Chicago. “A small place. A small town in a small country”: That’s what he’s searching for when he moves to the West of Ireland. His daughter is grown, his wife has left him, so Cal is on his own—until a kid named Trey starts hanging around. Trey’s brother is missing. Everyone believes that Brendan has run off just like his father did, but Trey thinks there’s more to the story than just another young man leaving his family behind in search of money and excitement in the city. Trey wants the police detective who just emigrated from America to find out what’s really happened to Brendan. French is deploying a well-worn trope here—in fact, she’s deploying a few. Cal is a new arrival to an insular community, and he’s about to discover that he didn’t leave crime and violence behind when he left the big city. Cal is a complex enough character, though, and it turns out that the mystery he’s trying to solve is less shocking than what he ultimately discovers. French's latest is neither fast-paced nor action-packed, and it has as much to do with Cal’s inner life as it does with finding Brendan. Much of what mystery readers are looking for in terms of action is squeezed into the last third of the novel, and the morally ambiguous ending may be unsatisfying for some. But French’s fans have surely come to expect imperfect allegiance to genre conventions, and the author does, ultimately, deliver plenty of twists, shocking revelations, and truly chilling moments.

Slow moving and richly layered.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-73-522465-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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