Walsh’s (The Attenbury Emeralds, 2011, etc.) respectful attempt to keep the franchise going will invite the scrutiny of...

THE LATE SCHOLAR

Intrigue and murder in academe lead to further adventures for aristocratic sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, the once-carefree second son now approaching senior citizenship.

Ever since a fire killed his older brother and damaged Bredon Hall, the seat of the Duke of Denver, Peter has taken his duties more seriously. Now he’s surprised to find that along with the title comes the office of Visitor to St. Severin’s College at Oxford. Peter took his degree at Oxford, as did his duchess, the former Harriet Vane, and she supports his obligation to the dreaming spires. When they arrive, they find St. Severin’s fellows deadlocked in a vote that only the Visitor can resolve. The wrangle centers on a medieval manuscript; half the fellows want to keep it, and half want to sell in exchange for much-needed land on the edge of town. In the meantime, the warden of the college has left abruptly without so much as a toothbrush, and no one has seen him for three months. Two fellows have suffered incidents that echo Harriet’s detective novels, which she based on her husband’s cases, and another fellow has taken a fatal tumble down stairs. It’s the first in a series of murders or attempted murders connected to an unfavorable anonymous book review, a suicide, a frightened widow and a case of blackmail. Addressing all these issues and saving St. Severin’s takes patience and diligence for Peter and Harriet—and for readers who may fidget over the leisurely pace and the insulated academic setting in post–WWII Britain.

Walsh’s (The Attenbury Emeralds, 2011, etc.) respectful attempt to keep the franchise going will invite the scrutiny of Wimsey purists, and newcomers may find the Duke affected. Even so, many fans will eagerly welcome back their beloved sleuth and enjoy seeing Harriet hold her own in a thoughtfully constructed mystery.

Pub Date: June 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-250-03279-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

more