An engaging, suspenseful novel that combines an intriguing murder mystery with heaps of historical information.

Exquisite Folly

A riveting mystery set in New York City in 1765 on the eve of the Stamp Act.

Thomas Dordrecht, a young, aspiring businessman, returns home to New York after a two-year journey through Europe. He almost immediately bumps into old friend Marinus Willett, who talks about the impending Stamp Act enactment, which would tax Colonial residents for any piece of printed paper they use, and the unrest it has caused. Willett also tells him about a group of anti-Royalists, including himself, who have banded together under the name “the Sons of Liberty” in order to dispute the tax. As Willett and other Sons of Liberty attempt to convince Dordrecht to join their ranks, he’s also trying to find steady employment. Just as he lands himself what he believes to be a lucrative, if short-term, shipping gig, a young woman, Theodora Colegrove, approaches him and offers to hire him to help her solve the mystery of the recent murder of her 18-year-old stepmother, Artemis Colegrove, found stabbed to death near a handwritten note featuring the slogan of the Sons of Liberty. Because he has some experience solving mysteries, Dordrecht accepts the job and delves into the fascinating, sometimes off-putting, and quite chaotic world of the wealthy, prominent Colegrove family. He also witnesses the mounting tensions between those who support the British government and those who resent it. Carriel’s (If Two Are Dead, 2012, etc.) novel delivers a suspenseful mystery with plenty of twists and turns to keep readers engaged until the truth about the murder is revealed. It has a bounty of vivid characters, from Calpurnia, the Colegroves’ slave, to Dordrecht himself, who’s at the center of this and other, previous historical mysteries. Finally, Carriel does an excellent job of using old-fashioned language to paint a colorful picture of Colonial life during the 18th century. For example, when Dordrecht’s older cousin Charles comments on his still being unmarried, Dordrecht thinks, “Be damned if I need yet another relative interfering in my private affairs! My mother, sisters, aunts—all have been writing in a panic to see me married and encumbered with children….And now this libertine capon—how I wish he’d at least get a new wig!”

An engaging, suspenseful novel that combines an intriguing murder mystery with heaps of historical information.

Pub Date: May 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4917-6482-4

Page Count: 316

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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Perhaps too much ingenuity for its own good. But except for Jeffery Deaver and Sophie Hannah, no one currently working the...

THE SENTENCE IS DEATH

Fired Scotland Yard detective Daniel Hawthorne bursts onto the scene of his unwilling collaborator and amanuensis, screenwriter/novelist Anthony, who seems to share all Horowitz’s (Forever and a Day, 2018, etc.) credentials, to tell him that the game’s afoot again.

The victim whose death requires Hawthorne’s attention this time is divorce attorney Richard Pryce, bashed to death in the comfort of his home with a wine bottle. The pricey vintage was a gift from Pryce’s client, well-to-do property developer Adrian Lockwood, on the occasion of his divorce from noted author Akira Anno, who reportedly celebrated in a restaurant only a few days ago by pouring a glass of wine over the head of her husband’s lawyer. Clearly she’s too good a suspect to be true, and she’s soon dislodged from the top spot by the news that Gregory Taylor, who’d long ago survived a cave-exploring accident together with Pryce that left their schoolmate Charles Richardson dead, has been struck and killed by a train at King’s Cross Station. What’s the significance of the number “182” painted on the crime scene’s wall and of the words (“What are you doing here? It’s a bit late”) with which Pryce greeted his murderer? The frustrated narrator (The Word Is Murder, 2018) can barely muster the energy to reflect on these clues because he’s so preoccupied with fending off the rudeness of Hawthorne, who pulls a long face if his sidekick says boo to the suspects they interview, and the more-than-rudeness of the Met’s DI Cara Grunshaw, who threatens Hawthorne with grievous bodily harm if he doesn’t pass on every scrap of intelligence he digs up. Readers are warned that the narrator’s fondest hope—“I like to be in control of my books”—will be trampled and that the Sherlock-ian solution he laboriously works out is only the first of many.

Perhaps too much ingenuity for its own good. But except for Jeffery Deaver and Sophie Hannah, no one currently working the field has anywhere near this much ingenuity to burn.

Pub Date: May 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-267683-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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An undisciplined but powerfully lacerating story, by an author who knows every block of the neighborhood and every hair on...

MYSTIC RIVER

After five adventures for Boston shamus Patrick Kenzie and his off-again lover Angela Gennaro (Prayers for Rain, 1999, etc.), Lehane tries his hand at a crossover novel that’s as dark as any of Patrick’s cases.

Even the 1975 prologue is bleak. Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus are playing, or fighting, outside Sean’s parents’ house in the Point neighborhood of East Buckingham when a car pulls up, one of the two men inside flashes a badge, and Sean and Jimmy’s friend Dave Boyle gets bundled inside, allegedly to be driven home to his mother for a scolding but actually to get kidnapped. Though Dave escapes after a few days, he never really outlives his ordeal, and 25 years later it’s Jimmy’s turn to join him in hell when his daughter Katie is shot and beaten to death in the wilds of Pen Park, and State Trooper Sean, just returned from suspension, gets assigned to the case. Sean knows that both Dave and Jimmy have been in more than their share of trouble in the past. And he’s got an especially close eye on Jimmy, whose marriage brought him close to the aptly named Savage family and who’s done hard time for robbery. It would be just like Jimmy, Sean knows, to ignore his friend’s official efforts and go after the killer himself. But Sean would be a lot more worried if he knew what Dave’s wife Celeste knows: that hours after catching sight of Katie in the last bar she visited on the night of her death, Dave staggered home covered with somebody else’s blood. Burrowing deep into his three sorry heroes and the hundred ties that bind them unbearably close, Lehane weaves such a spellbinding tale that it’s easy to overlook the ramshackle mystery behind it all.

An undisciplined but powerfully lacerating story, by an author who knows every block of the neighborhood and every hair on his characters’ heads.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-16316-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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