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THE NIGHT IN QUESTION

From the Agathas Mystery series , Vol. 2

A delight for teen Poirots, chock-full of puzzling clues and swirling tensions.

Inseparable teen sleuths snark and squabble their way through a second whodunit infused with the spirit of the Queen of Mystery.

“This is what happens when you start messing around with history,” someone comments. “The bones begin to rattle.” In this follow-up to The Agathas (2022), the principle definitely holds. Investigating a brutal assault that leaves a widely disliked classmate in a medical coma leads unlikely friends Alice and Iris to the mysterious deaths of a budding starlet and her secret beau 74 years ago, in 1949. Along with paying frequent homage to Agatha Christie and lavishing their tale with tried-and-true elements—an old mansion with a secret staircase and a hidden room, a fabulously valuable missing necklace, an apparent perp who may be innocent despite being caught literally red-handed, shadowy family connections, and more—the authors enthusiastically shovel clues, or things that look like clues, into nearly every one of their short, alternately narrated chapters on the way to a violent climax. In a strong continuing subplot, the friendship between the two teenagers sometimes looks more like war as they come from different social circles (wealthy Alice’s dubbed the Mains, working-class Iris’ the Zoners) in a similarly divided small California town, and as they wrestle with individual personal issues, their characters, values, and expectations also frequently clash. They’re talented detectives though, with ingeniously complementary methods. The main cast reads White.

A delight for teen Poirots, chock-full of puzzling clues and swirling tensions. (map) (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 9780593645833

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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THE REAPPEARANCE OF RACHEL PRICE

Readers will be captivated by this twisty thriller and its uncompromising protagonist.

The mother Annabel Price thought was dead returns with a story about where she’s been—but 18-year-old Bel knows she’s lying.

Ever since Rachel Price’s unexplained disappearance 16 years ago, true-crime fans have come up with plentiful theories about what happened. Bel and her family members, who are white, cobbled together lives for themselves after a jury found Bel’s father, Charlie, not guilty of murdering his wife. Beset with medical bills for his elderly father, Charlie recently agreed to participate in a documentary about the unsolved mystery. Black British filmmaker Ramsey Lee is well into the process of interviewing the Prices when his project gets an unanticipated boost after an exhausted, disheveled Rachel staggers back into town. Rachel is eager to resume her role in the family, but the inconsistencies in her accounts raise alarms for Bel. With the help of the youngest member of the filmmaking team, Bel sets out to learn what really happened. Along the way, someone else disappears, and Bel uncovers a tangle of lies that make it impossible for her to trust people she thought she knew. When things come to a head the night of her grandfather’s 85th birthday party, Bel ends up in a race for her life. The last quarter of the novel tears along at a breakneck pace before arriving at a satisfying and unexpected conclusion.

Readers will be captivated by this twisty thriller and its uncompromising protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780593374207

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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LIAR'S BEACH

From the Liar's Beach series , Vol. 1

This scorching glimpse of life (and death) among the moneyed classes hits its marks, if a bit mechanically.

A summertime stay on Martha’s Vineyard confirms everything Linden thinks about rich people.

Best known for emotional YA romances, Cotugno tries her hand at an emotional whodunit—and readers who can roll with the weird attraction her protagonist seems to exert on the two main young women here may find themselves caught up in an engrossing whirl of, as the title promises, lies, secrets, and louche living. Hardly has he arrived for a two-week stay at palatial August House than Michael Linden and his host and boarding school roommate Jasper’s twin sister, Eliza, are bedroom-bound; his ghosted former platonic friend Holiday turns up; and Greg, despised boyfriend of another houseguest, winds up in a coma after an apparent accident. Dragged along by Holiday, who, along with inexplicably letting bygones be bygones, turns out to be an enthusiastic amateur sleuth, scholarship student Linden finds plenty of fuel for his (supposedly) secret resentment of the privileged classes and the way they can get away with anything. Though not, as it turns out after a comfortably conventional denouement complete with surprise confession, murder. Also, as a tease at the end suggests, for all that he comes clean about several secrets of his own, Linden leads the pack in the “things to hide” department. Aside from one prominent supporting character—a brown-skinned lacrosse champion—the central cast reads White.

This scorching glimpse of life (and death) among the moneyed classes hits its marks, if a bit mechanically. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780593433287

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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