Crisp dialogue and just enough London mise-en-scène give Macdonald a leg up on her competitors in the...

DIE ONCE

The sixth in a series (Road Kill, 2000, etc.) by Britisher Macdonald.

Timothy Curwen was always a steady if somewhat overdressed customer, so antiquarian bookseller Dido Hoare doesn’t like it one bit when he takes a swan dive off his balcony. Especially not when the check for his last purchase, Dickens’s The Haunted Man, bounces. His solicitors at Price Rankin Burke are apologetic, sending assistant Dona Helmer to escort Dido to Tim’s flat in Marylebone in hope of retrieving the Dickens and offering her a handsome sum to appraise his collection. But Dido is shocked to find nothing of any value in the bookcases of the fifth-floor flat. She does find Smith and Waites, two officers from the Seymour Street station whose scene-of-crime demeanor leads her to suspect that Tim’s leap wasn’t exactly voluntary. Her suspicions are fed as she follows the efforts of crime reporter Christopher Kennedy to track down Curwen’s missing collectibles and to trace his equally elusive sister, Theresa Clark. Leaving her three-year-old son Ben with her father Barnabas, Dido goes undercover along with her sometime boyfriend, DI Paul Grant, trawling the pubs of Hackney in hope of catching a glimpse of the shadowy Theresa. Instead, she runs into Kennedy, and, ricocheting between the two men, threads her way through a web of deceit even denser than the shelves in her well-stocked shop.

Crisp dialogue and just enough London mise-en-scène give Macdonald a leg up on her competitors in the single-heroine-with-too-many-boyfriends genre—although the main twist in this plot is obvious all the way from Russell Square.

Pub Date: June 2, 2002

ISBN: 0-312-28360-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

This ran in the S.E.P. and resulted in more demands for the story in book form than ever recorded. Well, here it is and it is a honey. Imagine ten people, not knowing each other, not knowing why they were invited on a certain island house-party, not knowing their hosts. Then imagine them dead, one by one, until none remained alive, nor any clue to the murderer. Grand suspense, a unique trick, expertly handled.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 1939

ISBN: 0062073478

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1939

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The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

ARCHIE GOES HOME

In Archie Goodwin's 15th adventure since the death of his creator, Rex Stout, his gossipy Aunt Edna Wainwright lures him from 34th Street to his carefully unnamed hometown in Ohio to investigate the death of a well-hated bank president.

Tom Blankenship, the local police chief, thinks there’s no case since Logan Mulgrew shot himself. But Archie’s mother, Marjorie Goodwin, and Aunt Edna know lots of people with reason to have killed him. Mulgrew drove rival banker Charles Purcell out of business, forcing Purcell to get work as an auto mechanic, and foreclosed on dairy farmer Harold Mapes’ spread. Lester Newman is convinced that Mulgrew murdered his ailing wife, Lester’s sister, so that he could romance her nurse, Carrie Yeager. And Donna Newman, Lester’s granddaughter, might have had an eye on her great-uncle’s substantial estate. Nor is Archie limited to mulling over his relatives’ gossip, for Trumpet reporter Verna Kay Padgett, whose apartment window was shot out the night her column raised questions about the alleged suicide, is perfectly willing to publish a floridly actionable summary of the leading suspects that delights her editor, shocks Archie, and infuriates everyone else. The one person missing is Archie’s boss, Nero Wolfe (Death of an Art Collector, 2019, etc.), and fans will breathe a sigh of relief when he appears at Marjorie’s door, debriefs Archie, notices a telltale clue, prepares dinner for everyone, sleeps on his discovery, and arranges a meeting of all parties in Marjorie’s living room in which he names the killer.

The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5040-5988-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Mysterious Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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