A satisfying mystery pleasantly told.



This second installment of a series offers another adventure for a crime-solving architect and his friend’s talented cat.

Mary Questman—a wealthy widow, noted philanthropist, and owner of Mister Puss, the beautiful Abyssinian cat who just might have the ability to speak—receives a letter from the new rector at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in her hometown of Dumont, Wisconsin. When Joyce Hibbard requests that Mary fund a project to either restore or rebuild the soon-to-be-condemned St. Alban’s church building, the philanthropist insists that she will only participate if her friend and noted local architect Marson Miles is involved. While Joyce is walking Marson and his husband, Brody Norris—who is also the partner in his architectural firm, Miles & Norris, as well as something of an amateur sleuth—around the property, they come across the body of their new friend, David Lowell, the choir director and organist of St. Alban’s. But who would want the choir director dead? Could it be one of the new people in town: Joyce or her husband-of-convenience, Curtis—a wealthy gay lawyer whom Marson knew in college and who recently asked David on a date? Or Curtis’ friend and former lover, the famous ballet dancer Yevgeny Krymov? With the help of the local sheriff, Thomas Simms, and the preternatural Mister Puss, Brody will have to don his detective coat once again to catch the killer before anyone else drops dead. Craft’s (FlabberGassed, 2018, etc.) prose, with its affectionate digs at gossipy Episcopal parishes and affluent gay culture, is cheery in a way that keeps the novel from ever getting too dark, even with the murderous subject matter. After Joyce, who came to religion late in life (and perhaps not because of God), quotes Philippians at a dinner party, her husband says, “You’re laying it on a bit thick, aren’t you, Poopsie?” The characters are all compellingly odd, operating in a gray area between noble and self-serving that will keep readers guessing at their underlying motives. While the author hardly reinvents the wheel, this cozy setting with its nosy inhabitants makes for a lovely place to spend a few hours trying to figure out whodunit and why.

A satisfying mystery pleasantly told.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-578-52330-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Questover Press

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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