An amusing period tale. Seymour’s seventh outing (Dead in Naples, 2009, etc.) shows a dry wit and an engaging touch with...


Do-good ladies and do-bad gents discombobulate 1913 Malta.

When Mrs. Wynne-Gurr, Chair of the West Surrey branch of the St. John Ambulance Association (nursing volunteers), visits Malta, teeming with purebred Maltese, unassimilated Arabs and occupying Brits, she deems a minor anomaly to be a major catastrophe and summons Scotland Yard. Off goes Seymour of the Yard to ferret out why two British seamen and one German balloonist, each admitted to the hospital for nonlife-threatening health problems, suddenly wind up dead. Mrs. Wynne-Gurr assumes it’s the dire laxity of nursing care, but is it really? While she tut-tuts her way around the hospital, an infiltrator has joined her group: Seymour’s mistress Chantale. Her fancied Mediterranean tryst with her beau disallowed by the Yard, she pretends to be eager to start up an Ambulance outpost in her hometown of Tangier, and is in need of advice. Also scurrying about are Felix and Sophia, school kids doing term papers on the hospital, started in the 1500s, and the unsuitable British sway over Malta and the need for local rebellion. Dr. Malia, a retired member of the hospital staff, now convinced war is imminent, skulks about taking measurements to increase patient capacity, while Susie, a very friendly gal, has regular assignations in various hospital corners. Meanwhile, local bands are vying to see who can blare loudest at parties, staff nurses falter in their allegiances and Seymour must figure out how, when and by whom hospital security was breached. He is helped in this task by Inspector Lucca but mostly put upon by everyone else until his impeccable reasoning uncovers all.

An amusing period tale. Seymour’s seventh outing (Dead in Naples, 2009, etc.) shows a dry wit and an engaging touch with political folderol, familial brouhahas and mystery logistics. 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-56947-878-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Soho Constable

Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


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?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...


A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

Did you like this book?