Based on true events, March’s crisply written debut combines fascinating historic details with a clever puzzle.

MURDER IN OLD BOMBAY

In colonial India, a fledgling sleuth probes the inexplicable deaths of two young women.

While recuperating in hospital from battle injuries in 1892 Poona, Capt. James Agnihotri, of the 14th Light Cavalry Regiment, becomes interested in the case of two young women who fell to their deaths from a university clock tower. A lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes, Jim is moved by a letter published in the local newspaper from Adi Framji, the husband of one victim and brother of the other, pleading for justice. Maneck Fitter stood accused of causing the deaths, but the young man was released for lack of evidence. Leaving the army behind, Jim gets a job as a reporter for The Chronicle of India and soon finds Adi, who quickly becomes Watson to his Holmes. The eldest of six children, Adi lost his unworldly wife, Bacha, and secretive sister, Pilloo, to the killer. The investigative duo becomes a trio with the arrival from Liverpool of Adi’s sister, Diana, who adds feminine insight and a romantic interest for Jim. The investigation begins at the library near the tower, where the librarian verifies the story of Maneck arguing loudly with two black-clad men shortly before the tragedy. Like the last page of the medical examiner’s report on the victims, garments found under a library table have mysteriously disappeared. A pair of attacks convinces Jim that he’s closing in on the killer. When Jim finally talks to Maneck, who stayed mute during his trial, he expresses fears for his own safety and suggests that Jim dig deeper into the Framji family.

Based on true events, March’s crisply written debut combines fascinating historic details with a clever puzzle.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-25-026954-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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More bedmates for the hero, two of them new, and a higher body count than usual, but otherwise the same mixture as before.

SHAKEUP

President Holly Barker’s inauguration may be complicated by murder, but it’s all in a day’s work for her lover, attorney Stone Barrington.

Returning to the suite they’ve booked at the Hay-Adams Hotel, Stone and his friends Dino and Viv Bacchetti trip over the body of Patricia Clark. By the time the strangling hits the newspapers, Holly has already scratched the appointment of Patricia's soon-to-be ex-husband, billionaire businessman Donald Clark, as Secretary of Commerce, and D.C. police chief Deborah Myers, Clark’s rumored lover, is about to reject Lt. Art Jacoby’s nomination of Clark as the killer and go after Jacoby in that role instead. This plot, as so often in Stone’s adventures, goes nowhere. But at least Stone’s dalliance with aspiring movie actress Lara Parks leads to some satisfying sex, though Lara has to decamp to make room for Holly when she’s able to sneak off to LA to resume her long-running affair with Stone. The execution of the bodyguard Dino has assigned to Jacoby—Dino's the New York City police commissioner—turns up the heat on Clark and Myers until one of them is murdered too. Eddie Craft, a fortuitous witness who saw the perpetrator of this last crime, hightails it to England, where he’s immediately sucked into a scheme to steal paintings by Stone’s late mother from Stone’s estate in Hampshire. So everything in this daisy chain is more or less connected, though not in any way you might have expected.

More bedmates for the hero, two of them new, and a higher body count than usual, but otherwise the same mixture as before.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-18832-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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An engaging procedural that introduces a delightful cast readers will want to spend more time with.

MURDER IN CHIANTI

After the death of his wife, Rita, Bronx homicide detective Nico Doyle starts a new life in the idyllic village of Gravigna in the Chianti hills in Tuscany, where Rita grew up.

A barking dog summons Nico into the woods near his new home, where he finds a man lying on the ground, a single shot to the head. Nico’s landlord, Aldo, calls the local marshall, expansive Salvatore Perillo. Since the corpse has no ID, Nico inherits a faithful dog, whom he names OneWag. There’s a fair amount of chatter about the murder and a soupçon of family drama at Sotto Il Fico, the restaurant Nico considers a second home. Tilde, Rita’s cousin, doesn’t approve of Gianni, Tilde’s daughter Stella’s boyfriend. Matriarch Elvira, who runs the restaurant with quiet authority, declares that the victim was American, disquieting Nico, who’s been careful to keep his Bronx background a secret. When Perillo, under pressure from prosecutor Della Langhe, learns of it, he and overeager sidekick Daniele press Nico for help. The discovery of the victim’s abandoned car, a bracelet traced to a jeweler, and a visit to a hotel reveal the man’s identity: Napa Valley vineyard owner Robert Garrett, born Roberto Gerardi in Tuscany but raised in California. Adding another wrinkle to the investigation is the news that Garrett was dying of cancer. Might this have been a mercy killing? Regular visits to the restaurant and to Rita’s grave punctuate Nico’s probe. The solution Trinchieri provides will surprise and satisfy.

An engaging procedural that introduces a delightful cast readers will want to spend more time with.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-641-29179-8

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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