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


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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This high-stakes drama grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.


Secrets, lies, and revenge permeate this taut international thriller.

The recently married Ariel Pryce wakes up one morning in a Lisbon hotel room, expecting her husband, John Wright, to be in bed beside her. He isn’t. She looks for a note, tries calling him, queries hotel staff, all to no avail. She calls Portuguese police and then the American Embassy, who wonder at first if Ms. Pryce isn’t some crazy lady wasting everyone’s time. But a lot happens muito rápido: Ariel receives a ransom demand for 3 million euros to be delivered within 48 hours for John’s safe release by unknown captors. The CIA knows that John is not who he claims to be and thinks that Ariel "must be more important than she’s letting on.” For one thing, she changed her name from Laurel Turner in her adulthood. A nosy American reporter starts poking around. Moving between past and present and among the viewpoints of Ariel and her several observers, Pavone uses short scenes to build fast-paced tension. Who is behind the kidnapping, and why? Ariel isn’t rich, and there’s only one way—blackmail—to come up with the dough. She and her extortee can inflict great harm on each other, and in fact one of them had a head start years earlier. So will she get the cash and rescue John? Then suspicious polícia stop Ariel from boarding a flight to the U.S., the CIA monitors her calls, at least one CIA observer ponders the value of having her whacked, and a relentless, coke-sniffing reporter is convinced he smells a blockbuster scoop. Surprise builds on surprise, and although the reader may sense where the complicated plot is headed, the twists keep coming. Two nights in Lisbon sound like a fun vacation as long as someone isn’t trying to uncover a horrible secret from your past.

This high-stakes drama grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-3746-0476-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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Intrigue, murder, and vengeance make for a darkly enjoyable read.


A woman’s life takes a stunning turn and a wall comes tumbling down in this tense Cold War spy drama.

In Berlin in 1989, the wall is about to crumble, and Anne Simpson’s husband, Stefan Koehler, goes missing. She is a translator working with refugees from the communist bloc, and he is a piano tuner who travels around Europe with orchestras. Or so he claims. German intelligence service the BND and America’s CIA bring her in for questioning, wrongly thinking she’s protecting him. Soon she begins to learn more about Stefan, whom she had met in the Netherlands a few years ago. She realizes he’s a “gregarious musician with easy charm who collected friends like a beachcomber collects shells, keeping a few, discarding most.” Police find his wallet in a canal and his prized zither in nearby bushes but not his body. Has he been murdered? What’s going on? And why does the BND care? If Stefan is alive, he’s in deep trouble, because he’s believed to be working for the Stasi. She’s told “the dead have a way of showing up. It is only the living who hide.” And she’s quite believable when she wonders, “Can you grieve for someone who betrayed you?” Smart and observant, she notes that the reaction by one of her interrogators is “as false as his toupee. Obvious, uncalled for, and easily put on.” Lurking behind the scenes is the Matchmaker, who specializes in finding women—“American. Divorced. Unhappy,” and possibly having access to Western secrets—who will fall for one of his Romeos. Anne is the perfect fit. “The matchmaker turned love into tradecraft,” a CIA agent tells her. But espionage is an amoral business where duty trumps decency, and “deploring the morality of spies is like deploring violence in boxers.” It’s a sentiment John le Carré would have endorsed, but Anne may have the final word.

Intrigue, murder, and vengeance make for a darkly enjoyable read.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64313-865-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pegasus Crime

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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