Two misfits run away from expectations and toward mystery when they try to solve a murder in Depression-era Boston’s hottest new club.
The pressure of being a young lawyer in a proud Italian family has Hamish DeLuca in a cold sweat—literally. Though panic attacks aren’t recognized as a medical problem in the 1930s, Hamish knows all too well that they’re a problem for him, and he hides his embarrassment at not feeling normal by seeking a safe harbor in his cousin Luca Valari’s Boston home. Luca’s excited to see Hamish because Luca’s excited by pretty much everything, which makes him the perfect candidate to open the Flamingo, Boston’s latest nightlife hub. Nor is Hamish the only one who takes refuge beneath Luca’s wing. Regina Van Buren, of the Connecticut Van Burens, escapes her familial home to serve as a secretary for Luca after her boyfriend, Vaughan Vanderlaan, announces their engagement at a garden party before soliciting Reggie’s own thoughts on the matter. Luca treats Reggie like she’s capable, and Hamish, once he meets her, treats her like she’s something special. Reggie and Hamish are both starry-eyed about Luca and the Flamingo, though each has growing concerns about some of Luca’s business associates. When the Flamingo eventually becomes the site for a murder, Reggie’s eager to find the truth. Though she hasn’t solved a crime since finding Jenny Wyatt’s runaway kitten as a kid, Reggie’s self-confidence brings Hamish into the fold, and the two start their apparently ill-informed but ultimately successful quest to find the culprit, even if that means revisiting their hero-worship of Luca.
McMillan (The White Feather Murders, 2017, etc.) takes so long on the backstory for her new series that the mystery doesn’t get underway till the second half. That’s better for readers who are in for the long haul than those who, like the heroine, want to cut to the chase.