A colorful start to a new art-world mystery series.

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COLEMAN AND DINAH GREENE MYSTERY NO. 1

Southern belle cousins, now players in the New York City art scene, investigate a suspicious death and other strange activities surrounding the sale of rare art prints in Williams’ debut mystery.

Coleman Greene, publisher of ArtSmart magazine, and her cousin Dinah, a Greenwich Village art gallery owner, attend an art print sale at Killington’s, a New York City auction house. A rare print by famed painter and printmaker Winslow Homer, origin unknown, is put on the block and sells for a record amount. The buyer is mysterious billionaire Heyward Bain, who’s arrived in town with his entourage in tow, including the rather smarmy protégée of a London-based art dealer. Bain, it turns out, wants to open a new prints museum in the city. As the mogul snaps up other newly discovered rare prints, Coleman discovers that the seller of the Homer print was found dead the morning of the auction. After a second death occurs, she manages to convince cop-turned–art crime investigator Robert Mondelli to look into the matter. Meanwhile, Dinah’s new husband, a jealous investment banker, conducts his own background check on Bain; Coleman contends with a staff member selling ideas to a competing magazine; and Dinah runs into Maxwell Arnold, a fellow Duke alum who may be a reason why Coleman vowed never to marry. The detailed, somewhat digressive story, with its dizzying array of multiple perspectives and locales, ends with a climactic showdown. Williams, an art historian and print collector, clearly relishes the art-world milieu—even if the art often serves as a mere backdrop to the twisty, exuberant plot. In this first book of a planned series, she depicts a rather charming Sex and the City-like pair that, with some promising supporting characters, is well-primed to paint the town in future adventures.

A colorful start to a new art-world mystery series.

Pub Date: June 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1939052001

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Delos

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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

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