A fast, fun supernatural thriller that never takes itself too seriously.

THE HOUSE ON WIDOWS HILL

An alien who doesn’t believe in ghosts spends the night in a haunted—or is it?—house in Bath.

The morning after solving the case of the killer in a railroad car relayed in Night Train to Murder (2020), Ishmael Jones and Penny Belcourt, his partner in life and work, are mulling how to spend their time in Bath after Penny polishes off her full English breakfast. Something about being an alien come to Earth makes all that junk less appealing to Ishmael, who’s more invested in his paranormal but vaguely defined skill set and more distracted by the suggestion of Mr. Nemo, a mysterious psychic connected to their last investigation, that he’s not the only one of his kind on Earth. That’s certainly exciting news, but what does it mean? Before Ishmael can think through the who/what/where of his own life, he and Penny are approached by Mr. Whisper, a jauntily dressed man who’s clearly also employed by the Organization. In the absence of Ishmael’s boss, the Colonel, who isn’t available to vouch for Mr. Whisper’s account, the newcomer proposes a case that intrigues the couple: Look into the supposedly haunted Harrow House to see if there really is an on-site ghost or if it’s all a rumor to scare away buyers. Penny would love to confirm her own belief in ghosts; Ishmael is more skeptical—sure, aliens, but ghosts?—yet willing to accede to Penny’s interests. Their night of investigation teams them with a ghost hunter, a celebrity psychic, a cynical reporter, a self-proclaimed white witch, and a requisite murder that leads the whole group to wonder whether there’s a human killer or something supernatural afoot.

A fast, fun supernatural thriller that never takes itself too seriously.

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7278-9030-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Severn House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

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THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A satisfying, if predictable, thriller that will please fans of police procedurals.

THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE

When health care aide Bettina Holte is found drained of blood in Copenhagen’s oldest fountain, little does Investigator Jeppe Kørner know that he has a budding serial killer on his hands.

The very next day, another body is found, similarly drained. Under increasing pressure from his superintendent, Kørner quickly deduces that the murder weapon was a scarificator, a strange bloodletting device. He also learns that both victims once worked at Butterfly House, a short-lived residential home for teens with psychiatric illnesses. The home was closed after a young girl died by suicide and a social worker was found drowned. An expert at narrative sleight of hand, Engberg strews the investigational field with multiple suspects, each shadowy enough to maintain our suspicions. Perhaps Bo Ramsgaard, the teen's grieving father, is worth a closer look. Or perhaps one of the young people could hold a grudge against the staff, which included the ambitious psychiatrist Peter Demant and nurse Trine Bremen, who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Yet former patient Isak Brügger, diagnosed with schizophrenia, is still under nearly 24-hour surveillance at the Bispebjerg Hospital, as Simon Hartvig, his social worker, can attest. And former patient Marie Birch is now living in an insular countercultural community. Meanwhile, Kørner himself is conflicted about his relationship with Detective Sara Saidani: Is he ready to try again so soon after his divorce? And Kørner’s partner, Anette Werner, is on maternity leave but can’t resist getting involved as well. It’s her work that collides with Kørner’s for a dramatic final confrontation.

A satisfying, if predictable, thriller that will please fans of police procedurals.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982127-60-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scout Press/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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