As for the heroine's sleuthing prowess, the man who loves her puts it best: “You haven’t done all that much, but you do show...

READ REVIEW

MELODY OF MURDER

The family of a celebrated young pianist that’s betaken itself to Alex Duggins’ Cotswolds village over the pianist’s strenuous objections must add sudden death to its other woes.

How do you get to Wigmore Hall? Practice, practice, practice. That’s all Elyan Quillam, 18, hears from his bullying stepfather, Percy Quillam, who’s dedicated his life to making his second wife’s son famous and miserable. The refrain is echoed by Sebastian Carstens, Elyan’s teacher; by Wells Giglio, his agent; and, in a minor key, by Sonia Quillam, the mother who gave up a promising career as an orchestral violinist to marry Percy. Given all this single-minded pressure, it’s no wonder that Elyan’s stepsister, Laura, gets lost in the shuffle, with nary an encouraging word about the blues singing she loves so much. The drama is intensified by Percy’s news that he’s rented Green Friday, a house in Folly-on-Weir, uprooting both his children from their support network in London. After a prologue setting the stage by detailing all these developments, both the characters and the story seem to go into cardiac arrest when the scene shifts to the Cotswolds. Alex Duggins, a graphic artist who owns the local pub, the Black Dog, is delighted to hear an unknown woman’s voice singing the blues inside St. Anselm’s, but her pleasure turns to horror when she discovers Laura Quillam’s body inside the church soon after the music has ended. Unfortunately, following Alex (Out Comes the Evil, 2015, etc.) as she draws out the newcomers is a lot less interesting than following the Quillams firsthand, and the only way Cameron develops the plot is by offering another unexpected fatality.

As for the heroine's sleuthing prowess, the man who loves her puts it best: “You haven’t done all that much, but you do show up whenever something’s happening.”

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-78029-084-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Creme de la Crime

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

THINGS IN JARS

Lady detective Bridie Devine searches for a missing child and finds much more than she bargained for.

Bridie Devine is no stranger to the seedy underworld of Victorian London. An accomplished detective with medical training, she sometimes helps the police by examining bodies to determine the cause of death. Bridie recently failed to find a lost child, and when she’s approached about another missing child, the daughter of Sir Edmund Berwick, she isn’t enthusiastic about taking on the case. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. Sir Edmund has hidden Christabel away her whole life and wants Bridie to believe this is an ordinary kidnapping. Bridie does a little digging and learns that Christabel isn’t his daughter so much as his prized specimen. Sir Edmund believes Christabel is a “merrow,” a darker and less romanticized version of a mermaid. Bridie is skeptical, but there are reports of Christabel’s sharp teeth, color-changing eyes, and ability to drown people on dry land. Given that Bridie’s new companion is a ghost who refuses to tell her why he’s haunting her, Bridie might want to open her mind a bit. There’s a lot going on in this singular novel, and none of it pretty. Bridie’s London is soaked with mud and blood, and her past is nightmarish at best. Kidd (Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, 2018, etc.) is an expert at setting a supernatural mood perfect for ghosts and merrows, but her human villains make them seem mundane by comparison. With so much detail and so many clever, Dickensian characters, readers might petition Kidd to give Bridie her own series.

Creepy, violent, and propulsive; a standout gothic mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more