The death of a Russian businessman provides a pretty puzzle in Doudera’s (Final Settlement, 2013, etc.) newest Darby Farr Mystery.
Realtor Darby Farr has come to New York City to spend some time with her boyfriend, British journalist Miles Porter, who is currently teaching a course at Columbia University. When Miles is approached by Alec Rodin, a wealthy Russian who may be with the Federal Security Service, a nasty argument erupts over Natalia Kazakova, Miles’ student and Alec’s fiancee. The marriage, arranged by Natalia’s wealthy father, is not at all to the prospective bride’s liking. Soon after Alec, in vain, urges Miles to destroy all copies of a paper written by Natalia that he claims would be very dangerous to publish, Alec’s body is discovered in an alley, pierced by several sword thrusts. As one of the last people to have seen Alec alive, Miles is a suspect. Although Miles and Darby just want to enjoy some time together and explore the city, their involvement in the investigation becomes inescapable. Several of the case’s major players live in the same upscale building in which Miles sublets an apartment, and tensions run high. Natalia has a very protective bodyguard. Her father and Alec haven’t always seen eye to eye. A real estate agent who lives in the building is still furious with Alec, who caused her to lose the commission on Natalia’s penthouse apartment. A lawyer stuck in a smaller apartment is equally desperate to get the penthouse. An elderly lady who lives in the building with her nervous French maid may be the source for Natalia’s paper, which has roots in pre-revolutionary Russia. With a little help from the lawyer’s nanny, Darby and Miles put the pieces together.
Darby’s fifth offers up a twisty mystery, plenty of suspects and a touch of romance.