34 Booklist May 1, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
straight-arrow Edith, secrets begin to emerge
about her tangled love life and odd associations.
The collateral damage is enormous, and no
one, not even Manon, escapes the consequences. This combination of police procedural and
an unfolding family drama that continuously
twists and turns will work well for fans of Kate
Atkinson and Tana French. The author promises more about Manon “at full chaotic tilt,” so
we can hope to find out whether the path she
ultimately chooses for herself is the right one.
Murder at the Loch.
By Eric Brown.
June 2016. 208p. Severn, $28.95 (9780727885937);
Here’s the third mystery featuring crime-writer Donald Langham. It’s December 1955,
and Major Cartwright, Langham’s former commanding officer (in Madagascar and India),
thinks someone may be trying to kill him. He’s
hired a private investigator, who asks Langham
to accompany him to the major’s home to see
if there’s anything to the man’s misgivings.
After Langham arrives, it isn’t long before another of the major’s houseguests is found dead.
Full of moody atmosphere—Brown makes
the most of his setting, a castle in the Scottish
Highlands—the novel is claustrophobically
suspenseful, with a likable protagonist and a
cast of supporting characters who could have
walked, with minor changes, off the pages of
an Agatha Christie novel. This promises to be a
fine series, if future installments are as good as
the first three have been. —David Pitt
Murder Has Nine Lives.
By Laura Levine.
July 2016. 304p. Kensington, $25 (9780758285096);
e-book, $11.99 (9780758285119).
In between writing new copy for a Toilet-masters brochure pushing self-flushing toilets
and getting ready to travel to Hawaii with her
parents, freelance writer Jaine is asked if her
beloved tyrant of a cat, Prozac, is available to
star in a commercial. His eating prowess is desired for the ad; Jaine is game, but the shoot
turns deadly when the inventor of Skinny Kitty
cat food drops dead. Everyone present had a
reason to kill him except Jaine, from the embezzling agent, to the formerly famous director,
to the victim’s long-suffering wife. There are
other, less deadly problems: Jaine must suffer
through a blind date with a man who speaks
through his teddy bear, and Prozac is having
trouble dealing with disappointment over his
failed acting career. Jaine pursues justice and
sanity in her usual hilarious yet smart way,
with Levine infusing wit into her heroine’s every thought. A thoroughly fun read that will
interest Evanovich fans. —Amy Alessio
Murder Most Fowl.
By Edith Maxwell.
June 2016. 304p. Kensington, $25 (9781496700254);
e-book, $11.99 (9781496700261).
Organic farmer and amateur sleuth Cam
Flaherty returns in another intelligent install-
ment in this unusual cozy series. Animal-right
activists are harassing livestock farmers in
Westbury, Massachusetts, but the taunts turn
lethal when Cam’s neighbor Wayne, a chicken
farmer, is murdered. There are plenty of sus-
pects: a wealthy resident had been after Wayne
to sell his farm; Wayne had recently had a fall-
ing out with a longtime friend; and why doesn’t
his wife seem to be grieving? Wayne’s daughter
asks Cam to do a little snooping around town
to see if she can do a better job than the police
at finding the killer. Asking questions stirs the
pot, and soon there is an attack on Cam’s chicks
and other vandalism on her farm. Maxwell
keeps the dialogue as fresh as Cam’s produce in
this nice mix of cozy ambience and a realistic
story of greed and hidden secrets. Recipes and
food details add zest to this entrée in the food-
mystery genre. —Amy Alessio
Murder on the Quai.
By Cara Black.
June 2016. 336p. Soho, $27.95 (9781616956783);
e-book, $27.96 (9781616956790).
Over 15 novels in her much-loved Aimée
Leduc series, Black has distributed tantalizing
facts about Aimée’s background, but, damn it,
we want more: What’s the real story behind
Aimeé’s mother’s disappearance? What about
her father’s murder? How did she meet her
partner Rene? And so much more. Apparently,
Black has listened to our yowlings of frustration because finally we have the prequel we’ve
been craving. It’s 1989, and Aimeé is a medical
student, though dissatisfaction with her chosen
field is growing. Her father is off to Berlin on
an unexplained errand that has something to
do with Aimeé’s mother. Meanwhile, Aimeé,
supposedly helping out with paperwork at
the family detective agency, is drawn into a
case involving a distant relative and Nazi gold
stolen during WWII. The trouble with many
prequels is that, in the interest of dispensing
backstory, the author forgets to tell a new story.
Black doesn’t make that mistake here, with the
WWII plot proving thoroughly involving, but
let’s face it: we’re here for answers, and while all
of them aren’t quite forthcoming just yet, we
learn plenty. A treat for series fans. —Bill Ott
By Haughton Murphy.
July 2016. Open Road/ MysteriousPress.com, $14.99
(9781504030366); e-book, $14.99 (9781504030359).
Genteel isn’t a word usually applied to stories
of blackmail and murder, but it fits the image
of Reuben Frost, a soft-voiced, silver-haired
Wall Street lawyer (retired) and occasional
sleuth. In this eighth installment in the series
(but first in 14 years), Frost is brought into a
murder investigation by a friend in the NYPD,
a case that involves Frost’s most proper law
firm. The victim was Frost’s former client’s
daughter. She was a rising star at a Manhat-
tan publishing house. The old world collides
with the new when Frost discovers she was
dabbling—with a fake name—in computer
dating. The blackmail photo was taken with
a cell phone, and Frost surprises himself with
his flair for these newfangled gadgets. Part of
the readers’ pleasure comes from watching
these privileged folk reveal themselves. Pre-
paring rich clients’ wills for little cost to reap
fat estate fees when they die isn’t paying off,
thanks to modern medicine. “Our clients,”
one lawyer moans, “refuse to die.” Among all
these soft voices, the killer is easily spotted.
He’s the one who yells. A welcome return for
an always-engaging hero. —Don Crinklaw
New York Nocturne: The Return of
By Walter Satterthwait.
June 2016. 298p. Open Road/ MysteriousPress.com,
paper, $14.99 (9781504028127); e-book, $14.99
Decades after Miss Lizzie (1989), Satterthwait brings back the infamous Lizbeth
Borden—with her friend and neighbor,
teenager Amanda Burton, as narrator—in a
whirlwind, high-stakes exploit in 1924 New
York. When her father and stepmother set off
on an international expedition, 16-year-old
Amanda goes to New York
to spend the summer with
her father’s younger brother,
John, in his apartment at the
Dakota. In the first week,
handsome broker John Burton opens up the city to his
niece, taking her to shows,
restaurants, and his favorite
night spots, even introducing her to some of
his less-savory associates. Then tragedy strikes,
putting Amanda in peril until Miss Borden
comes to her aid, along with a notoriously successful and unscrupulous lawyer, a private eye,
men for muscle, and Dorothy Parker. Together
they seek to understand the bloody crime just
committed, using everything at their disposal,
most particularly guile. Satterthwait, author of
the Joshua Croft series, is a master of historical mystery, here evoking the Roaring Twenties
and adding historical figures to his well-drawn
cast, with Mrs. Parker contributing a delightful
touch of wry. This is a lively, nonstop romp,
carried with an unfailingly light touch, rising
body count aside. —Michele Leber
YA: With a teenage narrator and a cast
peppered with iconic historical figures,
this 1920s caper will likely appeal to YA
mystery and historical fiction fans. SH.
The Night the Rich Men Burned.
By Malcolm Mackay.
May 2016. 352p. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $26
Tom Wolfe claimed the best way to get close
to criminals is to treat them like businessmen,
because that’s how they see themselves. Maybe that’s why stretches of Mackay’s fine novel
read like a how-to for goons on the way up.
These Glasgow men, members of “the collection industry,” go on about the requirements
for success, stressing the need for good manners and for two business offices, one for show
and one for work. Around the self-help is the
powerful story of two close friends, young men