cover image The Murder Dance

The Murder Dance

Sarah Rayne. Severn, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5012-6

Rayne’s lively sixth Phineas Fox mystery (after 2021’s The Devil’s Harmony) takes London musicologist Phineas to a Norfolk village, where his sweetheart, Arabella Tallis, has agreed to take on the role of publicist for a proposed swish restaurant in a rundown Elizabethan mansion called the Tabor, which has just been inherited by Quentin Rivers, who had no idea the house was anything more than a family legend. Quentin brings his adored cousin, Zillah, with him to view the property, unaware that Zillah visited the Tabor as a child and has always assumed that she would inherit it. Meanwhile, Arabella learns that Will Kemp, reportedly the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Falstaff, visited the area and may have witnessed a performance at the Tabor of “The Reivers Dance” (aka “The Murder Dance”). She asks Phineas to research the story, thinking it would be useful in promotional material. His investigation reveals dark and dangerous family secrets. Vivid flashbacks to the troubled history of the Rivers clan complement the present-day action, which builds to a creepily satisfying conclusion. Readers will hope this series has a long run. Agent: Jane Conway-Gordon, Jane Conway-Gordon Ltd. (U.K.). (Jan.)