cover image HOLLOW CROWN: A Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne Mystery

HOLLOW CROWN: A Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne Mystery

David Roberts, . . Carroll & Graf, $24 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-7867-1052-2

Roberts (The Bones of the Buried; Sweet Poison) just keeps getting better with each book in this historical series about Lord Edward Corinth, a jaded English aristocrat, and Verity Browne, a journalist with leftist sympathies and a Schaparelli evening gown in her closet. In October 1936, Verity returns from covering the Spanish Civil War. Joe Weaver, the press lord for whom Verity works, asks Lord Edward to convince Molly Harkness, an old friend of Edward's, to give up some highly indiscreet letters written by the King to one Wallis Simpson. Lord Edward talks to Molly, but before he can collect the letters, Molly is found dead and the letters disappear. Lord Edward is sure that Molly was murdered and is determined, with Verity's help, to discover the killer and recover the missing letters. The unforced and growing attraction between Edward and Verity provides romantic interest, while their differing views offer ample opportunity for comment on the political situation in Europe without slowing the plot, which moves effortlessly between country houses, bohemian Chelsea and the working-class East End. The surprise ending will leave readers wondering how they missed the clues. This is first-rate fun, informed by telling period detail and an intelligent portrayal of the political issues behind the Abdication Crisis. It's highly recommended, too, for fans of Love in a Cold Climate and Gosford Park. (Jan. 3)