Stealing the Countess

David Housewright. Minotaur, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-04966-7

The brazen theft of a Stradivarius violin known as the Countess Borromeo, valued at $4 million, provides Rushmore McKenzie with some ethical challenges in Housewright’s entertaining 13th mystery featuring the unlicensed St. Paul, Minn., PI (after 2015’s Unidentified Woman #15). Maestro Paul Duclos, whose violin was stolen during a visit to his hometown in Wisconsin from the bed-and-breakfast where he was staying, turns to McKenzie for help. Unfortunately, the musician’s insurance company refuses to pay a reward for the violin’s return until someone has been convicted for taking it. Duclos asks McKenzie to play middleman and offer $250,000 for the safe return of the countess, no questions asked. In accepting the assignment, McKenzie knows he’s guilty of committing a felony. The charming lead enhances the crime puzzle, which is both complex and logical. Agent: Alison Pickard, Alison J. Picard Agency. (May)