cover image A Rogue’s Company

A Rogue’s Company

Allison Montclair. Minotaur, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-75032-7

An artfully constructed puzzle and dry humor lift Montclair’s excellent third mystery featuring professional matchmakers and amateur sleuths Iris Sparks and Gwen Bainbridge in post-WWII London (after 2020’s A Royal Affair). The Right Sort Marriage Bureau gets its first client of color in the form of Simon Daile, a native of Nyasaland, a British colony where Gwen’s father-in-law owns plantations. Simon came to England years before to study advanced agricultural techniques that he could then share with his countrymen. The war derailed his plans, and Simon, who lacks the funds to continue his education, intends to settle down in England with his white spouse, who shares his Christian faith and openness to travel. Gwen believes Simon hasn’t been honest with them, a suspicion enhanced after she gets evidence that he’s been stalking her. The subsequent shooting murder of an unidentified African and an abduction that strikes close to home raise the stakes. Montclair’s feisty leads continue to develop as psychologically plausible characters. Phryne Fisher devotees will clamor for more. (June)