Last Call at the Nightingale

Katharine Schellman. Minotaur, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-83182-8

Vivian Kelly, the courageous protagonist of this excellent series launch set in 1924 Manhattan from Schellman (the Lily Adler mysteries), shares a tenement apartment with her older sister, Florence. Florence is serious and practical, but Vivian, who loves to drink and dance, is a regular at the Nightingale, a speakeasy, and often comes home at dawn before having to toil as a seamstress during the day. Her friends at the Nightingale, all of whom are distinctive characters readers will care about, include bartender Danny Chin, waitress and singer Bea Henry, and Nightingale owner Honor “Hux” Huxley. When Vivian and Bea find a dead man in the alley behind the club, they wonder if he was a bootlegger, but Hux forbids them to talk about it. After the cops raid the speakeasy, Hux bails Vivian out of jail. In return, Vivian agrees, after the cops find the victim’s wallet with his ID in it, to spy on the dead man’s family to determine whether they can help find the killer. Schellman vividly evokes Jazz Age Manhattan as Vivian proves to be a most imaginative sleuth. Readers will eagerly await her return. Agent: Whitney Ross, Irene Goodman Literary. (June)
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