The Deadly Hours

Susanna Kearsley, C.S. Harris, Anna Lee Huber, and Christine Trent. Poisoned Pen, $16.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4926-6444-4
A gold watch rumored to be cursed links the plots of the four novellas in this superior anthology. Kearsley starts things off with “Weapon of Choice,” set in 1733 Italy, where Scots travelers Hugh and Mary McPherson get drawn into an effort to foil the assassination of the Duke of Ormonde, who’s been targeted by a loyalist working “for the English Crown.” Meanwhile, the two meet a pirate who possesses a timepiece, La Sirene, made from gold said to have been cursed after it was plundered from a cathedral. A surprising death follows. The watch reappears in 1831 Edinburgh, where Huber’s series sleuth, Lady Darby, is consulted by the head of the city’s largest criminal gang, who believes that it was responsible for a fatal illness that decimated his family. Trent’s entry, “A Pocketful of Death,” set in Edinburgh four decades later, is the standout, as La Sirene stopped working just before three deaths, an impossibility that proves to have a logical explanation. Harris’s contribution, “Siren’s Call,” set in 1944–1945 England, adds the least to the saga. This is a solid introduction to authors who deserve a wider readership. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/20/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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