cover image Mad About the Boy?

Mad About the Boy?

Dolores Gordon-Smith, . . Soho Constable, $24.95 (302pp) ISBN 978-1-56947-511-9

Set in 1923, Gordon-Smith’s second Jack Haldean novel (after 2007’s A Fête Worse than Death) vacillates between cozy country-house mystery and attempted comedy-of-murderous-manners, with mixed results. Jack, a former Royal Flying Corps officer who writes detective stories, finds himself knee deep in a real crime after the apparent suicide of a guest at a ball at Hesperus—the lavish estate of the uncle and aunt of Isabelle, the flighty inamorata of Jack’s forgetful friend Arthur Stanton—turns into a homicide case. Before long, Jack, Isabelle and stodgy Superintendent Ashley are also looking into the stabbing death of Lord Lyvenden, a munitions manufacturing rotter, Arthur’s disappearance and nocturnal invasions by Russian terrorists. Those who prefer watered-down Dorothy Sayers will be most rewarded. (July)