cover image Viviana Valentine and the Ticking Clock: A Girl Friday Mystery

Viviana Valentine and the Ticking Clock: A Girl Friday Mystery

Emily J. Edwards. Crooked Lane, $29.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-6391-0522-9

The sparkling third installment in Edwards’s historical series (after Viviana Valentine Goes Up the River) finds the newly engaged Valentine and her fiancé/investigative partner Tommy Fortuna heading to New York City’s Times Square to celebrate New Year’s Eve in 1950. On the way, the couple witnesses a brutal stabbing in an alley, with only a pair of discarded matchbooks and the dead man’s final words (“Tell Frankie it’s okay”) to point them toward the culprit. Over the next week and a half, Viviana and Tommy investigate the killing while juggling a trio of other cases involving a cryptic blackmailer, a jealous fiancé, and a missing investment banker. Meanwhile, Viviana learns that her all-women’s boarding house is about to close, and discovers key details about Tommy’s upbringing and dark recent past that threaten to derail their engagement. Though the mysteries all find satisfying resolution, readers looking for a pacey plot might be disappointed—what they’ll find instead, however, is cracking dialogue, well-drawn characters, and vivid evocations of mid-century Manhattan. Fans of Ashley Weaver and Mariah Fredericks should check this series out. Agent: Anne Tibbets, Donald Maass Literary. (Nov.)