cover image A Bottle of Rum: A Spider John Mystery

A Bottle of Rum: A Spider John Mystery

Steve Goble. Seventh Street, $15.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-645060-03-1

In Goble’s superior third early-18th-century mystery featuring Spider John Rush (after 2018’s The Devil’s Wind), Spider and Odin, his friend and former shipmate, are trying to leave their law-breaking days behind them while evading agents of the British Admiralty, which seeks to hang them for piracy. The pair take refuge in a Lymington tavern, whose owner, Thomas Bonnymeade, seems content to leave all the work to his wife, Agatha. One night, after serving dinner, Agatha goes upstairs. When she cries “Murder!,” Spider and Odin, as wanted men, are hesitant to investigate, but when no else will, they go upstairs, where they find Thomas stabbed to death. To his dismay, Spider recognizes the knife sticking out of the dead man’s neck as the property of a young friend of his. Despite the risks of getting involved, Spider sets out with Odin to bring the killer to justice. In a nice twist, the motive is more significant than whodunit. The combination of swashbuckling and deductions remains a winning one. [em]Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Nov.) [/em]