cover image Death Under a Little Sky

Death Under a Little Sky

Stig Abell. Harper Paperbacks, $18.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-338099-8

Abell (How Britain Really Works), former editor of the Times Literary Supplement, makes his fiction debut with this impressive mystery about a London DI who’s dragged out of early retirement. Det. Insp. Jake Jackson’s uncle Arthur has died, leaving Jackson a large estate in a remote slice of the British countryside, plus enough money to live on without working. With Jackson’s personal life at a crossroads following the end of his marriage, he eagerly snaps up the opportunity to leave the city and enjoy some solitude. His new routine of swimming in the property’s lake and thumbing through crime novels is disrupted, however, by the discovery of human remains during an annual local treasure hunt. When it becomes clear that the bones may be linked to a decade-old cold case, Jackson teams up with Liva, the local veterinarian—with whom he senses some romantic sparks—to investigate. Abell attacks the familiar setup with mesmerizing prose (in a prologue, he describes the setting as “too forgiving for those with malign intent, [where] you can disappear into the twilit softness with great, alarming ease”) and a devilishly constructed plot. Kate Atkinson fans will be in heaven. Agent: Cathryn Summerhayes, Curtis Brown. (Jan.)