cover image The Devil’s Evidence

The Devil’s Evidence

Simon Kurt Unsworth. Doubleday, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-385-53936-4

In British author Unsworth’s entertaining second whodunit set mainly in the netherworld (after 2015’s The Devil’s Detective), the Bureaucracy of Hell tasks Thomas Fool, commander of the Information Office of Hell, with identifying the motive behind a series of fatal arsons, an assignment made even harder by the intervention of the Evidence, a newly created rival and more powerful government entity composed of demons. Meanwhile, Fool is dispatched to heaven at the request of its bureaucracy after someone’s neck is broken, a death that some members of the angelic host insist was accidental. More suspicious deaths in heaven follow, and Fool is baffled by tracks that suggest something with claws, scales, and tentacles was responsible. The more Fool learns, the more he believes that the fatalities in both realms are connected, and that the creatures described as looking like dancers may be responsible. The ultimate solution is a fairly clued surprise, and Unsworth’s creative worldbuilding leaves plenty of room for a sequel. Agent: John Berlyne, Zeno Agency. (July)