cover image The Hanging Tree: A Rivers of London Novel

The Hanging Tree: A Rivers of London Novel

Ben Aaronovitch. DAW, $7.99 mass market (336p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0967-8

Aaronovitch’s sixth supernatural police procedural featuring Peter Grant (after Foxglove Summer) is another superior blend of mystery and wry humor. Grant, who is one of just two people in London authorized to practice magic, is asked by an acquaintance, Lady Cecelia Tyburn-Thames, to make sure that her adolescent daughter, Olivia, is not implicated in the homicide investigation into the fatal overdose of a friend, 17-year-old Christina Chorley. The aristocrat also insists that Grant keep her request confidential, which he promptly ignores. When Grant looks into the death, he finds evidence that the dead teenager had been practicing magic, without permission, at the time of her death. His pursuit of the truth ends up leading to a ledger kept by legendary Victorian criminal Jonathan Wild, which may indicate where Isaac Newton’s lost alchemy papers can be found. The worldbuilding is both clever and funny, and Grant continues to be an interesting hero. (Feb.)