Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder

T.A. Willberg. Park Row, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7783-8933-0
Set in 1958 London, Willberg’s assured debut, which is equal parts mystery and whimsical fantasy, plunges Marion Lane, a first-year apprentice at the shadow spy agency Miss Brickett’s Investigations and Inquiries, into the case of Michelle White, a much-loathed filing assistant, who was stabbed to death with one of the agency’s futuristic spy gadgets. The nature of the murder weapon leads Marion to believe that Michelle had incriminating information on her murderer. But when Marion’s mentor and protector, Frank Stone, comes under suspicion, Marion has to muster her investigative skills and those of her fellow apprentices to prove Frank’s innocence before Frank is sent to live out his days in the Holding Chambers, a forbidding prison for inquirers who have gone rogue. Willberg does an admirable job of worldbuilding, in particular Miss Brickett’s, which exists in an underground labyrinth far beneath the streets of London. Two distinctive supporting characters, best friend Bill Hobb and handsome American love interest Kenny Hugo, compensate for others who fail to pop. Readers will be curious to see where Marion goes next. Agent: Hayley Steed, Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/17/2020
Release date: 12/29/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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