cover image Monkey Wrench

Monkey Wrench

Liza Cody. Mysterious Press, $18.45 (246pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-600-4

Like Miss Marple and Lord Peter Wimsey, Eva Wylie, introduced in Bucket Nut, is a character of such convincing reality, it's hard to believe she doesn't exist somewhere. She also, like them, inhabits a fully believable world, but hers revolves around a gym--she's a villainous female wrestler--and two vicious watch dogs in the toughest part of London. Nicknamed the London Lassassin, the deeply moral Eva finds her personal code put to the test when the diminutive, monkey-faced Crystal, the closest thing to a friend Eva will allow herself, asks for help in finding and punishing her prostitute sister's killer. Eva reluctantly agrees--and ends up paying a high personal price. What propels this unconventional mystery (in which Cody's other series heroine, Anna Lee, briefly appears) is less the need to discover whodunit than the power of Eva's voice as she tells her story: menacing, barely in control of her rage, but also vulnerable, funny and on the side of the angels. The pace is breathless and jittery, much like the London Lassassin herself, who is a singular treasure. (May)