cover image A Murder of Magpies

A Murder of Magpies

Judith Flanders. Minotaur, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-05645-0

Social historian Flanders (The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London) makes her fiction debut with an amusing mystery set in the eccentric world of British book publishing. Samantha “Sam” Clair, a snarky middle-aged editor at London publisher Timmons & Ross, faces serious problems when gossipy journalist Kit Lovell delivers a potentially libelous manuscript with new revelations about the death of fashion icon Rodrigo Alemán. Soon a courier is killed and residences are burgled in attempts to swipe the manuscript, and Sam’s encounters with suave and seedy lawyers as well as Alemán’s brother hint at criminal activities connected to Alemán’s fashion house. When Kit disappears, Sam joins in the investigation with Helena, her elegant solicitor mother, and attractive Insp. Jacob “Jake” Field (a nod to Insp. Charles Field, the model for Dickens’s Inspector Bucket). The array of delightful and believable characters, as well as a neat turn at the end, will leave readers well satisfied and anticipating the next installment. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Feb.)