cover image A Bed of Scorpions

A Bed of Scorpions

Judith Flanders. Minotaur, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-05646-7

Art and money are the linchpins of Flanders’s enjoyable follow-up to 2015’s A Murder of Magpies. At lunch at a London restaurant with old friend Aidan Merriam, sardonic book editor Samantha “Sam” Clair learns that Frank Compton, Aidan’s partner in the gallery Merriam-Compton, has committed suicide and her boyfriend, Det. Insp. Jake Field, is investigating. Soon questions swirl around the nature of Compton’s death, the business affairs of the gallery, and the upcoming exhibition on the late artist Edward Stevenson, although Sam is preoccupied by her upcoming panel on subsidized efforts in publishing that will include reproductions of Stevenson’s work. Encounters with relatives and associates of Compton and Stevenson provide no further clarity to Sam, and an attempt to run her off the road has both Sam and Jake wondering about Sam’s potential threat to those involved in the case. The finer points of book design, the navigation of Sam and Jake’s relationship, and a tense climax featuring archival shelving units add texture to the narrative. [em]Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Mar.) [/em]