cover image A Whisper of Bones: A Jane Lawless Mystery

A Whisper of Bones: A Jane Lawless Mystery

Ellen Hart. Minotaur, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-08865-9

In MWA Grand Master Hart’s intricate 25th Jane Lawless mystery (after 2017’s Fever in the Dark), Penn State genomics professor Britt Ickles approaches Minneapolis PI Jane with a puzzle. Although Britt remembers playing with her cousin Timmy when she was a child at the Saint Paul home of her aunts, retired nurse Eleanor Skarsvold Devine and retired waitress Lena Skarsvold, they deny that Timmy ever existed. Britt asks Jane to find out what happened to Timmy. When Jane rents a room at the aunts’ house, she discovers that Lena is a hostile alcoholic; Eleanor’s depressed son, Frank Devine, is having marital problems; the next-door neighbor, Butch Averil, is a constant visitor; and the other new tenant, Quentin Henneberry, is fond of electronic surveillance. Amid rumors that the house is haunted, the aunts’ garage is torched, and bones are discovered under the garage floor. Although a coincidence pertaining to Butch strains credulity, some neat misdirection, an engrossing plot, and the outsize presence of Jane’s best friend, Cordelia Thorn, ensure reader attention to the end. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider Literary. (Feb.)