cover image The Right Sort of Man

The Right Sort of Man

Allison Montclair. Minotaur, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-17836-7

Set in 1946 London, Montclair’s stellar debut and series launch introduces an unlikely pair of detectives. Gwen Bainbridge, whose husband died during WWII, lives with her late husband’s parents, who managed to get legal custody of her six-year-old son, Ronnie. Gwen and Iris Sparks, a former operative for British intelligence, run the Right Sort Marriage Bureau. Their innocuous business becomes less so after client Tillie La Salle is stabbed to death shortly after her particulars were provided to Dickie Trower, a shy accountant. Dickie is charged with Tillie’s murder, his purported motive anger over the cancellation of their first date. Convinced that the wrong person is behind bars and facing intensely negative press, Gwen and Iris investigate Tillie’s death. They soon find plausible alternative motives, including fallout from the dead woman’s involvement in the black market and a former beau’s jealousy. Both leads are complex, well-developed characters, whose penchant for humorous byplay never comes at the expense of the plot, which resolves itself in a clever fair play reveal. Fans of Maisie Dobbs and Bess Crawford will be delighted. (June)