cover image The Echoes

The Echoes

Jess Montgomery. Minotaur, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-62342-3

The Great War casts a long shadow in Montgomery’s disappointing fourth mystery featuring Kinship, Ohio, sheriff Lily Ross (after 2021’s The Stills). On July 4, 1928, businessman Chalmer Fitzpatrick opens an amusement park named after Lily’s brother, Roger, who died in the war. That night, Pearl Riley, a local spinster, is found murdered in the park’s fishing pond, and Chalmer’s wife, Sophia, finds a month-old infant by their side door. Sophia claims that the baby is the result of an affair between her husband and the dead woman, but Lily doubts Pearl could have hidden her pregnancy. Meanwhile, Lily discovers that her mother, Beulah, has been concealing a secret: Roger fathered a daughter, Esmé, in France, and with Chalmer’s help Beulah has arranged to bring the nine-year-old to America to live with them. When Esmé disappears, evidence that she has been kidnapped adds a high-stakes mystery to Lily’s workload. Esmé is an intriguing addition to the cadre of strong females at the series’ heart, but the welter of minor characters and incidents introduced before crimes occur or detection begins generates more confusion than suspense. This outing will best please existing fans. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, Book Group. (Mar.)