cover image Augusta Hawke

Augusta Hawke

G.M. Malliet. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4483-0602-2

This middling series launch from Agatha winner Malliet (the Max Tudor novels) introduces Augusta Hawke, a widowed bestselling mystery author who lives in a “quaint village” in northern Virginia. Her boring routines are shaken up by the disappearance of her neighbors, Niko and Zora Norman. Augusta, a born busybody, thought she heard a woman’s cry from the Norman home before they went missing and can’t resist poking into the police inquiry—or being attracted to the hunky police detective in charge. Her investigation takes her out-of-state and into predictable peril. At the start, revelations about the mental issues of Augusta’s parents suggest she will be a psychologically complex lead, but she turns out to be a Jessica Fletcher–wannabe without that character’s empathy or intelligence. Malliet doesn’t sweat the details, as shown by her having Augusta state simultaneously that her debut book went virtually unnoticed—and was reviewed by the New York Times. This talented author is capable of better. Agent: Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (July)