cover image Rusted Souls: A Tom Harper Mystery

Rusted Souls: A Tom Harper Mystery

Chris Nickson. Severn House, $31.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4483-1179-8

Leeds constable Tom Harper tackles a trio of cases on the eve of his 1920 retirement in Nickson’s standout 11th historical whodunit featuring the investigator (after 2022’s A Dark Steel Death). Alderman Thompson, who helped secure Harper’s position with the Leeds city police, has received a demand for £50 in exchange for the return of letters he wrote to his mistress, and he’s enlisted Harper to help find the letters and ward off the extortion. Meanwhile, Leeds has been rocked by a string of armed robberies targeting local jewelers, the latest of which turned deadly, and Harper learns that an all-female shoplifting and pickpocketing gang is headed for the city as well. It’s a lot of balls to keep in the air, and Nickson juggles them ably while leaving room to explore Harper’s tender relationship with his wife, Annabelle, who’s slowly succumbing to senility. It all culminates in a knockout conclusion that showcases Nickson’s unique blend of intricate plotting and well-rounded character development. Series devotees will be thrilled. Agent: Tina Betts, Andrew Mans Literary. (Sept.)