cover image Lies That Comfort and Betray

Lies That Comfort and Betray

Rosemary Simpson. Kensington, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0911-0

A gruesome crime preoccupies sleuths Prudence MacKenzie, a wealthy heiress, and Geoffrey Hunter, an attorney who was once a Pinkerton detective, in Simpson’s solid second Gilded Age mystery (after 2017’s What the Dead Leave Behind). Someone brutally murders a young woman of Prudence’s acquaintance in the same way as London’s notorious Jack the Ripper. Could London’s scourge have relocated to New York City, or has America spawned its own copycat killer? The police are quick to arrest the victim’s fiancé, but Prudence and Geoffrey aren’t convinced. The duo begin their own investigation, risking their lives in the process. The well-drawn secondary characters cover a broad spectrum of society, ranging from an urban church rectory to the outlying farming communities of Long Island. Simpson’s close attention to the details of daily life lends a feeling of real immediacy and urgency to the quest for the killer. Fans of Anne Perry will find Prudence a worthy American cousin to Charlotte Pitt. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds Literary Agency. (Feb.)