cover image Mr. Flood’s Last Resort

Mr. Flood’s Last Resort

Jess Kidd. Atria, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5011-8063-7

The gothic plot of this murder mystery (following Himself) about an Irish caregiver and her client, a cantankerous, widowed hoarder, boasts Kidd’s darkly comic sensibility, atmospheric writing, and colorful characters. Maud Drennan has lasted longer than the “geriatric whisperer brought in at great expense from a better agency” to assist Cathal Flood, whose historic West London house is bursting at the seams. If she can’t make both presentable, Cathal’s estranged son will move him into a home. Maud also begins investigating Cathal’s wife Mary’s death: did Mary actually tumble down the stairs, or is Cathal a modern Bluebeard, hiding bodies behind the Great Wall of National Geographics? What Maud uncovers in the course of her increasingly dangerous efforts may prove that true. Suspicious, agoraphobic landlady Renata injects a nice dose of absurdity to the tale. Less successful is a subplot about Maud’s childhood. Still, there are plenty of twists and perilous turns to keep the narrative moving. Kidd’s novel features a winning combination of descriptive writing, black humor, and biting dialogue. (May)