cover image Forgotten City: A Claire Codella Mystery

Forgotten City: A Claire Codella Mystery

Carrie Smith. Crooked Lane, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-62953-767-2

Smith’s solid second Claire Codella mystery (after 2015’s Silent City) opens with the death of 56-year-old Lucy Merchant, a famous musical theater actress turned choreographer suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s. The executive director of Lucy’s ritzy residential care facility claims the Broadway legend died of natural causes, but her daughter, Julia, fears foul play and turns to Manhattan homicide detective Claire for help. Julia doesn’t have enough proof to warrant an official investigation, but Claire, who’s recovering from cancer and has spent the past few months sidelined by her lieutenant, decides to do some off-book digging in the hopes that it’ll lead to a new assignment. What follows is a thoughtfully constructed if somewhat convoluted mystery that tackles such sensitive topics as alcoholism, rape, domestic violence, and bigotry. One secondary character stands out, Lucy’s nighttime caregiver, Brandon; Smith writes with sensitivity and nuance about his experiences as a transgender man. Brandon’s story elevates the rest of the book. [em]Agent: Kathy Green, Kathryn Green Literary Agency. (Dec.) [/em]