Last Nocturne

M.J. Trow. Crème de la Crime, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-130-7
Set in 1878, Trow’s mediocre seventh mystery featuring inquiry agents Matthew Grand and James Batchelor (after 2020’s The Black Hills) opens with an unidentified man poisoning Clara Jenkins, a prostitute, in London’s Cremorne Gardens with a piece of cake, before leaving a copy of a controversial book on birth control in her lap. Jenkins’s murder is the second such killing in 18 months. Grand and Batchelor begin looking into the case, which involves interviewing John Meiklejohn, the disgraced and convicted former inspector who handled the prior case, in which another prostitute was posed with a copy of Moby Dick . Meanwhile, James McNeill Whistler wants the pair to look for dirt on critic John Ruskin, whom Whistler is suing over a negative review of one of Whistler’s paintings. The two investigations eventually overlap, but not in a clever way, and chance leads to the apprehension of the killer. The author’s depictions of real-life characters, including Oscar Wilde, aren’t particularly memorable. Trow has been more consistent in his other series. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/11/2020
Release date: 03/01/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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