An entertaining and smart book with lots of well-researched historic details. Maggie Hope is a British citizen who was raised in the US by a maiden aunt. She comes to London reluctantly before beginning graduate school at MIT to deal with some real estate issues, but ends up staying to support the war effort as a typist for Winston Churchill. She shares the family home with a group of high-spirited young women, and the depiction of their domestic lives in the months leading up to England's declaration of war on Germany is a good part of the fun.
A new series, set in San Francisco in 1879, featuring Annie Fuller, a young widow who supplements her income offering advice as Madame Sibyl and running a boarding house. One of Annie's clients, Malcolm Voss dies mysteriously, and Annie must assume the role of a household servant in the Voss house to investigate his death and the disappearance of his assets. An easy, enjoyable mystery, rich in historic detail.
I didn't much like the main characters in the book, Lucia, her daughter, Violet, and her daughter Flora. Each made some dreadfully bad choices and had some dismal luck. They didn't become likable until the end. But Lucia and Violet made these rotten choices in the context of life in courtesan houses in Shanghai during the first half of the 20th century, which was fascinating, and some of the supporting cast were favorites of mine.
Part comic mystery, part twisted romance, with a light sprinkling of paranormal, this is an odd amalgam of styles and genres. Detective Constable Kathleen Doyle can tell when someone is telling the truth or lying, making her a handy partner in an interrogation. DCI Michael Sinclair, Lord Acton, is obsessed with her, which oddly enough she doesn't seem to mind. Together, while each keeping his or her own secrets, they investigate a series of homocides which just might be linked.
I liked this book quite a bit, though I agonized over Barbara Havers being such a lunkhead for such a prolonged period of time. At the end of Believing the Lie, Angelina Upman had absconded with Taymullah Azhar's daughter Hadiyyah, after spending months seducing both Azhar and Barbara into trusting her. In Just One Evil Act, Barbara does everything she can, and many things she shouldn't, to help Azhar find and reclaim his daughter. Perhaps the precipitating evil act is Angela's abduction of Hadiyyah, but almost everybody in the book has to deal with the repercussions of their own bad deeds.
Lansdale can pretty much do it all. This novel is set in East Texas during the early 20th century, when indoor plumbing, phones and automobiles are rare but not unknown. After Jack and Lula's parents die in an influenza epidemic, their grandfather tries to get them to their aunt. But on a ferry run enterprisingly by the same man who burned the bridge that used to take people across the river, the trio runs afoul of some very bad men and some extreme weather. Jack must try to rescue Lula from these desperados, with the self-interested assistance of a dwarf, an ex-slave, a retired prostitute, a sheriff turned bounty hunter, a handyman who should have known better than to fall in with this lot, and a smelly, cantankerous hog. Humorous, grisly, violent and a lightning fast read.
It took me a long time to finish this book because it was so painful to watch Claire self destruct, in the present day as a Silette-ist detective trying to solve the mystery of the murder of her former lover Paul, and in the past as a young woman trying to locate a missing friend, Chloe. Gritty, grotesque, and wise.