Stefanie Pintoff has very quickly established her series about Simon Ziele, set in 1906 New York City, as one of the most enjoyable and compelling historical mystery series around. This third book in the series is as complex and enjoyable as the first two, though it’s slightly different as it uses politics rather than a more personal intertwining of relationships (family in the first one, theater in the second). But it’s all personal, as things turn out, and while the story begins with anarchists, it ends in a completely different place.
Maureen Jennings, well known and respected for her wonderful Inspector Murdoch novels set in Victorian Toronto, has changed things up and moved ahead in time to WWII. Her new novel is set not in Canada, but in Jennings’ native Britain. The setting is a tiny town in Shropshire, the time is just after the “Phoney War”, as Britain teeters on the edge of an apocalypse. Within the town is an interment camp for Germans living in Britain, who have been rounded up as a “precaution.”
Having owned a bookstore for almost 20 years, the number of authors I’ve seen go in and out of print are a number almost too high to count. Often, talent and skill have little to do with publishing success, as the number of out of print authors that I personally feel are excellent writers is also a high number. Jeanne Dams is one of these. She’s the author of the popular (for our customers, anyway) Dorothy Martin mysteries, that were dropped long ago by her publisher, but she was writing another series at the same time, featuring a Swedish maid in 1905 South Bend, Indiana. This series, too, was dropped, but found another home with Perseverance Press, which could be another word for Jeanne’s tenacious writing career. While the Dorothy books had a larger audience, I’ve always been a big fan both of Jeanne and of her series set in South Bend.
Like his first novel, The Detroit Electric Scheme, D.E. Johnson’s second novel featuring the troubled Will Anderson is a richly layered portrait of Detroit in 1911. Poised at the dawn of the burgeoning auto industry, Will’s family owns the Detroit Electric Company, a producer of electric cars. The pricey electrics, quiet and easy to start, were driven mainly by wealthy women, but gasoline cars, cheaper and faster than electrics, are starting to overtake the market, despite the difficulty in starting them. And Henry Ford, with his ceaseless march toward efficiency in the workplace, is overtaking the electric in that way as well. His moving assembly line concept is miles ahead of the way electrics were produced, one bit at a time, carted between workstations.
Carrie Bebris’ charming series following Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett and her Mr. Darcy after their marriage also patterns itself on Austen’s novels. The latest installment is based on Persuasion, and the delightful Anne Elliott from that novel makes an appearance here. What Bebris really utilizes, however, is the setting of Lyme and it’s naval background for her story.
In Austen’s time, of course, England was the top sea power in the world, at a time when ships and shipping were the only way of moving goods overseas. Being a naval officer was an important and respected job, and when one turns up with his eye on Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, in this novel, it’s no surprise either that Georgiana responds to the handsome officer’s friendly overtures, or that her protective brother looks at him askance.