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by Maggie Robinson
Poisoned Pen Press, November 2018
241 pages
ISBN: 1464211116

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

It's 1924, and Lady Adelaide Compton has invited a few friends and family to her country home to help her begin her slow return to society after mourning her husband. Well, if the truth were known—and it generally is—Addie may be required to be in mourning, but she's not actively mourning Rupert's passing. The rogue survived the war only to kill himself and his current mistress in a car crash, so it's more than a little irritating when his ghost appears and starts to reveal more about Addie's friends than he should know or she wants to know. The convivial gathering gets decidedly more fraught when two corpses show up on Addie's property, a handsome Anglo-Indian inspector arrives to smooth ruffled high-society feathers, relationships start to falter, Addie begins to doubt her sanity, and everyone in the house party is considered a suspect in the two murders.

The setting and time period of NOBODY'S SWEETHEART NOW are engaging, and Maggie Robinson does a nice job of sprinkling in historic references to set the tone of the novel and keep it grounded in place without dispensing history lessons., Overall, her characters are fun to follow, even if they aren't particularly deeply drawn. Addie herself is charming, and Inspector Dev Hunter is smart and likable. They work well together to solve the mystery, and there's more than a little hint of romance between them which adds to the fun.

Rupert's ghostly presence is a convenient way for Addie to learn vital information, but her inability to keep quiet around him seems taken a bit too far. Since only Addie can see the ghost, she finds herself frequently making what appear to be inappropriate comments and is overheard talking to herself, giving the impression that she's a bit barmy when she otherwise comes across as an intelligent, socially aware woman. All in all, though, the story is fun, the plot is nicely complicated by a number of subplots, and the end is surprising. If you're looking for some light holiday reading with characters you enjoy spending time with this debut novel in a new series could be just what you need.

§ Meredith Frazier, a writer with a background in English literature, lives in Dallas, Texas

Reviewed by Meredith Frazier, October 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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