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by Maggie Robinson
Poisoned Pen Press, June 2019
288 pages
ISBN: 1464211353

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Second in the Lady Adelaide Mystery series, WHO'S SORRY NOW? begins with Addie's dead husband's ghost helping Addie and her sister Cee escape from a speakeasy in New York before the police raid it. Cut to London where Bright Young People, including Cee, are fighting boredom and being poisoned, and soon Addie, the dishy Detective Inspector Devenand Hunter, and Rupert the ghost are again working together to stop a murderer before Addie herself becomes a victim.

It's 1925, and Addie has finished her mourning period, so she's able to trade her black clothes for more colorful attire and go out on the town as she works her way into Cee's social group to try to gather clues. After their adventures the previous summer, DI Hunter is reluctant to let Addie get involved again, but he's also unable to resist her persuasive charms. And he's smart enough to recognize good help when he sees it. Addie is able to mix with the young socialites and learn their secrets much more easily than he ever could. And these young people do have secrets. Whether it's illegal drug use or illegal relationships, every member of the crowd Addie encounters seems to be hiding something worth killing to protect, and it takes savvy on Addie's part, smarts on the Inspector's part, and help from Rupert to gather clues and survive a thrilling ending.

As with NOBODY'S SWEETHEART NOW, the first Lady Adelaide mystery, Maggie Robinson works in a good amount of period detail to give veracity to the setting and even bases one of the subplots on an actual "girl gang" of the period. Those period details, subplot red herrings, and increasing attraction between Addie and the Inspector add plenty of interest to the murder mystery. The fact that Addie is a delightful character to follow doesn't hurt, either. And then there's Rupert the ghost. He's required to protect Addie and does a good job both of that and of supplying her with clues she wouldn't otherwise be privy to, but he's also an interesting character in his own right, and Robinson's handling of him is smoother in this second novel than it was in the first. Here, Addie has learned not to carry on conversations out loud with Rupert, at least most of the time, and that cuts down on the awkwardness and keeps others, particularly the Inspector, from thinking Addie is crazy. All in all, this makes having Rupert around more believable—if you're willing to believe in helpful ghosts. And, in this case, why not? He adds a lot to the fun.

Overall, the mystery itself is complicated enough to keep the reader guessing until the end, the danger is believable enough to keep the pages turning, and the main characters, including Rupert, are engaging, making WHO'S SORRY NOW? a fast, entertaining read. As a bonus, a tantalizing conclusion promises more romance and excitement in the future.

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

Reviewed by Meredith Frazier, June 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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