Amory and Milo Ames are in New York City for the wedding of Amory’s childhood friend Tabitha Alden. It all appears idyllic until a member of the wedding is murdered. Was it due to his involvement with gangsters or did someone closer to him have a reason to see him dead? Amory is determined to see justice done and begins her own investigation.
This latest in the series was a pleasure to read. The plot was very different from any of the previous books, but that was due in a large part to a change in the setting. It definitely gave this one a sense of the period…New York City in the 30’s, with all of the appropriate references…Art Deco, Prohibition, gangsters, sultry jazz singers, and speakeasies. Also, the various personal relationships and the undercurrents of distrust and secrets brought quite a bit of tension to the story.
As usual the characters of Amory and Milo add to the enjoyment. Amory has a depth to her that makes you want to know more about her, and makes you sympathetic to her situation. She is highly intelligent, independent, and we have always known what he motivation is. She is no pushover…well, with everyone but Milo that is. And while Milo is far from one-dimensional , he has his issues. Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy the character and his relationship with Amory, but I was hoping that the character would be more fleshed out this far into the series. You know…depths that had yet to be plumbed; secrets yet to be revealed! Ummm, ok…he’s not a philanderer…but that was obvious. But what else? I had visions of secret police work, spying for the Foreign Office, a cat burglar, anything! But nooooo…it seems he really is just that character who for years has cared only for his own needs; deciding to be the caring husband when it serves his purposes. On well, I still live in hope…
The dialogue is natural, without the cliche posh British expressions you often see. And as this one was set in NY, it avoided the cliche American phrases of the period also. The verbal sparring between Amory and Milo is invariably witty exchanges and clever retorts. There’s no excess of narration where it isn’t needed, so the pacing and rhythm was good.
My only reservation was that this was definitely more Noir than Golden Age. But that’s my issue…not a fan of Noir myself; just too dark for me.
My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur for the advanced reader copy made available for my review.