Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: In Death #56
Publication Date: 2/7/23
Period: Future 2060’s New York
Number of Pages: 400
This author nails it with another enigmatic, puzzling mystery to be solved by Lt. Eve Dallas, Detective Peabody, Roarke, and the rest of the crew at the New York City Police and Security Department (NYPSD). While most of the books in the series are thrilling, hold-your-breath, suspenseful jaw-breakers, this one is a more sedate police procedural. It is an intriguing mystery, but you won’t be sitting on the edge of your seat and rapidly flipping the pages to see what happens next. This story, this villain, this victim doesn’t lend itself to that thrilling, suspenseful set of mind. It is to be read, savored, examined, digested and thought through as you are trying to uncover the murderer right along with Eve. There are plenty of very believable red herrings along the way before you get to the final reveal. Will it surprise you? Maybe – probably? I had a good idea of who it was a good bit earlier than it was revealed – but I wasn’t sure – and that is why it is so much fun.
Renowned stars of stage and vid, Eliza Lane and Brant Fitzhugh are hosting a gala event at their home. They’ve been married for almost ten years and are still in love and devoted to each other. What better time to throw a party than at the launch of two new projects that will be milestones in both of their careers? Unfortunately, for Brant, that means he has to leave the next morning and spend the next six months filming in New Zealand while Eliza stays in New York and opens a new play in a role she’s coveted for a quarter of a century.
Also, unfortunately for Brant, he won’t survive the party. He holds up his champagne cocktail glass to salute his wife, places his other hand over his heart, takes a sip, and falls to the floor. Cyanide! Who? How? Why? Brant was actually a genuinely nice, caring man who was beloved by all who knew him. And yes, it stays that way throughout the story. He didn’t put on airs; he helped people however he could; he remembered people’s birthdays; he played cards with the stage hands; he helped other performers get roles they wanted. Yes, a genuinely good man, and it broke my heart that he died.
Was Brant truly the intended victim? Could Eliza have been the target? Did it really matter which of them died as long as someone in the household was harmed? Hmmm – lots of questions and few answers. You’ll just have to read the book to find out who and why.
I always love it when Roarke is front-and-center in the story, but he wasn’t as active a participant in this book as he has been in some others. I mean – goodness – you can never have too much Roarke. As always, I love Eve. The banter between Eve and Roarke and their sense of humor is a wonderful enhancement for each book. One of my favorite Eve attributes is her consternation at/with old sayings/adages/phrases. She just doesn’t get them and is always butchering them one way or another. Things like – Curtain Call – Eve says, “Why is it a call? Nobody’s calling anybody.” Or Red-Letter Day “Why isn’t it ever a blue-letter day, or a green-letter day?” There are always several of these in each book and they are always highly entertaining and greatly lighten the mood if it is dark.
Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb is a prolific writer and I have no idea how she writes as many books as she does while keeping them all fresh and new. This was not my favorite book of the series, but it was an excellent read and I definitely recommend it. I lean more toward those thrilling, fast-paced, can’t-put-it-down kinds of books rather than those that are more slow-paced – but all of them – including this one – are excellent reads.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.