A Murder of Magpies
I love the cover, and although it may look like a typical cozy mystery, it is much more. A Murder of Magpies turned out to be an entertaining read with a delightful style. Samantha Clair is now one of my favorite characters, and I'm sincerely hoping that Judith Flanders will continue to write fiction!
Sam Clair is an editor of women's fiction, not the most prestigious position at her publishing firm, but one that reliably makes money.
The new book by her friend Kit Lowell, however, is causing some concern, and Sam is going to have it checked thoroughly for anything that might be considered libelous. Kit's book is a nonfiction account of a scandal in the fashion industry (complete with murder and money laundering), and although Sam knows that Kit will have evidence for his claims, the manuscript still needs serious vetting by lawyers.
Kit's troublesome expose isn't the only manuscript providing problems, Sam's best-selling author's new book is a complete departure from the kind of book she normally writes, and Sam worries that it will be a complete dud.
When Detective Fielding shows up at her office asking if any parcels she was expecting had failed to appear, Sam is bewildered; she receives contracts and manuscripts aplenty from some 150 authors she looks after, but the authors are not exactly prompt with their deliveries. It isn't as if she "expects" a particular parcel on a particular day. She is unable to provide any help, but she later gives the the idea more thought.
Later Kit calls to tell her his flat has been burgled, and when Kit fails to appear for a lunch meeting, Sam is concerned. Unable to get in touch with him for several days, Sam's anxiety has grown into a terrible fear. If the police aren't especially interested in Kit's absence, Sam will do some investigating on her own.
Judith Flanders provides an interesting peek into the world of editing and publishing, an entertaining cast of characters and dialogue, and a crime novel that offers both suspense and humor.
Flanders was an editor in London for seventeen years. She has also authored several nonfiction books about the Victorian Age. I've added The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime to my Wish List.
Thanks to Minotaur Books for this fun and compelling novel. I love getting a surprise in the mail--especially one as entertaining as this one turned out to be.
Mystery/Crime. 2014. 277 pages.