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The Knowledge: A Richard Jury Mystery by Martha Grimes, Atlantic Monthly Press, US $26.00, Pp 368, April 2018, ISBN 978-0802128010

The Day She Disappeared: A Novel by Christobel Kent, Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux originals, US $27.00, Pp 416, March 2018, ISBN 978-0374279554

The Third Victim: A Novel by Phillip Margolin, Minotaur Books, US $26.99, Pp 320, March 2018, ISBN 978-1250117502

Why Kill the Innocent (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery) by C. S. Harris, Berkley, US $26.00, Pp 336, April 2018, ISBN 978-0399585623

Robbie Parsons is one of the best cab drivers. His family originally came from Africa but he knows the streets of London better than anybody else. He does not need any help from any map or navigator to reach a theater or any other city landmark. As he is waiting for passengers in front of the Artemis Club, an art gallery-cum-casino, a man with a gun in his hand jumps in the backseat of his cab and orders him to drive. That man seemingly has committed a crime and is trying to escape. Robbie Parsons has no option but to take him to the airport. The criminal eventually manages to escape to Nairobi. When Scotland Yard detective Richard Jury reads the news in the Saturday newspaper, he recognizes one of the victims whom he had met only two days earlier. The victim was a professor of astrophysics at Columbia and an expert gambler. Jury feels personally hurt. He decides to pursue the case that is linked to Tanzanian gem mines, a closed casino in Nevada and a pub that only London’s cabbies who have “the knowledge” can find. The Knowledge is a fast-paced crime mystery novel that introduces readers to mean streets of London and international crime gangs. Martha Grimes has weaved a hugely entertaining story around a crime. The Knowledge is probably the most thrilling of the twenty-four Richard Jury Mystery novels.

Martha Grimes is the bestselling author of more than thirty books, twenty-four of them featuring Richard Jury. The recipient of the 2012 Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award, Grimes lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

*****

Beth is known to be a fly-by-night party girl and few trust her. This is why everybody thought she has run off with another man when she disappears. They think she will soon come back like she always did. Her best friend Natalie does not believe this is the case. She believes that something really bad has happened and she is in trouble. She also fears for her life. Natalie hears that Victor, her and Beth’s favorite bar patron, has had a fall and is in hospital. Victor is also very suspicious of what had happened to Beth. As Victor thinks of Beth’s disappearance, he has a bad and hazy memory about her—something dangerous and unusual may be happening to her. The problem for Natalie is that she does not know whom to trust. Slowly gloom and air of uncertainty spread all over the little town in the English countryside. A threat appears lurking in the air. As you read The Day She Disappeared, you feel your pulse is racing faster than ever and you are missing a heartbeat every few second. The Day She Disappeared is an absorbing and captivating crime mystery by a gifted storyteller. Christobel Kent writes beautiful prose.

Christobel Kent was born in London and grew up in London and Essex before reading English at Cambridge. She has worked in publishing and as a TEFL teacher and has lived in Italy, where she set several novels, including The Drowning River and A Murder in Tuscany. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and five children.

*****

The story begins on a dark road in rural Oregon where a driver finds a lone woman who tells the driver that she had escaped from a house where her kidnapper had locked her in along with two other women. With burns and bruises all over her body, the woman appears to have been badly tortured and battered. She tells the driver the other two women died because of the torture but she managed to escape. Her torturer, Alex Mason, is a prominent local attorney. Mason denies the allegations but his wife testifies about his sexual sadism and police find physical evidence of that in the house from where the woman had escaped. Regina Barrister is a renowned criminal defense attorney who is known as ‘The Sorceress’ for her courtroom victories. She has got a secret that can threaten her reputation and profession and she can lose most of her clients. She agrees to defend Alex Mason. Robin Lockwood is a young lawyer and former MMA fighter. She leaves her job as a clerk at the Oregon Supreme Court and joins the offices of Regina Barrister at this critical point in time. The Alex Mason trial is her first experience to fight a high-profile criminal case. It is quite clear that Alex Mason will get the death penalty but Robin Lockwood thinks that Regina Barrister is not behaving as she should and there are gaps between the details in the Alex Mason case. The Third Victim is a heart-wrenching thriller that will capture your attention as you start reading it. It is full of courtroom drama you will not able to forget for a long time. The best thing about The Third Victim is that you will not likely guess the ending until the end. Phillip Margolin is at his best in The Third Victim.

Phillip Margolin has written over twenty novels, most of them were New York Times bestsellers, including Gone But Not ForgottenLost Lake, and Violent Crimes. In addition to being a novelist, he was a long time criminal defense attorney with decades of trial experience, including a large number of capital cases. This is why his stories are closer to the real world. Margolin lives in Portland, Oregon.

*****

Why Kill the Innocent is set in London, England, in 1814. It is cruel, chilly winter when Hero Devlin accidentally stumbles upon the body of a beautiful young musician, Jane Ambrose under tons of snow. The body is covered with frozen blood. Jane Ambrose was a piano teacher to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and heir presumptive to the throne. This creates panic in the palace which immediately shuts down the investigation into the death. But Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero Devlin refuse to allow Jane’s murderer to escape justice. They vow to catch the murderer. This takes Sebastian and Hero Devlin into a world where each player is involved in intrigues and has an agenda. There are a lot of suspects. They have different and interesting reasons for having committed the crime. Many of them are hiding behind the royal court. Sebastian St. Cyr and Hero Devlin understand that they cannot trust anybody. Hero Devlin is not just Sebastian’s wife. In fact, she is a partner in most things. They both investigate the mystery together. Hero’s strong will does not intimidate Sebastian St. Cyr. C. S. Harris brilliantly describes the then prevailing social-political conditions in England. C. S. Harris seems to have done a lot of research to weave this story around the royal family. Why Kill the Innocent is a highly entertaining mystery as the crime happens in the early 19th century when crimes were committed differently and for different motives. Why Kill the Innocent is a stay-up-all-night novel about royal intrigues you won’t be able to put down.

C. S. Harris is the national bestselling author of more than twenty novels, including the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series (Where the Dead LieWhen Falcons FallWho Buries the DeadWhy Kings ConfessWhat Darkness Brings). She also coauthored another thriller series as C. S. Graham with former intelligence officer Steven Harris. She wrote seven award-winning historical romances under the name Candice Proctor.

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