Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Hare's second mystery featuring 1930s jazz singer Lena Aldridge (following 2022's Miss Aldridge Regrets) adds depth to the already-memorable characters introduced in the first installment. In 1936, an unnamed woman falls to her death from a New York City window. Harlem patrolman James Freeman learns the woman was visiting Claudette and Louis Linfield, who'd been hosting a large party in the apartment she fell from. A passport belonging to Lena--who was at the Linfields' soiree, having just moved to New York from London--is retrieved from the victim's hand, leading to Lena's questioning by police. As the investigation unfolds, flashbacks reveal how she came to know the Linfields and recount the story of her late father, Alfie, with whom she used to dream about moving to New York. Hare is particularly good at conveying Lena's confusion as she unearths the family secrets her father kept from her, complicating her perfect image of the man. The main investigation is less exciting than the mystery in the prior book, but the dive into Lena's roots allows Hare to enrich her cast's emotional world. Readers more interested in characters than clues will be pleased. Agent: Nelle Andrew, Rachel Mills Literary. (Aug.)
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Review by Library Journal Review
The second 1930s-set "Canary Club Mystery" from Hare continues to build on Lena Aldridge's story, including how her parents met and the struggles her father faced as a Black musician trying to make it big. After her harrowing journey across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary (chronicled in Miss Aldridge Regrets), English-born Lena feels lonelier than she expected. She has no one and nowhere to go. Luckily, the intriguing musician she met on the ship, Will Goodman, has offered her a place to stay in Harlem. Soon Lena is welcomed into the fold of Will's family and friends and begins to feel like she belongs. But when a body of a woman who looks just like Lena falls from a window, it seems like death has other plans. As a multiracial woman, who is often perceived as white, Lena is able to blend in more but still can relate to her father's trials. Lena is a likable, brave straight talker with whom readers will empathize. The changing POVs keep the mystery alive until the climax, which falls a bit short. VERDICT Recommended for fans of the series and those who enjoy whodunits.--Carmen Clark
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Disembarking from the Queen Mary after a trans-Atlantic tango with murder, a mixed-race British singer finds more of the same in 1936 New York. When the Broadway gig Lena Aldridge has been promised vanishes upon her arrival, she's left with no prospects and little cash on hand. Luckily, Will Goodman, the bandleader she took up with on the crossing, gets her settled with his old friends Claudette and Louis Linfield, a librarian and pediatrician who welcome her into their home with bountiful hospitality. In the absence of steady work, Lena resolves to find out why her father, pianist Alfie Aldridge, left New York to return to London and what became of his sister, Jessie, who's mysteriously vanished. Nor are these the only family ties that keep Lena awake at night, for she doesn't know quite what to make of bartender Bel Bennett, Will's half sister, who seems determined to befriend her, and she has an unexpected and unwelcome encounter with Eliza Abernathy, the birth mother from whom she's long been estranged. Hare, who begins her story with a police officer's discovery of a woman on the point of death after falling or being pushed from a window of the Linfields' third-floor apartment, shuttles back and forth between present-day 1936 and 1908, shortly before Alfie left New York for reasons Lena will be both satisfied and shocked to discover. Most notable for its keenly observed portrait of the intricately layered Black society that flourishes in Harlem. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.