The last note of warning

Katharine Schellman

Book - 2024

"Prohibition is a dangerous time to be a working-class woman in New York City, but Vivian Kelly has finally found some measure of stability and freedom. By day, she's a respectable shop assistant, delivering luxurious dresses to the city's wealthy and elite. At night, she joins the madcap revelry of New York's underworld, serving illegal drinks and dancing into the morning at a secretive, back-alley speakeasy known as the Nightingale. She's found, if not love, then something like it with her bootlegger sweetheart, Leo, even if she can't quite forget the allure of the Nightingale's sultry owner, Honor Huxley. Then the husband of a wealthy client is discovered dead in his study, and Vivian was the last known... person to see him alive. With the police and the press both eager to name a culprit in the high-profile case, she finds herself the primary murder suspect. She can't flee town without endangering the people she loves, but Vivian isn't the sort of girl to go down without a fight. She'll cash in every favor she has from the criminals she calls friends to prove she had no connection to the dead man. But she can't prove what isn't true. The more Vivian digs into the man's life, and as the police close in on her, the harder it is to avoid the truth: someone she knows wanted him dead. And the best way to get away with murder is to set up a girl like Vivian to take the fall"--

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MYSTERY/Schellma Katharin
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor New Shelf MYSTERY/Schellma Katharin (NEW SHELF) Due Jul 10, 2024
1st Floor New Shelf MYSTERY/Schellma Katharin (NEW SHELF) Due Jul 5, 2024
Queer fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
New York : Minotaur Books [2024]
Main Author
Katharine Schellman (author)
First edition
Physical Description
342 pages ; 25 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

New York City, 1925. Vivian, a dressmaker's assistant by day, works nights at the Nightingale, where the booze flows, the dance floor is packed, and people can escape reality. One day, Viv is delivering a dress to one of her customers, who is not at home. As she's waiting for the woman's return, a man introduces himself as Huxley Buchanan, her client's husband, who then departs to meet a visitor in his office. Tired of waiting, Viv walks past the office on her way out and spots Buchanan lying in a pool of blood, dead. And that's when her nightmare begins. She's accused of killing Buchanan, and the police say she'll go to prison unless the real killer is found. Viv has successfully played amateur sleuth before (in The Last Drop of Hemlock, 2023), but this time, it's her own freedom at risk, and she can't afford to fail. A fine historical mystery that highlights the yawning divide between rich and poor and other social inequalities of the time as well as the glitz and glamour and the edgier, darker aspects of America's Jazz Age.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Schellman's sharp third outing for Vivian Kelly (after The Last Drop of Hemlock) gives the 24-year-old gumshoe one week to solve a murder. In 1920s New York City, Vivian spends her nights pouring drinks at the Nightingale speakeasy and her days working for a small dress shop. Her day job lands her in trouble when she delivers a dress to Evangeline Buchanan's Fifth Avenue mansion for a fitting. With Evangeline absent, her husband, Huxley, pours Vivian a cup of coffee before he's summoned to a business meeting in another room. Vivian dozes off; when she awakens, she rouses an unconscious Huxley, only to find he's been fatally stabbed. The blood that police find on Vivian's hands makes her a prime suspect, but a friend connected to the police commissioner helps spring her from jail and brokers a deal that gives her seven days to track down and deliver the real killer to the authorities. As Vivian races to clear her name, she unearths some surprising connections between Huxley and one of her close friends, leading her to fear the truth might hit close to home. The fair-play plotting takes several clever turns that will keep even the best armchair sleuths on their toes. This continues Schellman's winning streak. Agent: Whitney Ross, High Line Literary. (June)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

The tension builds in Schellman's third Nightingale mystery set during Prohibition (following The Last Drop of Hemlock). Vivian Kelly delivers packages for a dressmaker during the day and spends her nights serving drinks and dancing at the Nightingale, an illegal speakeasy. She never thought she'd be arrested during her day job. While waiting in the home of a client, Vivian idly chats with the client's husband. He is called away for a meeting, but, when Vivian leaves to deliver other dresses, she stumbles across the man's body in his study. Of course, as the stranger in the household, the delivery person no one knows, she is arrested. Vivian calls a connection and gets released from jail, but she's given one week to find the killer, or she'll be arrested for murder. When her boss at the Nightingale says she can't help, Vivian turns to others: a bootlegger, her best friend, and a woman who runs a criminal enterprise. As the days count down, Vivian is desperate to find anything the police will accept as proof that she is innocent. VERDICT The characters and plot come alive in this atmospheric historical mystery. For readers who enjoy a well-told Jazz Age mystery featuring working-class and queer characters.--Lesa Holstine

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A Jazz Age baby can't quit her favorite speakeasy, even (or especially) when murder's involved. Irish immigrant Vivian Kelly is still drawn to the lively Nightingale club after having been entangled in murderous mayhem there in two previous mysteries. The speakeasy's like a second home to her, especially since her sister Florence, a demure seamstress, married Danny Chin and they moved into their own place. Vivian's daytime employment delivering dresses is a lot less fun than her time at the Nightingale. When Vivian visits the Fifth Avenue apartment of the wealthy Buchanans with several boxes, the Mrs. isn't home, but Mr. Buchanan ingratiates himself with Vivian, offering her a drink. The next thing she knows, Vivian drowsily awakens to find Mr. Buchanan dead, a knife in his neck. With a murder charge pending against Vivian, her boyfriend, bootlegger Leo Green, comes to the rescue, getting top-notch lawyer Jacob Dubinski to defend her. Remembering her past successful sleuthing, the police commissioner offers her a week to clear her name. When it's revealed that Honor "Hux" Huxley, the owner of the Nightingale, is Buchanan's daughter and heir, Vivian's path leads right back to her beloved night spot, where Danny works as head bartender and Vivian's best friend, Beatrice Henry, entertains patrons with her vocal stylings. More intimidating are thuggish Bruiser George and icy matron Hattie Wilson. The plot of this buoyant mystery is a bit of a ramble, but Schellman provides a vivid portrait of Prohibition-era New York and keeps the colorful characters coming. A juicy, jazzy period whodunit that charms and occasionally swings. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.