Skelton's Guide to Suitcase Murders is the second outing for intrepid barrister Arthur Skelton and his faithful clerk Edgar presented by David Stafford. Released 22nd April 2021 by Allison & Busby, it's 352 pages and available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately; it makes finding phrases or passages so much easier when reading.
The story arc is unusually well plotted, with a plethora of possible suspects and motives for several disparate plot-lines which interweave and culminate in a satisfying and well written denouement. Even the secondary characters are very finely drawn including Skelton's clerk, and his wife (a fervent feminist and lady gym master and something of a badass).
I loved the interplay between Arthur and his clerk and his trepidation at crossing his lady wife without good reason. Although he's a bit hapless, he's a tenacious and honourable protagonist and I enjoyed seeing him develop even more in this second installment of what I *fervently* hope will be a long series. Although this is the second book in the series, it's a good standalone story. I heartily recommend acquiring the first book as well, as this is a series which was strong straight out of the gate and in my opinion continues to improve.
Much like the first book in the series, the author's notes at the end of the book are absolutely worth a read. I liked his fictionalised murder and the ending. A caveat, however: don't read the historical notes before the actual story - there are major spoilers.
A lovely and entertaining mystery. Four stars.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.