Monday, June 17, 2024

The Last Note of Warning - Nightingale Mysteries #3

The Last Note of Warning is the third historical mystery featuring the prohibition era jazz club The Nightingale written by Katharine Schellman. Released 4th June 2024 by Macmillan on their Minotaur imprint, it's 352 pages and is 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.

This is a well written historical cozy(ish) mystery with an ensemble returning cast of characters and based on a fictitious New York City speakeasy during prohibition. There are a number of gender-fluid, bi-, and otherwise non-traditional presenting characters which was nice to see. The cast is also racially diverse and the story is blissfully without "token" representations. It might not be, strictly speaking, historically accurate, but it was refreshing to read. Other than the kindly wishful anachronistic diverse cast, the book seems to do a good, relatively accurate job with the official/police and political corruption of the time. 

There's a significant romance subplot, so readers who enjoy romance and mystery will find a lot to love here. There is never much security or stability in the main characters' lives, and eschewing society's rigid standards means that MC Viv is again in the crosshairs of lazy/incompetent/corrupt cops when circumstances mean that she is the prime suspect in a high profile murder. She and her allies are forced to band together to clear her name and find the real culprit.

Despite being the third book in the series, it works well enough as a standalone, and the main mystery is resolved in this volume. The language is mostly accurate to the period and adds a lot to the read. It should be noted that the characters do develop over the series and there are references to events from the earlier books which will be spoilers if read out of order (nothing super major, but they're there).

The unabridged audiobook format has a run time of 10 hours, 9 minutes and is well narrated by series narrator Sara Young. She has a warm and rich clear alto voice and does a good job delineating the widely varied accents of a range of characters of all ages and both sexes including elderly and young voices. Sound and production quality are high throughout the recording. 

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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