Silence in the Library

Crooked Lane. (Lily Adler Mystery, Bk. 2). Jul. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781643857046. $27.99. M
Lily Adler, a widow living in 1815 London, is appalled to see a commotion in front of her home. Her father, George Pierce, has arrived unexpectedly, planning to stay with Lily while he visits doctors. The two don’t get along, so she escapes, offering to visit her father’s old friend Sir Charles Wyatt, who has recently remarried. When they arrive, Lily and her late husband’s best friend Captain Jack Hartley discover a great deal of tension in the Wyatt household, where Sir Charles’s son Frank is rude to his new stepmother, and Frank’s cousin Percy has just stolen money from his uncle. That’s nothing compared to the uproar when Sir Charles is found dead the next day. The Wyatts claim that he fell, but shrewd Bow Street constable Simon Page knows he was murdered and enlists the help of Lily and Jack. He believes the Wyatts might confide in them, even as they ignore Bow Street. Despite his disapproval of her lifestyle, Lily enlists her father’s help for a final showdown with a killer.
VERDICT Although the second “Lily Adler” mystery (after The Body in the Garden) incorporates issues of racism, classism, women’s independence, and neurodiversity, Schellman never forgets that it’s a mystery. The fast-paced, engrossing story has a climactic confrontation worthy of Rex Stout or Agatha Christie.
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