The Last Drop of Hemlock

Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Nightingale Mysteries, Bk. 2). Jun. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781250831842. $28. M
Vivian and Florence Kelly are two Irish sisters who work for a seamstress during the day in 1920s New York City. Vivian feels lucky to waitress several nights a week at her favorite underground jazz club, the Nightingale. But when whispers of suicide go through the club one evening, Vivian will once again be caught up in a murder investigation. A new bouncer, Pearlie, is dead. Pearlie’s niece, the club’s singer Bea, can’t believe it’s suicide. Bea turns to her best friend Vivian for help. They find a bottle that the coroner says was laced with arsenic. They also find a note. Pearlie isn’t the only one in their poor neighborhood to get a note, but the others threaten neighbors unless they turn over a cherished possession—a necklace, a pair of candlesticks, etc. When Florence receives a threatening note, Vivian turns to friends at the Nightingale for help. She’ll do anything to protect her sister, even dealing with powerful mob bosses or crooked cops.
VERDICT The sequel to The Last Call at the Nightingale is a riveting historical mystery set in New York City’s demimonde.
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