The Unkept Woman

Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery, Bk. 4). Jul. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781250750341. $26.99. M
In Montclair’s fourth “Sparks & Bainbridge” mystery (after A Rogue’s Company), Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge, owners of the Right Sort Marriage Bureau, are caught up in a murder once again. Both Iris and Gwendolyn are trying to heal from their difficult pasts, Iris from being a spy in World War II and Gwendolyn from losing her husband and her sanity. When a woman is murdered in Iris’s apartment, which is paid for by her former lover, Iris becomes the prime suspect, and both women must work together to find the real culprit despite encountering difficulties in their friendship. Montclair continues to develop Iris and Gwen as characters, portraying their struggles with mental health and relationships with empathy. The snappy dialogue, charming characters, and high stakes will have readers racing through this novel to discover who is truly responsible for the crime. Montclair portrays 1940s speech and culture well, with many allusions to postwar concerns.
VERDICT This will appeal to mystery readers who enjoy humor, historical fiction, and well-written crime-solving teams.
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