Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man

Crooked Lane. (Girl Friday, Bk. 1). Nov. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781639101825. $28.99. M
DEBUT The first “Girl Friday” mystery is a solid debut with a scrappy protagonist. In New York City in 1950, PI Tommy Fortuna is hired by wealthy businessman Tallmadge Blackstone to follow his daughter, Tallulah, who is engaged to Blackstone’s much older business partner. Viviana Valentine, Tommy’s secretary, arrives at the office the day after a party to find a body on the floor and her boss gone. When she calls the police, their first assumption is that Tommy killed the guy and disappeared. Viviana knows Tommy handles tough cases, but she doesn’t believe he’s a killer. She’s roped into the investigation when Blackstone demands answers, and she steps in for her missing boss. Viviana is harassed, followed by a brute she once dated, accused of covering for her boss, and even thrown down stairs, but she won’t let Tommy be railroaded. A couple clues, including one from Tallulah, sets Viviana on the right path so she can confront everyone at a reveal meeting with the cops.
VERDICT Edwards’s strength is in the creation of the setting and atmosphere of New York in 1950. For fans of hardboiled PIs with hearts of gold.
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