Book Review: Last Call at the Nightingale

By Katharine Schellman

In 1924 booze and murder were both illegal, but that didn’t stop the drinking or killing. Vivian is a hardworking seamstress by day and a gal that loves a dance and a drink at The Nightingale, an illegal gin joint when the sun goes down. Stepping out in the alley for a breath of air, Vivian and friend Bea see a passed out drunk among the trash. Vivian tries to help the man, but realizes he has not passed out, but has passed on. He is dead. Not only dead, murdered.

Vivian can’t stop thinking of the dead man. She has to find out what happened to him. Her sister Florence doesn’t approve of Vivian’s activities. She has practically raised Vivian after they ended up in an orphanage when they were very young. She thinks Vivian needs to stay home at night and work hard. They are barely scraping by as it is.

When the owner of the bar, Honor Huxley, asks Vivian to help find the murderer. At first Vivian doesn’t agree to become an amateur gumshoe. But curiosity gets the better of her and she begins investigating. Unfortunately, some very bad guys get wind of her poking her nose into other people’s business and are hellbent to stop her. She is over her head in trouble, but still insists she will find out who and murdered the man in the alley and why. But at what cost?

This cozy mystery is different than others as it is set in the early 1900’s with the lead character doing something illegal. Oftentimes cozies have a connection to law enforcement, a boyfriend or close relative they can rely on for clues. Vivian is on her own, with the bouncers at the speakeasy and her friends as the only backup. I loved the setting and characters. The whole package of setting, characters and situations was interesting and entertaining. I hope there are many more in this series.

This is the first book I’ve read by Katharine Schellman. She was a political consultant and stage performer, and lucky for readers, she writes stories. Her debut novel, The Body in the Garden, is a historical mystery and was named a Suspense Magazine Best Book of 2022. Last Call at the Nightingale is the first book in Nightingale Mysteries Series. I cannot wait to read the next book.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the Author and Netgalley and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2022 Laura Hartman

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Filed under Book Review, cozy mystery, Mystery

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