11/30: That's probably a bit of a lie because tomorrow December starts & the reality is that I never get anything done in December. But I will try.
Reviewers love A Spider on the Stairs:
"Readers who have somehow missed the first three installments of this series are really in for a treat." ~Booklist
“Chan beefs up the mystery while retaining the golden age feel to produce her best work to date.” ~Kirkus Reviews
Best friends Phillip Bethancourt, a wealthy man-about-town, and Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Jack Gibbons are each on their way to Yorkshire over Christmas, though not together. While Bethancourt is returning to his family’s estate to spend the holiday with relatives—a dreaded task—Gibbons must determine whether a particular murder is the work of a serial killer. It looks like it most likely is. As it turns out, Gibbons isn’t on the case for more than a day before the understaffed locals ask him to look in to another.
Jodie Farraday, a former bookshop employee who disappeared about a year ago, is found strangled in that same shop Christmas morning. The modus operandi is similar to the serial killer’s, but not exactly the same. It could be a copycat. It could be a coincidence. Either way, Gibbons could certainly use his good friend’s help as he investigates the citizens of a Yorkshire that has suddenly turned quite deadly. Luckily, Bethancourt is all too eager to escape his own holiday and join the hunt.A Spider on the Stairs—Cassandra Chan’s contemporary re-imagining of the classic English mystery—is not only a tale that is every bit as delightful and charming as the luminaries in this beloved tradition, but by far its most worthy heir.
CHARMING WIDOW WITH A TROUBLING HISTORY
As if by magic, Annette Berowne seems capable of dazzling men from the moment she meets them. But when Annette becomes the primary suspect in her husband’s poisoning death, she arouses entirely different feelings. Now some men feel sorry for her while others are convinced she’s guilty.
PROVIDES TWO DETECTIVES WITH A MYSTERY OF SEDUCTION AND MURDER.
Jack Gibbons is a by-the-book, rising star at Scotland Yard. His friend Phillip Bethancourt is a smart, devil-may-care type with a good heart and a razor-sharp sense of people. When they reach the Berowne manor in Surrey, with its colorful coterie of staff and family, Bethancourt is strangely immune to Annette’s charms. As the two men delve into the case, Gibbons is sure Annette is an innocent damsel in distress. But Bethancourt is only certain of this: his earnest friend is falling in love-with a woman whose lovers keep finding ways to die.
Scotland Yard detective Sergeant Jack Gibbons hears about the death of a middle-aged widower in Chipping Chedding, a small town in the English Cotswolds, and can’t believe his luck. His best friend, wealthy man-about-town Phillip Bethancourt, just so happens to be in Chipping Chedding already, accompanying his model girlfriend on a fashion shoot on a country estate. Since Phillip often indulges his interest in a good mystery by aiding Jack’s investigations, it’s natural he’d do so now.
Though Bingham’s death appears to have been accidental, tracing his movements on the evening of his death proves difficult, and Jack and Phillip begin to suspect foul play. It seems Bingham was going to visit his girlfriend…but no one in Chirping Chedding knows who she is. And when it turns out that Bingham was hiding enormous wealth from his fellow villagers, a whole new crop of suspects begin crawling out of the woodworks…
Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Jack Gibbons has been shot twice, and even after the surgery he isn’t out of the woods and may still be in danger because he can’t remember how it all happened. While his colleagues dig into his personal life, his best friend, Phillip Bethancourt, focuses on his last case, the robbery of a collection of antique jewelry valued at hundreds of thousands of pounds. Although Phillip is a man of leisure---handsome, charismatic, and fantastically well off---he makes a point of tagging along on Jack’s more interesting cases.
But this time it’s different. Not only is it personal, but Phillip will have to fill in the blanks without Jack, and retracing his friend’s steps may put him in the same line of fire.
Trick of the Mind, Cassandra Chan’s third clever outing for these best friends, written in the classic tradition with a delightfully modern voice all its own, is a charming story that mystery lovers are sure to enjoy.