Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Felix Day, author of the Constantine Sphinx mysteries, and Leonard Fuller, author of the Inspector Fez mysteries, are bitter rivals and the best of enemies. Both happen to present when a notorious author of roman à clef is shot by an invisible assailant during a signing at historic Marlborough Bookstore.
Even if they weren’t both suspects, it’s the perfect opportunity to match wits and sleuthing skills.
If only the murderer was equally amused.
Murder Between the Pages by Josh Lanyon combines so many of my favorites elements. You have two main characters who happen to write murder mysteries of the type that were popular in the 40’s (and now, they never go out of style). They both have incredible past histories, war experiences that have marked them severely enough that neither feels suited to a “typical” return to normal life after the war. And of course, you have the murder (sometimes murders) mysteries to be investigated and solved by the end of the story. Romance too, lets not forget.
All wrapped up in a story that involved snappy dialog, beautifully layered characters, and an historical tone and feel that has the post war era all over it. I loved it all, from the author hostilities at the book club over their very similiar detectives to the terms used by gay men to signal their sexuality to each other in the 40’s. Just so well done.
Of course, Josh Lanyon is a favorite author of mine for exactly the same reasons I loved this story. Its short but doesn’t feel that way. Its concise and yet at times, I could slow my reading down and admire the language and descriptions of the men and locations. There’s my regret of a lost character who came and went too soon. He was so well written even for one so briefly known, full-flavored and believable.
And then there’s the mystery. It comes with just the right amount of angst and flair for the dramatic.
I adore stories like this, can’t get enough of them. Luckily I have Josh Lanyon who seems to love writing them as much as I love reading them. Now I can’t wait for the next one to flow off Lanyon’s pen or what have you.
Cover art is superb. Love it too.