Richard Osman, The Bullet That Missed
The Thursday Murder Club is back at it, this time investigating the cold case of a murdered journalist. But things heat up when a prisoner connected to the journalist’s last big story is found dead in her cell. Meanwhile, Elizabeth faces a threat from a mysterious “Viking” who attempts to blackmail her into killing a former associate. New romances blossom for Ron and Donna, Stephen’s memory loss worsens, and Ibrahim becomes Connie Johnson’s psychiatrist. As with previous installments of the series, this novel is a lot of fun and treats its quirky characters — even the criminals — with warmth and charity. The plot does get a little overwrought toward the end, but I still liked the book a lot and will certainly continue with the series.
Sherry Thomas, The Art of Theft
In this installment of the Lady Sherlock series, the maharani of a small Indian kingdom — and an old flame of Mrs. Watson’s — needs help. She’s being blackmailed and needs to recover some sensitive letters, which are currently hidden in the frame of a valuable painting that will soon be auctioned off at a French chateau. So Charlotte Holmes & co. decide to infiltrate the auction and steal the painting so they can retrieve the letters, but of course everything is more complicated than it seems. I love a good heist story, so I was predisposed to enjoy this book, but I have mixed feelings. The pacing feels off; not much happens until about 75% of the way through, and then it’s plot twist after plot twist. I also find myself getting frustrated with Charlotte and Lord Ingram, since the obstacles to their romance seem pretty flimsy at this point. On the other hand, I did like seeing the whole gang (i.e., everyone I care about) together, and I’m invested in what happens to these characters. So I’d still recommend the series, but you definitely need to start with book one!
Naomi Novik, The Golden Enclaves
***Warning: SPOILERS for previous books in the series!***
At the end of The Last Graduate, El graduated, saved the entire student body, and sent a huge percentage of the world’s mals spinning into the void. But none of that matters to her right now, because Orion voluntarily stayed behind to get eaten by a maw-mouth. Devastated, El doesn’t know what to do with herself, until she learns that enclaves around the world are being attacked, and her unique powers may be their only hope. Meanwhile, she decides she needs to put Orion out of his misery, which means she’s not quite done with the Scholomance after all. I’ve enjoyed this series and think this last book is a fitting conclusion. As with the Temeraire series, there are pacing issues, and some developments came out of nowhere. The plot takes some very dark and dramatic turns, but I was satisfied with how things turned out. I’d recommend this trilogy if the premise appeals to you, but you definitely need to read it in order!