Tuesday, September 7, 2021

ARC Review: Crooked in His Ways by S. M. Goodwin

Crooked in His Ways

S. M. Goodwin
Series: A Lightner and Law Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (September 7, 2021)

Description: Perfect for fans of C. S. Harris and Will Thomas, the murder of a wealthy financier unleashes a torrent of deadly secrets in pre-Civil War New York society in S. M. Goodwin's second book in the Lightner and Law mysteries.

Albert Beauchamp disappeared just before Christmas in 1856. When he reappears more than a year later, he's in several pieces, packed in salt in a shipping crate in New Orleans. NYC inspectors Jasper Lightner and his partner, Hieronymus Law, are called in to investigate--but the further they dig into the wealthy financier's background, the dirtier the story gets. On the surface, Beauchamp had a lot of friends. But, as they discover, each had a good reason to hate him.

Beauchamp's last will and testament--stashed away in a safety deposit box, along with a king's ransom in jewels--yields few clues, but Jasper and Hy discover something even more valuable: a little black book filled with names, dates, and a cache of damning details.

Following a trail of leads that reaches back to the early 1840s, the detectives uncover a sordid litany of high society scandals that still threatens the city's moneyed establishment. And the shadowy figure who knows their dirtiest secrets re-emerges with a devious new plan that goes far beyond simple blackmail.

The dark shadows grow longer as Jasper and Hy close in on the truth--and a killer lies in wait for his ultimate prey.

My Thoughts: The second Lightner and Law mystery has the duo investigating the death of Albert Beauchamp who was dismembered, packed in salt, and shipped to New Orleans before being returned to New York City. That would seem to be enough of a mystery, but their boss also wants them to find a lost dog.

As the two men investigate Beauchamp's murder they quickly learn that he was not who he seemed. Seems he had a number of previous names and left a trail of dead wives and financial chicanery behind him. Ledgers discovered when they opened his safety deposit box shows evidence of extortion which widens to pool of those who might want him dead. Even his tenants in the house and carriage house next door have ample reason to want him dead. Things get more complicated when they begin dying too. 

The setting of this story - New York City in 1856 with competing and corrupt police forces - adds a lot to this story. Lord Jasper Lightner is a veteran of the Crimean War who took injuries including a head wound that has caused memory issues. Law is a local boy raised in a Catholic Charity Home after the death of his parents and Grandmother. Their very different backgrounds give a chance to see different parts of the city as they investigate.

I really liked this story. The historical detail was interesting. The characters were well-developed and the plot was nicely twisty. 

Favorite Quote:
Hy tried to picture Lightner in a bowling saloon. He couldn't do it. "I didn't know you bowled, sir."

Lightner smiled up at him. "I'm always l-lookim=ng for n-n-new bad habits."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I read this a while ago and also found it interesting. I liked the background setting too.


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