As they travel by ship to New York for her childhood friend Tabitha’s wedding, Amory Ames gazes out at the city’s iconic skyline, excited by the prospect of being a bridesmaid. Her husband Milo, however, is convinced their trip will be deadly dull, since Prohibition is in full swing. But when a member of the wedding party is found murdered on the front steps of the bride’s home, the happy plans take a darker twist.
Amory discovers that the dead groomsman has links to the notorious—and notoriously handsome—gangster Leon De Lora, and soon she and Milo find themselves drawn into another mystery. While the police seem to think that New York’s criminal underworld is at play, Amory feels they can’t ignore the wedding party either. Tabitha’s fiancé Tom Smith appears to be a good man, but he has secrets of his own, and the others in the group seem strangely unaffected by the death of their friend . . .
In an unfamiliar city, not knowing who they can trust, Milo and Amory are drawn into the glamorous, dangerous world of nightclubs and bootleggers. But as they draw closer to unraveling the web of lies and half-truths the murdered man has left in his wake, the killer is weaving a web of his own.
“A pleasant reminder of Golden Age mysteries that keep you guessing until the denouement.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Fascinating and stylish characters fill out a finely tuned traditional mystery.” —Publishers Weekly
“Well, darling, who do you suppose will turn up dead this time?”
With two murder investigations behind them and their marriage at last on steady ground, Amory and Milo Ames intend to winter quietly in Italy. The couple finds their plans derailed, however, when Amory receives an urgent summons to the English countryside from her cousin Laurel. At Lyonsgate, the country house of Laurel’s friend Reginald Lyons, Amory and Milo are surprised to discover an eccentric and distinguished group of guests have also been invited, led by the notorious socialite Isobel Van Allen.
After years of social exile, Isobel has returned to England to write a sequel to her scandalous first book, the thinly fictionalized account of a high society murder at the very country house to which the Ameses have been called. Her second incriminating volume, she warns the house’s occupants—all of whom were present when one of their companions was killed years ago—will tell everything that really happened that fateful night. But some secrets are meant to stay buried, and when a desperate person turns to murder, it’s up to Amory and Milo to sort through a web of scandal and lies to uncover the truth, and the identity of a killer.
Also out now in the Amory Ames mysteries: Murder at the Brightwell and Death Wears a Mask
The Essence of Malice is filled with her trademark style, wit and clever plotting, sure to delight and charm traditional mystery fans.
"In this highly enjoyable and engrossing mystery, Ashley Weaver—with her sure touch for evoking elegance and glamour—wafts her appealing and determined heroine Amory into the world of perfumers, family secrets and the heady whiff of murder. I loved the evocation of scents, skilful shifts of suspicion and the satisfying conclusion." —Frances Brody
“The scent of murder and betrayal fills the Paris air . . . The climactic surprise makes this the best of her mysteries to date.” —Kirkus Reviews
“For pity’s sake, darling, let me finish my coffee before you begin concocting schemes.”
When Amory Ames’s husband Milo receives a troubling letter from his childhood nanny, Madame Nanette, the couple travel to Paris where they become embroiled in a mystery surrounding the death of a famous parfumier. Helios Belanger died suddenly, shortly before the release of his new, highly anticipated perfume, and Madame Nanette, who works for his family, is convinced that her employer’s death was not due to natural causes.
The more Amory and Milo look into the motives of industry rivals and the Belanger heirs who are vying for control of his perfume empire, the more they are convinced that Madame Nanette may be right. When secrets unfold and things take a dangerous turn, Amory and Milo must work quickly to uncover the essence of the matter and catch a killer before the scent goes cold.
Also out now in the Amory Ames mysteries: Murder at the Brightwell, Death Wears a Mask and A Most Novel Revenge
An Act of Villainy is an a gem, set in 1930s London and filled with style, banter, and twists that traditional mystery fans will positively relish.
"So you've gotten yourself involved with another murder, have you?"
Walking through London’s West End after a night at the theater, Amory Ames and her husband Milo run into wealthy investor and former actor Gerard Holloway. Holloway and his wife Georgina are old friends of theirs, and when Holloway invites them to the dress rehearsal of a new play he is directing, Amory readily accepts.
However, Amory is shocked to learn that Holloway has cast his mistress, actress Flora Bell, in the lead role. Furthermore, the casual invitation is not what it seems—he admits to Amory and Milo that Flora has been receiving threatening letters, and he needs their help in finding the mysterious sender. Despite Amory’s conflicting feelings—not only does she feel loyalty to Georgina, but the disintegration of the Holloways’ perfect marriage seems to bode ill for her own sometimes delicate relationship—her curiosity gets the better of her, and she begins to make inquiries.
It quickly becomes clear that each member of the cast has reason to resent Flora—and with a group so skilled in the art of deception, it isn’t easy to separate truth from illusion. When vague threats escalate, the scene is set for murder, and Amory and Milo must find the killer before the final curtain falls.
Also out now in the Amory Ames mysteries: Murder at the Brightwell, Death Wears a Mask, A Most Novel Revenge, and The Essence of Malice.