With Free Love, the debut novel in her wickedly diverting new mystery series Annette Meyers wowed readers as she deftly brought the sights and sounds or Prohibition Era Greenwich Village to exhilarating life. Now this accomplished author returns to the roaring twenties, as snow blankets the narrow Village streets and her irrepressible heroine, poet-cum-sleuth Olivia Brown, finds the gaiety of her days eclipsed by the shadow of a ghastly crime that hits much too close to home.
MURDER ME NOW
Happily ensconced in her Bedford Street brownstone, Olivia Brown is having the time of her life: writing sonnets and downing martinis, making conquests and making love. Indeed, she doubts that anything could tempt her away from her Village home until she succumbs to the lure of a house party in Croton that promises sparkling conversation, bucolic views, and plenty of free-flowing gin.
Yet Olivia has barely arrived at the rustic farmhouse of Fordy and Kate Vaude, when the convivial atmosphere takes a decidedly nasty turn. Between the petty squabbles and the jarring silences, the backbiting and the broad hints of marital discord, Olivia can't shake the feeling that something is terribly wrong here. And then she finds the frozen corpse of the Vaudes' nanny, hanging from a tree.
Clearly, the young woman was murdered, and yet as Olivia and her friend, private investigator Harry Melville, join forces to learn why and by whom, they uncover more questions than answers. And when it turns out that the mysterious nanny was not whom she pretended to be, Olivia finds herself rushing headlong into a mystery that will take her from the swank and sophisticated Yale Club to the smoke-filled lair of a bootlegger and into the menacing clutches of the gang known as the Black Hand.
The deeper Olivia probes, the darker the threats. Surrounded by bold-faced danger and ominous smiles, she can't help but wonder: Is the murderer one of the thugs—or one of her friends?
Lavish Praise for Annette Meyers
"Annette Meyers writes of love and murder in old New York better than anybody."
—Lisa Scottoline, author of Mistaken Identity
"Entertaining... a unique amateur sleuth. Meyers's opening gamut will thrill... fans who will want more tales."
—Midwest Book Review
The period details of New York's Greenwich Village in 1920 are just about perfect in Meyers's second book (after 1999's Free Love) about bohemian poet Olivia Brown. Scenes studded with real people like writer/editor Edmund "Bunny" Wilson and gangster Monk Eastman are as sharp and intoxicating as the bootleg gin that Brown and her cohorts swill almost continuously. Time and place leap to life as we move through a wintry landscape of rehearsals at the Provincetown Playhouse, drunken house parties in Croton, intrigue at the Yale Club and endless gatherings at famous restaurants like Chumley's. Brown, who narrates, is a fascinating character, managing to produce excellent poetry reminiscent of Edna St. Vincent Millay while drinking and smoking up a storm, attracting the sexual advances of both sexes (not for nothing is she called "Oliver" by her friends) and putting herself in harm's way by helping her downstairs neighbor, PI Harry Melville, investigate crimes. And if the crime hereDthe murder of a wealthy family's young nanny, who might have once been a Pinkerton agent with possible connections to the Secret Service and the Black HandDturns out to be the least interesting part of the book, that seems a small price to pay for being allowed into the author's elegant historical recreation.