Edgar Award-shortlisted author Ashley Weaver returns with the fourth installment in the Amory Ames mystery series.
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
The demise of famous French parfumier Helios Belanger, who dies shortly after surviving a small plane crash, drives Weaver's sparkling fourth 1930s historical featuring British socialite Amory Ames and her husband, Milo (after 2016's A Most Novel Revenge). Though the death is ruled a heart attack, Milo's former nanny, now employed by the Belanger family, asks Milo and Amory to investigate what she insists is murder. Shortly after arriving in Paris, the couple learn that confusion over Belanger's will has left his son and daughter battling for company control, the formula for their groundbreaking soon-to-be-launched fragrance is missing, and Belanger's young second wife may have a lover. Amory commissions a customized personal fragrance to insinuate herself into the family's lives and business, while Milo creates some mystery of his own by disappearing for inquiries he won't explain. Weaver so thoroughly assigns everyone in the victim's orbit a motive that her plotting feels mechanical at times, but the power skirmishes between these equally clever spouses shine throughout.