Title: An Act of Villainy: An Amory Ames Mystery
Author: Ashley Weaver
Genre: Historical Mystery, Mystery
Edgar Award-shortlisted author Ashley Weaver returns with the fifth installment in the Amory Ames mystery series.
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.
Amory and Milo find themselves in a dramatic mystery filled with ingénues, leading men and a killer on the loose. Leaving the theatre one night, Milo and Amory run into wealthy investor Gerard Holloway. He invites them to a dress rehearsal of his upcoming play. Amory readily accepts. Little do they know Amory’s about to star in a murder and when the curtain falls, she could very well be the next victim.
Move over Nick and Nora Charles, Amory and Milo have taken your place. In classic 1930’s chic style, An Act of Villainy reads like a Thin Man comedy with smart dialogue, a trope of cagy suspects, sophisticated amateur detectives and instead of a fluffy dog, the Ames have a cuddly monkey. Cloak and dagger false clues kept me riveted and when the murderer was unveiled, shock erupted from my lips.
Highly recommend, especially if you love Agatha Christie and screwball mysteries set in the 1930’s. I can’t wait to read more from this series!
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from St. Martin’s Press (Minotaur Books) via Netgalley in the hopes I’d review it.
My Rating: 5+ stars
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Ashley Weaver is the Edgar-nominated author of the Amory Ames Mystery series. She has worked in libraries since she was fourteen and was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University. A former branch manager, she is now the technical services coordinator at the Allen Parish Libraries in Oberlin, Louisiana. Murder at the Brightwell was her first novel.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N