A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.
The Last Bookaneer, by Matthew Pearl (Penguin), imagines the world’s most notorious literary pirate of the 1890s, Pen Davenport, setting off for the South Pacific island of Samoa with his more wide-eyed aide, Fergins, to filch a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s last novel and get it into print before a new international treaty curtails their lucrative, if illicit trade. However, they aren’t the only “bookaneers” in feverish pursuit of the dying Stevenson’s work. The Fatal Flame (Putnam), the final book in Lyndsay Faye’s trilogy about 1840s New York City “copper star” Timothy Wilde, finds our hero trying to protect a corrupt Tammany Hall official under threat by a far-reaching arsonist, and also help an orphaned girl in whose enigmatic memories may hide the identity of the person or persons responsible for Gotham’s frightening recent blazes.
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