by Karen Christino
Paper: 258 pp.
This is an astrological mystery. The pachyderm is not a cute little baby elephant, but rather a carved jewel of great value. And it goes missing. The sleuth who finds out what happened to it is none other than Evangeline Adams. Now Adams was, in her way, a detective, but not in the way envisioned here. This is, of course, fiction, but it’s a very good fit.
The setting is in keeping with Adams’ era in Manhattan, circa 1928. And the story opens with a wealthy businessman, whose wife is Evangeline’s client, being found dead. And meanwhile, there’s the issue of the missing elephant, which Adams herself is accused of stealing. Lots of twists, turns, and tangles, and lots of characters, many of whom are, well, characters. Among these are the rather unpleasant Mrs. Fiske, whose husband is murdered, Evangeline’s assistants Mary and Clara, a group of Hindu monks, a prince (the owner of the elephant) and more. All of this, plus plenty of astrology is woven together in a fast-paced and often funny mystery, written by one of the foremost chroniclers of Evangeline Adams’ life.
Christino is probably the foremost living expert on Evangeline Adams. While this work is definitely fiction, it’s credible fiction. For the most part you could see this happening. No need to suspend belief. The cast of characters, clients, staff, and hangers-on, are fun. I’m sure you will smile with recognition at some of the client antics, though I never had a client show up with a dog, and of course nowadays we don’t need transcriptionists. And yes, you will relate to the astrology too, I’m sure.
If you like mysteries and want a good read, I recommend this. I enjoyed it thoroughly!