Berkley, August 2002, 6.50, 272 pp.
Former newspaper columnist turned art dealer Bedford Green is not financially solvent. Greenwich Village in 1925 New York City is jumping even if the gallery Bedford owns is not. Through his assistant, the beautiful Sloane Smith, Bedford is invited to a Vanderbilt society event in Newport, Rhode Island. The family wants him to find out anything he can about a Hungarian using the name of Countess Zola.
All his New York contacts never heard of the woman and when he reaches Newport, the Vanderbilts refuse to discuss her. When Sloane and Bedford skip out on the party to go to the beach, they come across the naked body of a female floating in the water. It turns out to be the body of the mysterious countess and Bedford finds himself investigating who she really was and why somebody wanted her dead.
The second installment in the Jazz Age mystery series is very atmospheric and gives the reader a glimpse of the culture of that period in Greenwich Village. The hero is a very likable and colorful chap who easily hobnobs with the rich and powerful as much as the infamous. The mystery is very complex and multi-layered, making for an enjoyable reading experience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner