I loved Janet Flanders’ A Murder of Magpies, a clever mystery set up London’s publishing world. Samantha (“Sam”) Clair is a marvelous protagonist. Sam is an established, somewhat jaded middle-aged editor with few illusions about her authors. Because she is a woman, middle-aged, competent and unflashy….. Well you can imagine how she is frequently treated and ignored. When a friend goes missing, Sam she proceeds with curiosity and the help of her equally accomplished and exasperating mother and a rumpled detective. Sam’s reactions feel so very human and she looks at things just a little differently because of her own experiences and intellect. The London setting and the politics of the publishing and fashion worlds supply additional substance to this fun mystery. Janet Flanders is clever, funny and charming, and deftly inserts sly feminist touches.
This is the kind of mystery I particularly like. It has great characters with unexpected depth, courage and talents. The settings are interesting, as is the plot. As it happens, the fact that A Murder of Magpies is a mystery is less inportant than the characters and how they interact with each other and their environments. This is a fun, decidedly non-noir story, and I recommend it.