A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark

by Harry Connolly

I picked this up after listening to Connolly on the Nerd Book Review podcast being interviewed due to his SPFBO Finalist Novel. I first read his Twenty Palaces Urban Fantasy some years ago when the market wasn’t quite inundated with male/action/UR and really enjoyed it.

This one he described on the podcast as being written in response to the idea that there aren’t many middle aged women UF. And indeed, one of the overriding fun tropes of this book is how Marley Jacobs, a woman of a certain age who is trying to unravel the mystery of her unlikable nephew’s death, is underestimated by all who encounter her. And also how she basically manages people by trying to be nice and calling them “dear.”

So I was basically morally bound to pick this up. (same reason I picked up Catherine Lundoff’s middle-aged werewolf woman novel, Silver Moon and enjoyed it).

So this take on Urban Fantasy is just about as entertaining as you’d expect. Marley is alternately soothing and crabby and satisfactorily clever. Her main foil is provided by a different nephew, an Afghanistan veteran who is learning the supernatural ropes from Marley. POV flip flops between Marley and Nephew with little or no warning, which is not my most favorite thing, but granted is an issue of personal taste.

As I found in Twenty Palaces, there are quite a few groups with skin in the game of the nephew’s murder, causing me to sometimes forget who belonged to which group, as Connolly seems to enjoy complicated political tangles.

But there’s quite a lot to be entertained by here besides the overall trope. Glad I rediscovered Connolly’s books.