The Midnight Hour: Book summary and reviews of The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths

The Midnight Hour

Brighton Mysteries #6

by Elly Griffiths

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths X
The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths
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  • Published Dec 2021
    352 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

    Paperback Original.
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Book Summary

The Brighton police force is on the hunt for another killer, but this time they have some competition - a newly formed all-women's private eye firm, led by none other than the police chief's wife.

Newly minted PI Emma Holmes and her partner Sam Collins are just settling into their business when they're chosen for a high-profile case: retired music-hall star Verity Malone hires them to find out who poisoned her husband, a theater impresario. Verity herself has been accused of the crime. The only hitch—the Brighton police are already on the case, putting Emma in direct competition with her husband, police superintendent Edgar Stephens.

Soon Emma realizes that Verity's life intersects closely with her own—most notably in their mutual connection, Max Mephisto, who has returned to England from America with his children and famous wife, Hollywood star Lydia Lamont. Lydia, desperately bored in the countryside, catches wind of what Emma and Sam are up to and offers her services. What secret does Lydia know about Verity's past?

The team of female PIs circle closer to the killer, with the Brighton police hot on their tail. The clues suggest they're looking for a criminal targeting the old music-hall crew. How long will it be before that trail leads straight back to Max?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Halloween provides the perfect setting for another triumph of misdirection from Griffiths in this sixth Brighton Mystery."- Booklist (starred review)

"[An] intricate...mystery...Sober themes on the oppression of women and the achievement of justice even after many years provide a touching complexity. Griffiths fans and new readers alike will enjoy their time with the Brighton mysteries crowd." - Publishers Weekly

This information about The Midnight Hour was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

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Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

This is addictive historical crime fiction.
The Midnight Hour is the sixth book in The Brighton Mysteries series by British author, Elly Griffiths. When elderly impresario Bert Billington’s youngest son, Aaron suggests to the Brighton Police that his mother, former variety dancer, Verity Malone poisoned her husband, she engages Holmes and Collins Detective Agency to investigate.

It’s a little awkward: the first time Emma Holmes is at odds with her husband, Superintendent Edgar Stephens, as his team tries to discover who fed Bert rat poison. Police and PIs question many of the same people for information, but sometimes their methods yield different results. What does come to light is that there are plenty of people with potential grudges against the old man, and that there was a mystery caller to the house in the hours before Bert died.

And then there is another murder: a different MO, but with certain common aspects, with the result that Emma and WDC Meg Connolly head to Liverpool to interview a couple with a historical bearing on the cases, and from there, unexpectedly to Whitby, where Bert and Verity’s middle son Seth and Max Mephisto are filming a Dracula movie.

Bert’s reputation as a philanderer swells the list of those with grievances to the families of used and discarded women, some of whose lives he ruined without qualm. Nor do all of his own family hold him in high esteem. But the second victim was a favourite with almost everyone: what could the motive be?

Griffiths certainly has the reader second-guessing themselves as they settle on a perpetrator, only to be pointed elsewhere as further facts come to light. There are a number of red herrings and plenty of misdirection, from both the characters and the author. At one stage Emma reminds herself that she is dealing with “Actors and acting. Costume and disguise.”

Once again, Griffiths uses multiple narrators to convey different parts of the story as well as to give different perspectives on events. The story plays out over about six weeks against a background of The Moors Murders. The mid-1960’s era ensures the absence of mobile phones, internet, DNA and even many personal vehicles; thus the detective work relies on heavily on legwork, and intelligent deduction.

Fans will be pleased to have another peek into the lives of this particular cast as the characters grow and develop and face the challenges of the changing world that was the nineteen-sixties. Despite the still-rampant sexual discrimination to which they are subject, Emma, Sam, Meg and Ruby are coming into their own, quietly taking charge of their lives and making their own decisions. This is addictive historical crime fiction.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Author Information

Elly Griffiths Author Biography

Elly Griffiths is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Brighton mystery series, as well as the standalone novels The Stranger Diaries, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and The Postscript Murders. She is the recipient of the CWA Dagger in the Library Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She lives in Brighton, England.

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