Audiobook, Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Queer

Last Call at the Nightingale is a historical mystery set in Prohibition-era New York City by Katharine Schellman

Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman
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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last Call at the Nightingale is a historical mystery set in Prohibition-era New York City by Katharine Schellman. The ebook version is 320 pages. I listened to the audiobook, which clocks in at a little over nine hours and is narrated by Sara Young.

Vivian spends her days working as a seamstress and her nights at The Nightingale, an underground dance hall and speakeasy. Her best friend Beatrice works there as a waitress, and she can often sweet talk bartender Danny into providing her drinks for free. An orphan, it’s the only place where she feels at home. But then she discovers a body in the alley behind the club and certain individuals think she knows more about the crime than she actually does.

I had a fun time with this book. I’m a big fan of both historical fiction and mysteries and this is a good melding of the two. It’s definitely of the amateur sleuth/cozy mystery variety and not thriller territory, so if you’re looking for something to get your blood racing this is not the book for you.

There’s some queer representation with Honor, the female owner of The Nightingale, who on-page notes that she is a lesbian. Vivian doesn’t explicitly state her sexuality, but she does flirt with both men and women so it’s possible that she’s bisexual without the language to describe that. There are also a few mentions in the book noting that this speakeasy is a safe space for men to dance with other men and women to dance with other women.

We also see some discussion of racism and classism, with Beatrice being a black woman and Vivian being Irish and raised by nuns (with some allusions to her mother having both her and her older sister out of wedlock, which was scandalous at the time).

Tropes in this book include: amateur sleuth, queer side character

CW: death, murder, firearms, violence, racism, classism

Special thanks to Minotaur Books, Dreamscape Media, and NetGalley for providing an audio galley of this book for me to review.

View all my reviews

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