Viviana Valentine Goes Up The River by Emily J. Edwards

Viviana Valentine Goes Up the River is the second in Emily J. Edwards Girl Friday Mystery series. And what a great series this is turning out to be!

Turn back your clock and hit reset to November 1950. The 50’s were a decade of hardcore crime stories and mysteries overflowing with back alley gumshoes and deadly dames. This series has an authentic 50’s feel — you’re transported to the office of a top New York City private investigator, TommyFortuna and his partner, Viviana Valentine (recently promoted from her girl Friday status).

An unusual and seemingly boring case lands on Tommy’s desk. Seems a wealthy scientist, Buster Beacon is hearing bizarre and annoying noises in his mansion/laboratory. Buster happens to be a friend of their secretary, Tally, who puts the pressure on them to take the case and it doesn’t hurt that Buster is loaded (we’re talking dough). They are off and running!

Buster is hosting a cache of friends and investors to join him for a few days at his mansion for a getaway retreat and party. Viviana and Tommy arrive at the mansion, undercover as a couple, to investigate the creepy noises that have been plaguing Buster and his butler for weeks.

Tommy and Viviana are confident they can ferret out the weird noises, but they aren’t as confident when one of the guests winds up quite dead, and not from natural causes. That’s when they enlist the outside help of Tommy’s old pal, Monty, who also shows up at the mansion as “another guest.”

As the 3 of them work the case, it starts becoming apparent that there’s a lot more to Buster and his guests than meets the eye. What starts as a basic P.I. case turns into a mansion of murder and deceit. Guests aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Buster has played down the importance of the work being done in his high tech lab, as well as the importance of his investors (now turned guests).

So what’s really going on in the mansion/laboratory? Is this about money? A disgruntled investor? Lab secrets? And Buster himself, isn’t being above board – they know he’s hiding something, but what? Guests are hiding behind clever facades – who’s real, who’s gotten a nefarious agenda? All questions demanding answers.

This is a hard-boiled 50’s-style mystery with twists and turns sure to keep readers guessing. It features clever and unique characters such as Tommy’s low-paid secretary, a full-fledged (wealthy) heiress, and pal Monty, a tough guy with a shady background. Viviana Valentine Goes Up The River is an outstanding example of an intricate simmering plot that turns into a full rolling boil – and readers won’t be disappointed.

A copy of this book and cover photo were provided by Crooked Lane Books.

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