Cover Image: Last Call at the Nightingale

Last Call at the Nightingale

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I love the era of the 1920's for it's fashion, music, and style so I was excited to read this book. I didn't find the mystery of the story very interactive or one to keep my interest, however I really did enjoy the characters and how diverse they were given the time period. I would certainly be interested in reading another book by KS though.

Was this review helpful?

LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTINGALE brings the reader into the Jazz Age world filled with bootleggers, underground dance halls, and one woman who becomes an unlikely sleuth. Schellman captures the time perfectly and dazzles with a perfectly paced historical mystery. I cannot wait to see what Vivian gets up to in the next book.

Was this review helpful?

I requested this for consideration for Book Riot's All the Books podcast for its release date. After sampling several books out this week, I decided to go with a different book for my review.

Was this review helpful?

Vivian is at a speakeasy in 1924 when she finds a dead man outside the club. The owner of the club tasks Vivian with gaining information about who might have killed him in exchange for some help with her own boss.

I thought this was a fun mystery. It was easy to follow, especially on audio. The audio was very well done. It was twisty and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely adored this book. The time period that it is set in has always been interesting to me, having had two great-grandparents grow up during that time. The second book is even better!!!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an advance copy in exchange for honest feedback.

Was this review helpful?

This one felt like a cool glass of whiskey! I really felt like i was transported back in time and enjoyed the suspense in the outcome of the story.

Was this review helpful?

1920's New York City. What a great time to be an active, young woman. But Vivian Kelly has been feeling stuck in a rut. She lives in a tenement building with her sister and she works long hours every day sewing in a dress shop. To escape this dull routine, Vivian enjoys the secret nightlife available in the big city. The Nightingale is an underground dance hall. Liquor flows so freely it would hardly seem to be illegal.

She's made friends with the bartender who will slip her a free glass of champagne now and then and she can dance the Charleston to her hearts content. Until one day when she discovers a body behind the club. Then a surprise raid on the club by the police (a surprise because there had been an agreement between the club owners and the police) and Vivian begins to realize that perhaps the body wasn't just a random vagrant, but someone of importance to people of power in the city.

Vivian comes to realize that the people with money have more power than she ever understood and that those without money are disposable and that she, without money, is believed to know more than she does about the dead man. Which means she needs to keep her head down to avoid being a target and/or figure out who killed the man and stay on the good side of those the man worked for.

This is not the first 1920's-era mystery I've read. It's a popular time, what with the jazz age and the illegal liquor and women starting to find some freedom to be who they want and flappers and ... Yeah, it's a popular era to use for a murder mystery, especially one with a female protagonist.

Unfortunately, it does feel as though the time period and setting are used efficiently.

Very little, plot-wise, would need to be changed if this were set in a back-alley bar in Manhattan today. So most of the setting is just window-dressing with the shades pulled down.

The mystery itself is fine. The writing is fine. There's really no fault anywhere along the lines (other than not using the time period). But there's also no energy or excitement to the book. We're more caught up in Vivian's drudgery and keeping her nightlife activities a secret rather than living it up.

This is one of those books that I've written about before ... the hardest books to review are those that are 'okay'. This book is okay. Nicely written, nicely plotted. Fun but under-used setting. Main character unremarkable.

Looking for a good book? Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman is a good book. Not outstanding, but good.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks so much to the author and Minotaur Books (St. Martin's Press) for the gifted physical ARC of this book, as well as to Netgalley for the gifted galley, in exchange for my honest thoughts. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } My reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on my blog at

TW: death/murder, some violence, implied sexual assault of a minor, kidnapping

It took me a long time to get around to reading this book (almost exactly a year after it was published), but once I did I couldn't get myself to put it down!

The characters in this novel are so much fun! Vivian, our female lead, is a sassy bisexual woman who spends her nights drinking and dancing the night away at a jazz bar in the middle of the roaring jazz age - what is not to love about that? I thought that she was a really fun and interesting character to spend some time inside the mind of, and I'm very glad this is a series because I could spend so much more time with her! I also really loved her relationships with Bea, her best friend, and Florence, her sister. I thought that all three of these women made for very interesting, and very different, characters, and I can't wait to see how these relationships progress through the next several books.

As for the story, keep in mind that this is a murder mystery set in the roaring 20s so - so there will be a fair amount of drinking and violence. None of the violence was explicit by any means - nothing worse than you'd get in an episode of Murder She Wrote, but keep in mind that it is definitely present in the story. But that being said the storyline kept me engaged and wanting to keep reading, and the atmosphere sucked me back in time to the point that I could almost feel the jazz music pouring out of every scene at the Nightingale.

Overall I would highly recommend this book to my friends and fellow readers! At one point while reading I turned on an old vinyl of jazz standards and made myself a drink, and honestly I think it was the perfect way to go.

Was this review helpful?

For those who enjoy stories set during the Prohibition, especially in big cities such as New York, this novel is for you. Very reminiscent of the debauchery of HBO's Boardwalk Empire series.

Last Call at the Nightingale tells the story of Vivian Kelly, a young woman with a hard life who is just looking for a little fun and dancing at night. When she gets involved in an alleyway murder, not only is she in danger but her family and friends are too. Determined to solve the murder in order to protect the speakeasy and people she loves, Vivian quickly learns she may be in over her head.

Filled with secrets and illegal activities of the 1920's, Katherine Schellman's novel evokes a historical story filled with great imagery and fabulous vernacular. Readers can't help but be transported to the Nightingale with its nightly champagne drinks and a melodious band playing jazz, waltzes and the foxtrot.

Was this review helpful?

First, thank you to St. Martin's Press and Minotaur Press for the review copy, as well as Netgalley.

SYNOPSIS: The setting is in New York, 1924. Vivian Kelly spends her days drinking, from the tenement lodging she shares with her sister to the dress shop where she sews every day. During the night, she goes to the Nightingale, where illegal drinks are shared and bands play the Charleston. Vivian dances to the music and nobody cares about where she comes from. She can flirts with whoever she wants. She forgets about how dangerous Prohibition is in New York.. until she finds a body behind the club. Vivian gets caught in a police raid, and Vivian finds out that the dead man was actually someone with a name. People think she knows more about the crime than she does, and Vivian gets caught up in a dangerous New York.

REVIEW: This was one fun, atmospheric book. I absolutely LOVED the setting. Books set in the 20s are some of my favorite novels, and this was no exception! This was the first book in the Nightingale Mystery series and I am excited to read more.

I loved getting to know Vivian and her sister. They both have a mysterious past and I can't wait to get to know more about them. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the 20s and a bit of mystery!


Was this review helpful?

This was a fun mystery novel set during prohibition! It had a diverse cast, layers of mystery, and keep me wondering what would happen next! I kept trying to predict what would happen but the author did a great job of keeping the truth hidden until she wanted you to know it.

Was this review helpful?

Last Call at the Nightingale focuses on Vivian Kelly, a young woman who lives with her sister and works as a seamstress by day. Poor and orphaned, Vivan is always longing for a better life and finds it via the Nightingale, a speakeasy in New York. However, as much fun as she has a the Nightingale, dancing, flirting and getting free booze from the bartender and her waitress friend, there's a dark side to Prohibition era New York and after she finds a body it rears it's ugly head.

Schellman has a wonderful cast of characters in this title, and expresses the diversity of 1920s NY (Vivian's waitress friend is black, the bartender is Asian),and the joy and release of the era while also showing the conflicts of the era as well, but not overly using this as a plot point. Vivian was a lot of fun, strong willed, but still vulnerable and not sure where she fits in to this new world, but she really wants to. Her friends and the club represent who she wants to be, which is a free and independent woman, while her sister and day job represent all that she wants to forget, even though she does love her sister.

While the story bogged down a bit in the middle, it was still fun to read and I'm looking forward to more of the Nightingale, Vivian and her friends and family.

Thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, & Minotaur Books for the free e-book.

Was this review helpful?

3.5/5 Stars

Vivian Kelley finds herself caught up in a murder investigation when she finds a dead body behind The Nightingale, an underground dance hall she frequents often. When the club is raided, the club owner, Honor Huxley bails Viv out of jail. Now in her debt, Hux asks Vivian to find out more about a recent club visitor, Leo Green who may know more about the dead man then he is admitting.

This was a fun read set in New York during the 1920s during the prohibition. This is more of a slow-paced read, but it is very character driven. I liked it, but I think I wanted a bit more from it. The murder mystery was fun, and I enjoyed trying to piece it all together along side Viv. I think the best part was the will they/won't they between Vivian and Hux, I was rooting for them so badly... There was also a touch of a love triangle, which I'm not always the biggest fan of, but I didn't hate this one. Although I definitely preferred the one side over the other. I also really liked how the romance took more of a backseat to the murder investigation. I loved the diversity in this, with characters of different races and sexualities as well. I listened to this on audio, and I think the narrator did a fabulous job with all the characters and overall vibes of the story!

Was this review helpful?

I drank my way through this book and listened to jazz in the background. This book drew me in and I felt like I was in a different world until the last page was read. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you for the advanced copy of this book! I will be posting my review on social media, to include Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram!

Was this review helpful?

In 1924 booze and murder were both illegal, but that didn’t stop the drinking or killing. Vivian is a hardworking seamstress by day and a gal that loves a dance and a drink at The Nightingale, an illegal gin joint when the sun goes down. Stepping out in the alley for a breath of air, Vivian and friend Bea see a passed out drunk among the trash. Vivian tries to help the man, but realizes he has not passed out, but has passed on. He is dead. Not only dead, murdered.

Vivian can’t stop thinking of the dead man. She has to find out what happened to him. Her sister Florence doesn’t approve of Vivian’s activities. She has practically raised Vivian after they ended up in an orphanage when they were very young. She thinks Vivian needs to stay home at night and work hard. They are barely scraping by as it is.

When the owner of the bar, Honor Huxley, asks Vivian to help find the murderer. At first Vivian doesn’t agree to become an amateur gumshoe. But curiosity gets the better of her and she begins investigating. Unfortunately, some very bad guys get wind of her poking her nose into other people’s business and are hellbent to stop her. She is over her head in trouble, but still insists she will find out who and murdered the man in the alley and why. But at what cost?

This cozy mystery is different than others as it is set in the early 1900’s with the lead character doing something illegal. Oftentimes cozies have a connection to law enforcement, a boyfriend or close relative they can rely on for clues. Vivian is on her own, with the bouncers at the speakeasy and her friends as the only backup. I loved the setting and characters. The whole package of setting, characters and situations was interesting and entertaining. I hope there are many more in this series.

This is the first book I’ve read by Katharine Schellman. She was a political consultant and stage performer, and lucky for readers, she writes stories. Her debut novel, The Body in the Garden, is a historical mystery and was named a Suspense Magazine Best Book of 2022. Last Call at the Nightingale is the first book in Nightingale Mysteries Series. I cannot wait to read the next book.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the Author and Netgalley and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2022 Laura Hartman

Was this review helpful?

I love historical fiction but don't typically escape to the prohibition era. This novel transported me back in time and placed me dead centre in a mystery I wanted to unravel while I pictured girls in sequined tassled gowns dancing to a beautiful jazz medley. There was so much story aside from just the whodunit that created a full, lush picture of young people trying to safely find their place and identity.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Netgally for this arc! I sadly had to DNF this book, I had really high hopes, but I couldn't really get into it. I might try again later, but I just couldn't get into it. I loved the premise of this historical fantasy, but when I started the book, it just didn't feel right to start it and I couldn't get into the writing style.

Was this review helpful?

This was a good murder mystery in that I was very surprised to find out the identity of the murderer. The storyline, however, did not keep my attention. I appreciated Vivian's confidence, strength, and her ability to keep pursuing justice even when she was afraid. She really knew who she was and she never lost sight of that.

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?