Cover Image: Last Call at the Nightingale

Last Call at the Nightingale

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

4.5 for the Nightingale!

A Big Thank You to Minotaur Publishing and NetGalley for an e ARC of Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman. I loved this book! Set in the 1920's, Nightingale explores the mysterious murder of a big-time bootlegger with other shady activities going on... .and a whole lot of people want him dead! The inquisitive main character will stop at nothing to find the killer, which often puts her in precarious positions. I loved the character of Vivian. She was smart, plucky, curious and a great dancer! I could be biased- I adore stories set in the 1920's. The author captured the vibe of that time period so well. I felt like I was dancing at The Nightingale ( a speakeasy) with a tall drink of water myself! I'm  so excited to read the next book coming out in this series. This was a  great ride and a great read!

#NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
✨ Review ✨ Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman; Narrated by Sara Young

This was such a fun mystery set in the Roaring Twenties in NYC in the underground club scene -- perfect for a light Beach Read or audio for a summer trip!

Vivian Kelly, a seamstress and sister during the day, is a champagne-drinking, dance-loving regular at The Nightingale, an underground bar owned by Honor (aka Ms. Hux). After Vivian and her best friend Bea discover a body outside the bar, Vivian opens her eyes and ears to see what she can learn. Along with Bea, Danny (a bartender), and Leo Green (a friend of Danny's newly returned to town with a mysterious background), Vivian is on the case.

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 
Genre: historical fiction, mystery, light f/m and f/f romance
Location: NYC, Roaring 20s
Pub Date: Out now!
Read On: Physical Book and Audiobook 

This book was a fun, light read of Vivian's sleuthing, friendships and family relationships, and potential love interests. I enjoyed the Roaring Twenties setting though didn't feel like it pushed beyond the boundaries of other 20s Prohibition-era settings. I did appreciate that the author set up the Nightingale as a space that blurred the lines between gender and sexuality, as well as race, in a city and era that were very distinctly defined. This reminded me a lot of the amazing podcast Mob Queens and George Chauncey's Gay New York (a history of gay culture in NYC in the early 20th century).

The audio was great and easy to follow if that's your jam too!

Read this if you like:
⭕️ mysteries in historical settings
⭕️ Roaring Twenties - Prohibition, jazz and dancing, ambiguous gender boundaries
⭕️ champagne and sleuthing

Thanks to Minotaur Books, Dreamscape Media, and #netgalley for copies of this book!
Was this review helpful?
In the middle of the roaring 20s, Prohibition has New York City citizens flocking to speakeasies and one of the more intriguing joints is the Nightingale.   Vivian Kelly struggles with poverty by working as a seamstress and shares a run-down apartment with her older sister.   At night Vivian lives to dance at the Nightingale that is until she is first to discover a body in the back alley.  Katharine Schellman has created an interesting cast including Hux, the Nightingale’s owner who has many secrets but opens her door to Asians, African Americans and closeted LBGTQ folks.  Hux recruits Vivian to keep an eye on newcomer Leo Green and “keep her ears open” to see if any fallout happens about the murdered man who is more than a simple bootlegger.  The whodunnit accelerates and becomes more intricate as amateur Vivian uncovers a complex mixture of people who could have reasons to kill the victim.  This is a fine mystery that stays true to the era with authentic slang and atmosphere.
Was this review helpful?
I love a historical mystery! Especially during the Jazz age. 

I’m definitely not one to read a mystery and try to guess the end, but I did find it quite twisty. It’s definitely more of a slow burn/ character driven mystery (which is my favorite kind), so it’s not super fast paced. But it is a good time!
Was this review helpful?
I love the idea of this story and the diverse cast of characters. I also loved the tension between Hux and Vivian. However, I felt like the characters fell flat and I didn't get a great sense of them for most of the book. I didn't like how Vivian's sister was painted as the villain because she worried about her sister and didn't want to go out drinking.  This book dragged along a bit and I felt my eyes skimming and just wanting to know the reveal.  If it weren't for the mentions of alcohol being illegal, it would be hard to tell what time period this book takes place because the descriptions and setting were a bit lacking for a book that centers around the jazz age.
Was this review helpful?
Last Call at the Nightingale by Katherine Schellman is an interesting and fun novel based on interactions in and around the Nightingale, a small speakeasy at the height of Prohibition. Vivian is a young Irish woman who comes to the Nightingale to dance. It takes her away from her life as a seamstress working for a horrible boss. Her best friend, is Bea, a black woman who works there are a waitress and has introduced her to Danny, the bartender, who hooks Vivian up with free drinks and people to dance with. One night they go out back into the alley just to get some air and some quiet. While out there they discover a dead man. Not knowing what to do they return to the bar and tell Danny, who tells the owner, Honor. She handles it quietly but Vivian and Bea can't forget it. A couple days later the police raid the place, something that never happens. Vivian is caught up in the raid and spends the night in jail. Bail is $25, a vast sum. Even if they had it, Vivian has no way of getting a hold of her sister. There is not a telephone in the entire apartment house. The next day, Bea arrives with bail and tells her Honor wants to speak to her. Honor had given Bea the money and now wants a favor from Vivian in return. 

This was a glimpse into a time period and life with which I have no experience. Having never read a book about a speakeasy before I was excited to read this one and became even more excited as I read it. A glimpse of Vivian's life was priceless. Life at the speakeasy was entertaining as well. It was small, but well run, and safe. The perfect place for Vivian to escape her life. Trying to get information about the dead man and what happened to him was not difficult as he was a member of society and in the newspapers plenty. Other ways to obtain information seemed to fall in her lap. She met people, some surprised her. She grew in confidence and demeanor throughout the book. The people in her life revealed themselves as the story wore on and made it rich with color and vibrancy. This was a book worth a reader's time. 

I was invited to read a free e-ARC of Last Call at the Nightingale by Minotaur, through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #netgalley #minotaur #katherineschellman #lastcallatthenightingale
Was this review helpful?
What could have been better?
Honestly, this may be a me thing, but it didn’t have enough action for me at times, but this may just be a part of the mystery genre, still trying to figure out the whole
Mystery versus thriller thing!

What I liked?
I thought the plot and mystery/civilian detective element was cool! I’m always into regular people putting together the pieces.

I liked that all the characters were memorable and felt like they had purpose to the story.

I liked the small twist I didn’t really see coming! It made for a good ending.

I liked the whole prohibition era thing it had going on! I haven’t read many from this time period and I liked it a lot.

I liked that the female MC was bi (or was implied to be), and while it didn’t play a major part in this book I can see the building blocks of her identity becoming more a part of the series. 

I liked that this looks like it’s going to be a series because I felt like there was still more to see if the characters.
Was this review helpful?
Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman

9781250831828

315 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Release Date: June 7, 2022

Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, New York, 1920s, Prohibition, LGBTQIA

Irish sisters, Vivian and Florence Kelly were orphans. When they were of age, the nuns made sure they had respectable jobs as dressmakers. Vivian, however, needs more out of life and spends her nights at the Nightingale speakeasy. Her best friend, Bea, is a young Black woman working at the Nightingale as a waitress. The bartender, Danny, is a young Chinese man and works at his family’s restaurant during the day. They are surprised when out on a smoke break in the alley behind the building they find a dead man. Bea wants to just forget about it but Vivian is intrigued and wants to find out who he was, why he is dead, and who killed him. Her actions have consequences that will affect everyone associated with her.

This book is fast paced, the characters are somewhat developed, and it is written in the third person point of view. I really enjoy reading books circa 1902s. It gives us a different perspective than the way things are now (liquor is legal). If you like a quick mystery based in the 20s era, you will enjoy this book.
Was this review helpful?
I thought I was going to love this book, it had all the elements - New York City, 1924 - an underground jazz club during the era of prohibition, very interesting characters, a murder crying to be solved, a protagonist while downtrodden with enough spunk and moxie for a dozen. So why did it leave me wanting more? Confusing semi-stereotypes that walk a thin line and are always looking back over their shoulder and skirting the margins. A time when information was the mostly precious currency used to keep the wealthy at the top of the protected heap, the poor down and in their place, the troubled always on the edge tilting toward ruin and worse. 

They all hang out at the Nightingale, Vivian the poor seamstress who has yet to figure out much less declare her sexual identity and only wants to keep dancing, Beatrice the waitress who happens to be Vivian’s best friend and black so we know what her social status is in 1924 NYC,  Danny, the bartender who happens to be Chinese tries to protect so many, Mags the young heiress who loves to go slumming as long as she can do it with glamour, Leo who might or might not be a thug and is most definitely interested in Vivian, and Ms. Honor Huxley at the very center of everything to do with The Nightingale. 

A murder, a raid, a night in jail, a deal to be made, a twist, a turn, another red herring, another twist, and while the action moved the story forward something just seemed to be missing and hovering at the edge. A solid 3-1/2 stars that I am rounding up. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Publishing for a copy.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, the descriptions and setting in this book made me feel like I was in the underground dance club the Nightingale right along with the characters.

Seeing a dead man in the alley brought Vivian into trying to find his killer.  She definitely got into some dangerous dealings as this mystery unfolded.  What I liked was that it was hard to figure out all of the characters dark illegal secrets.  It was definitely a twisted  prohibition web indeed.

The ending was great since I really had no idea who the killer was until the big reveal.  It was surprising enough that I had to rethink if I missed something.  This book truly has a great historical setting and the mystery writing was top notch!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this ARC for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
One of the best books I've read so far this year, I am so excited for a potential sequel. I loved all the characters in this books and the plot was so engaging!
Was this review helpful?
"I'll dance till last call."

Vivian is an orphaned seamstress living with her sister in NYC during the heigh of prohibition. She escapes to a dance hall called the Nightingale to dance, drink and have fun. One night Vivi witnesses a murder and gets tangled up in a mystery.

I'm a sucker for the roaring 20s and this one delivered that. I loved the jazz club setting, the dancing, the (illegal) drinking and the band of misfits that have found a home at the Nightingale. This was a cozy mystery with not a lot of suspense but plenty of who-dun-it.

I'm not sure I totally even understood what happened in the end but it didn't really even matter to me and that's what I love about cozy mysteries! This was definitely set up to a be a series as you can tell Vivian is going to get tangled up in more trouble and more love triangles. I hope we get to see more of her sister in future books!

If you like cozy mysteries and prohibition era stories, this could be a fun rainy day read!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Last Call at the Nightingale is an atmospheric Jazz age mystery featuring our seamstress-by-day main character, Vivian. Nighttime is when she truly comes alive, in true spirit of the age, drinking and dancing the night away at an underground dance hall called the Nightingale. One night, expecting a carefree, reckless night, Vivian instead finds a body behind the hall and her life is turned upside down.

The Nightingale is a fun Prohibition-era read with a "whodunit" mystery. I love the entire atmosphere created around this time period in New York, and it made for a fun read. Vivian was a great character to go alongside with while solving the mystery, and the supporting characters were really unique and added to the story really well. The audio is fantastically narrated by Sara Young and I highly recommend it if you're into audiobooks!

Thanks to Minotaur Books for the ARC!
Was this review helpful?
An outstanding mystery with the mob, speakeasys, both rich and poor women, love, violence, and betrayal all mixed in.

Vivian and her sister are orphans living in a small apartment and working in a sewing factory.  Florence is quiet and quite respectable.  Vivian, while equally as moral, loves to dance and have fun at the Nightingale.  As she and her friend are taking a break behind the building one evening, they discover a man’s dead body.  Hux tells them to forget about what they saw but once Vivian gets something in her mind, she doesn’t let it go.  This will cause her all kinds of trouble as she tries to solve the murder while keeping Florence, Bea, and herself safe.

I really enjoyed this book.  I switched between the audiobook and the printed version.  I preferred the audio but that may have been because Sara Young did such a good job narrating.  The characters are well defined, and the reader becomes attached to them.  They show both kindness and survival instincts though the bad pretend to be good.  The good characters are enjoyable.  The bad are just evil.


I received an ARC from St. Martin’s Press and Dreamscape Media through NetGalley.  This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.  I am voluntarily submitting this review and am under no obligation to do so.
Was this review helpful?
This is a book where you feel like you are transported into the speakeasy from page one. The setting was fun and I love that there is a murder mystery set in this time and place. This is a great read for fans of Agatha Christie, City of Girls or Phyrne Fisher Mysteries. It’s a fun mystery with colorful characters all within the glamour of the 1920’s New York.
Was this review helpful?
I just love Katharine Schellman's Lily Adler series, so I was excited to read a new book that was totally unrelated to that series.  Last Call at the Nightingale is set in the exciting world of New York in 1924, which is the Jazz Age and the Prohibition Era.  I admit I didn't like a number of the characters; however, the storyline was engrossing and I didn't want to put this book down until I figured out "whodunit".

Vivian Kelly lives in a tiny tenement with her straight-laced sister Florence.  The two work for hours every day at a dress shop lorded over by a holier-than-thou woman, and it's a dreary life.  However, Vivian comes alive when at night she goes to The Nightingale, an underground dance hall where the music is intoxicating, the dancing exhilarating and the illegal liquor pours non-stop.  This is the place where Vivian truly feels at home.  No one cares about her status or whether she flirts with men or women, just as long as she knows how to shake a leg.  But one night Vivian discovers a body in the alley behind The Nightingale, and things suddenly become dangerous.  First she is caught up in a raid and brought to jail; then she discovers that the deceased man at the club was not some nameless bootlegger, but a wealthy man.  Bad people seem to think she knows more than she actually does, and she becomes stuck between the city's underground and its wealthiest citizens.  Will Vivian survive to discover what really happened?

The mystery which started off at The Nightingale was an extremely thrilling one.  There were many twists and turns, and red herrings flying all over the place.  Just when I thought I had it all figured out, another layer of the onion was peeled away and another clue revealed.  I was completely dumbstruck when the killer was revealed!  The Jazz Age setting was something different, though the slang at the time drove me nuts.  Many characters I loved, but some I just didn't.  Unfortunately, I didn't care for Lily.  I know she was young and seemed confused in life.  I just didn't care for the way she seemed very self-centered; she could have treated her sister Florence, who was just trying to help them survive, better.  Lily had a flirtation and obvious attraction to Honor Huxley, the owner of The Nightingale, which was returned.  However, Honor was older and wiser; I know a woman in the business world of 1920's had to be ruthless, but she put Lily, whom she seemed to adore, in dangerous situations.  There were characters who I loved, though.  Waitress Bea, Lily's best friend, was a young Black woman who worked to support her family and looked out for Lily.  Bartender Danny, a young Chinese man, was kind but tough and could kick some serious butt.  Leo Green, a mysterious man who came to The Nightingale and was a friend of Danny's, admitted he was not a good man, but he was deeply drawn to Lily and it was obvious he truly cared for her.  And then there was Florence.  Poor, put upon Florence....who turned into a tigress when she believed her baby sister was in danger.  Loved her!  I don't know if this is a planned series, but I would definitely like to revisit The Nightingale and all its characters.  Lily is sure to grown on me when she matures, and I would love to see Bea have a storyline of her own.

I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.  I received no compensation for my review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Was this review helpful?
Vivian Kelly spends her days working in a factory, alongside her sister Florence, sewing nice clothes for the rich members of society. At night she finds escape by going to The Nightingale, a dance hall where the illegal alcohol flows and many people escape the drudgery of their lives through the music and dancing. The Nightingale is a place where people can find acceptance and excitement regardless of the lives they lead outside. When a dead body is found in an alley outside the club, Vivian’s happiness is threatened, as is The Nightingale. 

I absolutely loved this novel: the time period, the characters, the setting, the mystery. The characters are simply amazing. I really liked the fact that the main characters, while being the lower members of society, are strong and determined in their individual ways. I also enjoyed how many of them are females and some are minorities during a time when they were viewed as less-than. Last Call at the Nightingale grabbed me from the first page and kept me hooked right up until the end. It also kept me guessing throughout, making it into a real page-turner.

Last Call at the Nightingale is a book that can not be missed by any fan of mysteries set during Prohibition. I highly recommend this novel.
Was this review helpful?
AHH, this mystery was so incredibly fun! I loved this very detailed environmental thriller! In this story we are introduced to Vivian- an Irish women and her partner in crime Bea. They are always at the nightingale and dancing and drinking illegibly at the time. One night Vivian stumbled on a dead body in the alley, and the owner of the club does not want to get the police involved because they would then look into more of the operations of the nightingale and discover their is alcohol. I will say, at times I wanted more of the 1920's vibe and a little bit more of the suspense, this felt a little more watered down than I wanted it to be.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you kindly to the author, Netgalley, and Minotaur Books for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This is the first book in a Jazz age mystery series set in a speakeasy where music, liquor, and secrets flow. 

The author has such a way with setting the atmosphere in each scene. I like the descriptions of the club’s nightlife happenings, as well as the sections depicting the protagonists’ day to day lives. The characters are aplenty but the story is fairly straightforward so far, so it hasn’t been too difficult to keep track of each player in this mystery. 

What stands out to me is the diverse cast, with a mix of classes, races and gender identities represented–it also makes sense within the context of the story because many individuals come to the speakeasy to escape their mundane lives and forget about their troubles, if only for a night of fun. I think there’s at least a few characters that every reader will be able to relate and identify with. 

The pacing starts out a little slow as characters are introduced and plot is laid out, but the sleuthing is written quite well and I like the direction the story goes once the mystery really gets going. The author does a great job addressing the many issues faced by the characters such as class and gender inequalities. I was more invested in the characters' stories than the whodunnit aspect, which is not at all a bad thing.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars 

What I liked:
➱ plentiful 1920s vibes and an atmospheric speakeasy setting
➱ murder mystery 
➱ gutsy and likable amateur sleuth
➱ a working-class protagonist trying hard to better her circumstances instead of the upper-class women I typically see in historical mysteries
➱ the author managed to incorporate a bit of diversity into a ‘20s setting

What I didn’t like:
➱ I was pretty into the story until about halfway, but it gradually stopped holding my interest and I ended up skim-reading the rest
Was this review helpful?