Cover Image: Last Call at the Nightingale

Last Call at the Nightingale

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Member Reviews

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.
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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
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The Roarin' 20's, just...yes.

I love the women in the flapper dresses looking dazzling and the men in those dapper af suits, oof. They both just hit different.

A speakeasy, raids and a murder. Vivian just wants to let loose a little, shake up a life she isn't all that happy with, so she often spends her nights at the speakeasy owned by Honor, aka Hux, where the liquor and jazz flow easily. Until one night she finds a dead body in an alley.

Owing Hux a favor, Vivian tries to find out what she can about the murder by befriending a young man named Leo. Uncovering truths that others kept hidden she also is facing her own as she balances advances from Hux and Leo.

The mood in this one felt like velvet. Do I know what this means? No, not really.

I was on the fence with this audio at times. There were places they did a wonderful job (sultry voice of Hux) but in other places it fell flat a bit. Overall, glad I listened.

Thank you so much @dreamscape_media, @minotaurbooks, @netgalley and Katharine Schellman for the gifted copies.
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1920s. Jazz. Murder. 

I thought this would be right up my alley and in the end, I did like it, but I wanted a faster moving story rather than a slow burn character study so this took me a while to read. 

Did I want to read this because of the cover? Yes. Because it was set during the Jazz Age at a jazz club? Yes.
But I don’t regret it! This is a slow burn, character study that reads like a Raymond Chandler detective novel. We follow Vivian who spends her time after working in a dress shop all day, dancing and drinking at the Nightingale. She gets caught up in a murder investigation and the dangerous side of 1920s New York. Schellman writes tension really well and creates an incredible atmosphere. The plot is really character focused so know that going in. But the characters are diverse and great so you will love them. 4.25 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thanks ro @netgalley and @minotaur_books for the ARC. If you’re looking for a book club book, especially if you want to theme it, this would be great. For fans of noir, historical fiction, stories set in New York. There’s also queer representation if you’re looking for something different to read during June.
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Isn’t this cover simply fabulous ? 
A beautiful cover, so fitting for this story set in a New York City nightclub in 1924, the Jazz Age and Prohibition. This book is a historical mystery deeply rooted in well researched historical fiction but it also has a twisting plot and an inclusive cast of appealing characters. Schellman presents to us the social divide that existed between the haves and have-nots during The Roaring Twenties, a period of rapid economic growth and social change. The eponymous Nightingale is a speakeasy that serves a mixed clientele in race, class, and sexuality (I loved the author’s note on how this was actually possible in 20s New York City illegal speakeasies. Vivian the main character and sleuth is a seamstress by day, dancer by night. Her sister wishes she’d stay on the right side of the law, but the Nightingale is Vivian‘s favorite place in a world that doesn’t much care what happens to women like her…until she and her best friend Bea find a dead body in the alley behind the bar. 
Schellman takes on the differences in status and deals with class and prejudice while having Vivian investigate...
What I love about Katherine Schellman’s writing, her Lily Adler mysteries set in  Austen- time London and this one, is that she introduces readers to a world that isn’t quite what they expected, although it’s based on historical fact. Schellman’s author’s note on historical accuracy broadens the appeal of this engrossing jaunt into murder and dangerously good times. I will be reading the next book in this new series …
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A wonderful read I’m fascinated with prohibition era the underground clubs.The author brings the time the characters alive a really well written entertaining mystery.#netgalley #st.Martins books
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Fans of both historical fiction and mysteries will love the first in this new series from Katherine Schellman.

Last Call at the Nightingale is a new mystery series set in New York City during the Jazz Age. In 1924, Vivian and her sister, Florence spend their lives living in a tenement and working in a sewing factory all day. To escape the daily grind of this life, Vivian discovers the nighttime world of dancing and illegal drinking at a speakeasy called The Nightingale. Thrust into a world full of temptation and questionable choices, Vivian finds her nights of dancing and flirting interrupted by a murder in the back alley. Vivian develops her detective skills along with dancing skills to help find the murderer.

Danny, the bartender, Bea, the server and Honor Huxley, the owner, are each written with such detail portraying their unique personalities. The reader becomes invested in each character and feels like a part of the whole Nightingale crew. The setting of the novel becomes another character in the book with 1920s jazz details and New York City references.

Katherine Schellman's Last Call at the Nightingale sets up perfectly for this mystery series. I cannot wait to read the next one! 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review this book before its release.
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The jazz era.. a time when alcohol was illegal, music was changing, and speak easies were part of the night life. Last Call at the Nightingale is a wonderful novel that transports the reader back to this time period with the wonderfully descriptive prose. Vivian and her sister Florence work as seamstresses to try to survive but at night Vivian spends her time dancing away at The Nightingale. One night she finds a body in the alley and soon becomes immersed in a world that’s filled with secrets and crime. I felt that the author did a great job with being true to this time period and the story moved enough that I stayed invested. 

Thank you to Netgalley and to the publishers for allowing me to read this book.
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Thank you Netgalley and St .Martin's Press for access to this arc 

Whoever designed the cover of this book lured me right into wanting to read it however the book is more than that. What I found was a book with depth and layers. The murder mystery is certainly front and center but it’s back by great period feel, complex and often flawed characters plus what I love the most in this genre – both the clues to solve the mystery and yet one that kept me guessing until right when the killer is unveiled. Brava.

Yes, I inhaled this book. It’s dark and gritty but also filled with friendships. Vivian and Florence love each other but that doesn’t stop the fights, the silences, and the despair between them. Vivian’s best friend Bea, a waitress at the club, is Black and longs to sing there but that takes connections and as Bea bitterly tells Vivian, her family lost their connections when her father, a former Pullman porter whose job gave the family status, died of the influenza. Danny Chin, the smiling chatty bartender who is friends with a man showing Vivian attention, works nights at the club and days at his family’s restaurant and tells Vivian he learned his alley fighting skills because too many White men think of Asian men as punching bags.

Vivian starts investigating – well, careful listening really – to pay off her debt but discovers she’s the type who wants to know the answer. Clues are sprinkled lightly through the book but there are enough ambiguities and red herrings to allow a reader to follow down trails and wonder, along with Vivian, just who is who and what secrets they’re hiding. Since Vivian isn’t a detective and has never done this sort of thing, her missteps are expected but she’s shrewd and smart and willing to put on a front of bravado when needed. There weren’t too many times when I (mentally) shook my head at her and in the end, she gets the main answer plus negotiates a better deal from those who owe her.

The book wraps up the murder mystery and doesn’t end on a cliffhanger but there are some slightly unraveled threads left plus a maybe relationship that could take us into a sequel. I’d be happy to see what Vivian makes of her opportunities and what is in her future. B+
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I really enjoyed this mystery set in prohibition-era New York City, where a modern girl could visit a speakeasy for a night of music and dancing, as long as she knows the password! I was really drawn into that world, of jazz and  bribes and police raids, the contrast between the poor working class and the ultra-wealthy. Even the dialogue with its 20s slang was great—just enough to sound authentic but not cheesy. The mystery itself wasnt super compelling, it was really secondary to the vibrant setting & characters.
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The first novel in Schellman’s Jazz age mystery series, Last Call at the Nightingale sets us right in the middle of the speakeasy culture in NYC in the 1920s.
Anyone who knows me knows that speakeasies are my absolute jam and I love any story that takes place in the 1920s. Vivian Kelly was curious and courageous and immediately likable as a MC. I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters she met as the story unfolded and she unraveled the mystery. Highly recommend for a fun and quick mystery read. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Thank you Minotaur Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Trouble at a speakeasy might not be unexpected, but when Vivian stumbles across a body in the alley while getting some air with her friend Bea, it's only the start of how much her life is about to change. Over the course of just a few days, she finds herself in more new and sometimes dangerous situations. I enjoyed how the author kept every scene fresh, expertly revealing more about others and herself to Vivian as the story progressed. Every character is carefully crafted to reflect the ethnic, economic, and gender status represented, and the speakeasy setting provides an effective way for so many paths to cross. The mystery unfolds at a pace respectful to the reader, with the characters' actions and conversations leading the way. With some unresolved matters at the end unrelated to the main mystery, I look forward to a sequel. 

Thank you to St. Martins Press, Minotaur Books, Netgalley, and the author Katharine Schellman  for early access to this engaging read.
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**Many thanks to NetGalley, Minotaur/St. Martin's Press, and Katharine Schellman for an ARC of this book!**

I visited the Nightingale expecting flappers, moonshine, jazz, mystery, and an aura of danger...but what I got was a bit more of your standard 'corner bar and grill full of forgettable regulars watching a boring baseball game on a Tuesday night' instead.

Vivian sweeps away the long monotony of days sewing in the workhouse aside sister Florence once night falls at the Nightingale, a club featuring the illegal booze, wild dancing, and colorful crowds typical of such an establishment in 1924. Vivian's best friend Bea is her partner in crime, and the two while away many an hour together. One night, however, Vivian finds herself in EXACTLY the wrong place at PRECISELY the wrong time: she discovers a body in the alley by the club. Speechless and horrified, a police raid of the club then occurs, and Vivian finds herself in the whirlwind of this mysterious and ugly crime. Club owner Honor Huxley begs her to keep quiet, but Vivian can't help investigating, despite her secret affection for Honor AND a new man she has met at the club. Who is at the center of this ugly storm...and has Vivian set herself up to be the next target? Can the Nightingale keep its doors open...and keep its dangerous secrets under lock and key? And just how well DOES Vivian know the mysterious new man in her life?

I'll admit, I was absolutely lured to this book by its stellar and beautiful cover. I'm a sucker for literature set during this time period, from The Great Gatsby to Beautiful Little Fools, which was a surprise hit for me earlier this year, and I was hoping to strike gold yet again with Last Call at the Nightingale.

Unfortunately, the third time was NOT the charm with this read.

As much as I felt the cover drew me in initially, this is basically where the atmosphere stopped for me...and I picked this book up hoping that would at least account for 50% of my experience. if you hadn't told me this book was set in the 20's and you'd removed a few context clues, there was little to remind me that's where the story took place, and this setting just didn't come alive. I kept waiting for that immersive and magical experience where I felt thrust back in time, but there was a lot of telling rather than showing, and I had a hard time even picturing what was going on or the decor most of the time.

There's also nothing wrong with the plot, but nothing too memorable about it either. I usually lean towards thrillers over mysteries, so I knew I was a bit outside of my comfort zone here, but I was hoping to feel a bit more thrilled by the goings on than I was. Nothing wrong with a classic wjhodunit, and i can't say I guessed the perpetrator, but I wasn't wowed by the reveals either. The characters also weren't fleshed out enough for my taste, so they were pleasant enough but not as complex as they needed to be for any sort of an emotional connection. Granted, this IS a mystery rather than a drama, but there's always room for this sort of development in my opinion.

Honestly, the author's note at the ending gave some great references to her research, but also explained the the 1920s and the time period as though readers had never heard of it before, so it might feel a bit unnecessary if you're already familiar with the basics, but there are some decent resources listed if you're the researching sort. Sadly, I wonder if I might enjoy delving into nonfiction about the time period more than I enjoyed this particular book. I loved what I saw through the window of the Nightingale, but much like a glitzy outfit that looked better from far away, the spangles on this dress were simply a trick of the light.

3.5 stars
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I love the jazz age and I LOVE New York and as soon as I discovered the LGBT themes in Last Call At The Nightingale I was completely sold on this book AND anticipating more in the series. Schellman created a well-developed cast of unique characters including all races and sexual orientations in this 1920’s NYC speakeasy and painted a perfect picture steeped in the mystery of the dead man in the alley. From the lingo to the scenery, this book is fun and quick. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of the jazz age, New York City, and the LGBT community.
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This book makes you want to get your dancing shoes on! 💃

Last Call at the Nightingale is a murder mystery set in New York in 1924 during the Charleston era. The Nightingale is a illegal bar where people go to cut a rug, partake in alcoholic drinks and enjoy being accepted as themselves. Vivian Kelly goes there nightly to have fun and forget the worries of her day until she finds a dead body outside of the club. This spirals into a series of dangerous events that will forever change Vivian's life.

This is my first time to read a book by Katharine Schellman. She is recognized as a professional dancer and celebrated author. The book is well researched and visually takes readers to the dance floor with familiar themes of the era. The book has a few slow spots, but stick with it. The novel is a fun historical mystery that will have readers scratching their heads trying to figure out this "whodunit"!  (3 ⭐⭐⭐)

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, for this jazzy new book. I enjoyed reviewing it and appreciate your kindness.
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Last Call at the Nightingale is a fun romp through the Prohibition Era. Vivian is an Irish orphan, now in her early 20s with nothing but her sister Florence, her friend Bea, and her dancing at the Nightingale, a speakeasy run by some potentially shady characters, but it's the only place where she feels free. Vivian finds a dead body outside the Nightingale, and this mystery follows her through New York as she becomes more involved. The book has some holes, and maybe it's setting itself up for a sequel, but it is well written and fun to read. It's probably somewhat optimistic, but it's fun to imagine a place where people of all races, backgrounds, and sexual preferences come together to drink and dance and escape the dreary life outside.
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[Reviewed for Net Galley] This historical murder mystery is well written in the sense that it brings the reader back to the time of Prohibition so well that you think you’re there! The details are that amazing! 

I quickly fell in love with Vivian’s character and her need to find a sense of life outside the hardship that her and her sister live in and have been living in since her mom left. 

However, sometimes I had to think about how everyone fit in to the story because towards the end there were so many players into who killed Mr Wilson. I also wish that the story figured out the guy who knew claimed to know their mom.. that would have wrapped up the story a little better too. But definitely leaves it for sequel? All in all, a well written book, just some loose ends I wish were tied up!
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It's Prohibition and Vivian, a working girl, is a regular at the Nightingale, a speakeasy where she can dance, drink and enjoy herself for a few hours. Things get complicated when she needs to repay a favor. She needs to find information regarding a murdered man and it gets dangerous, but she is determined to make the most of it.  That's the bare bones. The story is fleshed out in a most enjoyable way. The setting and characters are wonderfully drawn and the story pulls you along effortlessly.  It also displays a realism about life, relationships and power in 1920's New York.
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Last Call at the Nightingale 

 I’m a sucker for a story set in the 1920s, especially in a fun setting like a jazz club/ speakeasy. 

The author has such a knack for writing a period piece- she clearly does her research and keeps things authentic. 

My favorite character was Vivian. She was not afraid to take chances to do what she wanted, even if that meant she disappointed her sister. I loved the sisters relationship. It was complicated but still rooted in love. I liked seeing them grow together and fight for each other. I would love to see these characters show up in later books.

This was such a fantastic mystery! It had me guessing till the end! 

I highly recommend anything by Katherine Schellman. She is an auto read author for me!!

This is out June 7th!!
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4.5 stars

An utterly intriguing murder mystery, set in 1920s New York. Filled with twists and turns, red herrings, snappy dialogue and clever characters, I loved every page. 
Vivian Kelly is a likeable protagonist, a young queer woman who just wants freedom from her day job as a dressmaker, and she finds it at The Nightingale, a speakeasy in Prohibition era New York City. The club is run by bad ass lesbian Honor Huxley, who has a special spot for our Vivian, and the rest of the employees are just as amazing: from Danny, the bartender who can hold his own in an alley brawl, to Bea, the smart as hell waitress who also happens to be Viv's best friend. Rounding out our main characters are Leo Green, a friend of Danny's who has recently returned to town, with an eye for trouble and for Vivian, and Florence, Vivian's straight-laced older sister who definitely doesn't like Vivian's night-time antics. 
When The Nightingale's relative safety is threatened when a body is found nearby, and the cops come calling, what will Vivian do to protect the place that most feels like home to her? 
From the clues sprinkled throughout, to the reveals that I honestly didn't see coming, this book is a mystery lover's dream. Katharine Schellman is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors.

Thank you to Minotaur Books for the digital ARC.
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