Cover Image: Last Call at the Nightingale

Last Call at the Nightingale

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This novel by Katharine Schellman takes place during prohibition in NY city.  The story is centered around a murder that takes place at a speakeasy.  The main character Vivian is a regular at the Nightingale and is drawn into the mystery.  To be honest, although the author creates the ambiance perfectly, I had a bit of difficulty being drawn into the story and felt myself skipping around a bit.  Definitely worth a try especially if you llove the ambience of the roaring 20's.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an eARC of this novel! Last Call at the Nightingale is a historical mystery set in 1920s New York City. The story follows Vivian Kelly, a young woman enamored with the flapper scene and speakeasies. While dancing at her favorite nightclub, the Nightingale, she stumbles across a dead body in the alley out back. Quickly, she is roped into helping the Nightingale's owner, Ms. Honor Huxley, find out if a newcomer to the club could be involved in the murder. Vivian owes Honor a favor, and she reluctantly agrees. The agreement could also have something to do with Vivian's attraction to Honor, or the fact that she is being asked to spend more time with her other love interest in the novel (a Mr. Leo Green).

What I loved best about this novel was the vivid description of the setting. It is clear the author did extensive research about New York City during this time, especially the fictionalized speakeasy scene. Schellman's description was engaging and only enhanced the story; I never felt like there was too much or too little description. The story also follows a diverse cast of characters from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum and imagines how these characters might have interacted during this time. Vivian also comes across as a believable protagonist- unlike some other mystery novels where an amateur is thrust into an investigation, Vivian doesn't think of herself as a professional or infallible. She recognizes the danger of the situation she finds herself in, even if she can be a bit overeager at times. The mystery aspect of the novel was engaging and helped propel the plot, especially in the second half of the novel. Overall, Schellman created a set of characters that I really enjoyed reading about, and I am hopeful for a sequel!
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Last Call at the Nightingale—what a fun story! —one that has the reader swaying to the music of the roaring twenties. The 1920’s in New York City is an era of dance halls, speakeasys, and jazz clubs, venues for relaxation and fun, both legal and illegal. One special club, The Nightingale, welcomes all patrons who can give Silence, the doorkeeper, the secret password. And behind closed doors, fun-seekers find short-skirted dancers, dangerous gangsters, and lots of bootlegged booze. But revelers are there because the drinks and the jazz are guaranteed to wash away one’s worries. 
     For the main character, Vivian, this club is her haven, a much-needed escape from her daily work as a dressmaker. She can and must protect the Nightingale, even if it means becoming involved solving a murder. This book is a fast-paced mystery with twists that kept me wondering. I love the author’s language, writing voice, and character-based plot. 
And in case you ever need it, the password is “I’ll dance ‘til last call.”
     Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC.
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DNF @ 50% - I just completely lost interest. I’m usually big on historical based crime, and the setting was absolutely perfect in my opinion, but the characters did nothing for me. I’m not a love to hate kind of person, but it didn’t even feel like that. I felt more just bored than anything.
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As soon as I saw this one I knewwwww I wanted to read it.  This is a new murder mystery series that takes place around a speakeasy jazz club in NYC during the 1920s.  

What. A. Setting. Right!?!? 

I swear it played like a movie in my head w all the details of this era. 

The characters in the book were great and I loved the whole setting of the book, even down to the details of how they spoke. Are ya good, young fella!? We follow along putting the pieces together of a murder and follow love interests along the way. 

It was a littttttttle slow in some areas, but again, overall I did enjoy. The last 75 pages or so reallllly flew and picked up the pace.  

This was a fun one and I’ll def be reading the next in the series when it comes out.
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A murder mystery that takes place in the heat of the '20s New York during Prohibition.  Vivian is a girl who just wants to have a few drinks, some laughs, and dance after a hard day working.  She loves the Nightingale, a speakeasy that plays cool jazz and is home to her. The Nightingale welcomes all types. In a time of rampant racism and being gay will get you beat up, arrested, or worse, Honer Huxley, the Lesbian owner makes sure everyone feels like they are the same at the Nightingale.
Vivian and her best friend find a dead body and get embroiled in a mystery that puts Vivian's life and her beloved Nightingale in danger.  


Any more would spoil the story, but I can say this was so much fun to read and listen to as an audiobook.  
There was nothing I didn't enjoy about this novel.  It was a historical mystery that stayed as true to the time of history it took place. It had a nice twist upon a twist, upon a twist ending that was actually not annoying. Usually, I'm not too fond of more than one twist, but it worked and worked perfectly.

My little gay heart sang for joy at the inclusion of Honor Huxley, the sultry, take no BS, owner, and the complicated relationships she has with her patrons.

If you prefer an audiobook version, the one narrated by Sara Young, made it even easier to get lost in 1920s New York. Ms. Young did a wonderful job keeping the characters sounding like individuals as well as keeping the listener enthralled.


Thanks to @netgalley, St. Martin's Press, and Katherine Schellman, for the opportunity to listen to this Audiobook in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
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I really enjoyed this mystery/thriller with interesting characters and lots of twists and unexpected plot turns to keep me guessing and turning those pages. My only slight disappointment was the setting never quite gelled for me. I never felt fully immersed in the roaring twenties or the fact that it was New York.

Vivian was a delightful character, full of life and wanting more than what she had been dealt. I totally got that she just wanted to spend her nights dancing and drinking and having fun, given her dreary job and home. She was pretty smart, although she did occasionally make poor decisions as she tried to solve the murder. I also enjoyed her friendship with Bea and her relationship with her older sister Flo. Bea was always there for Vivian and was a great confidante. Flo was a little harder to like, but being the older sister, she did feel responsible for Vivian, and she could be fierce when she needed to be.

There is a bit of romance as well, between Vivian and two other characters. I hesitate to call it a triangle as Vivian mostly feels confused by her feelings for either of them. I really liked Leo, and even though Vivian had trouble trusting him, I knew he was going to end up being a good guy. Honor, the owner of the Nightingale, was a little harder to like. She does put Vivian in harm’s way, not intentionally, but if she had really considered what she was asking Vivian to do, then she should have known how dangerous it might be. Her flirting also felt disingenuous at times.

I really did enjoy the writing and the mystery was very well done. I had most of it figured out by the end except for the true identity of the killer, which came as a bit of a surprise. My only issue with the book is the setting never felt fully fleshed out. I never really felt like it was the 1920’s, but I am not sure why exactly. Some of it was the dialogue felt too modern at times as did some of the actions of the characters. But that is a very minor complaint, and easily overlooked.

Although I don’t know for sure, I think this is going to be a series. I certainly hope so. I would love to see Vivian’s character continue to grow and solve more mysteries. There were a few loose ends at the end of this story that will certainly lend themselves to an exciting sequel. If you like historical mysteries then this is a book that you will want to add to your tbr and read as soon as you can.
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"First in a captivating Jazz age mystery series from author Katharine Schellman, Last Call at the Nightingale beckons readers into a darkly glamorous speakeasy where music, liquor, and secrets flow.

New York, 1924. Vivian Kelly's days are filled with drudgery, from the tenement lodging she shares with her sister to the dress shop where she sews for hours every day.

But at night, she escapes to The Nightingale, an underground dance hall where illegal liquor flows and the band plays the Charleston with reckless excitement. With a bartender willing to slip her a free glass of champagne and friends who know the owner, Vivian can lose herself in the music. No one asks where she came from or how much money she has. No one bats an eye if she flirts with men or women as long as she can keep up on the dance floor. At The Nightingale, Vivian forgets the dangers of Prohibition-era New York and finds a place that feels like home.

But then she discovers a body behind the club, and those dangers come knocking.

Caught in a police raid at the Nightingale, Vivian discovers that the dead man wasn't the nameless bootlegger he first appeared. With too many people assuming she knows more about the crime than she does, Vivian finds herself caught between the dangers of the New York's underground and the world of the city's wealthy and careless, where money can hide any sin and the lives of the poor are considered disposable...including Vivian's own."

Lately I've been all about the speakeasy lifestyle!
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I really really enjoyed this book and am hoping it’s the start of a new series because there’s a lot more to dive into! The setting was low key, pacing was good, the characters great, and the mystery was good with a solid ending. Definitely hoping there’s a follow-up soon!
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Thank you to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for my gifted physical and digital advance review copies of LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTINGALE.

It’s the 1920s and Prohibition is in full swing, but so are the speakeasies, full of short hemlines, illegal hooch, and guys and dolls eager to dance into the earlier hours of the morning. The Nightingale is no exception. By day, Vivian and her sister Florence struggle to make ends meet as dressmakers, but my night Vivian comes alive as she enters The Nightingale’s doors. One night, though, she steps out for a breath of fresh air and stumbles upon a body in the back alley- a discovery that threatens the club’s reputation (and Vivian’s nightly escape). 

This book was an awesome blend of historical fiction and mystery. It’s not a racing page turner, but I thought the storyline progressed at a great rate. I fell in love with all of the characters (except HH, sorry not sorry) and with The Nightingale itself (anyone else who has ever loved a bar will understand). 

The only thing I wish is that we’d gotten more answers about Vivian and Florence’s parents. I think that part of the storyline was left really unresolved. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I’m definitely a sucker for stories set in the Roaring 20s, and this was no exception.
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A great thriller! Set in speakeasy days with those who have and those who don’t, this story explores family and coming of age, all around a few murders along the way.
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Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this incredible arc!!

I adored this read!! The roaring twenties in New York City! An underground club called The Nightingale that welcomes all patrons equally.  Let the drinks flow and the jazz wash away your worries.  

This was Vivian's favorite spot and she would do anything to protect her little piece of heaven even if it meant getting involved in solving a murder that occurred.  This murder/mystery is slow-paced but moves smoothly and enjoyably.  Especially because it is such a character driven plot. 

I really enjoyed this and recommend as a good read!

Out June 7th!!
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United States Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for this advanced reader's copy. In exchange, I am providing an honest review.

It's the Roaring 20s and Prohibition has pushed people into underground dance clubs and hidden bars. Vivian Kelly's best friend works at The Nightingale so Vivian finds herself escaping the drudgery of her poverty-stricken existence by spending her nights dancing and drinking. One night she discovers a dead body in the alley behind the club and suddenly finds herself thrust into a set of circumstances she didn't expect. The club's owner has asked Vivian to repay a debt by keeping her eyes and ears open about the person who ended up dead. What could go wrong? Vivian is way outside of her element but she's also curious enough to keep at it which might bring harm to herself or people that she cares about. 

I really, really liked this title. What a great mystery set in the Roaring 20s! I loved the people of The Nightingale Club, the death and mystery Schellman created, and her choice of amateur detective in Vivian Kelly. I have no idea if this is a stand-alone title or if Vivian Kelly and The Nightingale are going to appear again but either way, this story was such a pleasure to read. I lost myself in the story. If it becomes a series, I am here for it.
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LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTINGALE was one of those books that started off really strong for me but kind of lost its steam at the end. I probably would have done better with it if I had just stuck to reading my physical ARC as opposed to just the audiobook. That has more to do with my attention span than it does the quality of the audiobook. I really loved the setting of this book. Schellman does a fantastic job capturing the world of 1920s Prohibition era New York, with all the glitz, good times and flappers. I loved the Nightingale and how it serves a safe place for marginalized folks during this time period. There is such a romantic feel to the setting which I could not get enough of.  I also really enjoyed the characters, who were all multi-faceted and interesting to read about, as well as their romantic entanglements and connections to each other. I like Vivian as an MC a lot and enjoyed seeing different sides of her throughout the book. The murder mystery of the book was promising but it just lost that gripping feeling as we approached the end. But if you enjoy interesting characters, historical fictions and murder mysteries, this is a read for you!
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I was drawn to this book because of its Roaring 20s setting, but it really didn’t live up to my expectations. I had a difficult time connecting with the main character, Vivian, in this novel. She just seemed lost & without a direction in her character development. I also found her relationship with Honor extremely odd & really unnecessary to the entire plot of the book, seeing as how they didn’t end up together. I also feel introducing Vivian’s & Flo’s potential blood relative at the end without wrapping it up with any kind of answer was pointless. I guess I just kept waiting for something to happen that never really surfaced. The outcome of the murder mystery wasn’t all that shocking & basically led to more blackmail on Vivian’s behalf. Just overall did not “wow” me.
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The Roaring 20s for Vivian Kelly is divided by night and day. During the day she lives in a tenement with her sister. They both work for a seamstress under difficult conditions and low wages. At night Vivian Kelly leaves the drab behind. She  transforms herself into a vibrant gal with a fondness for underground speakeasies where the liquor flows, the music is hot and the dance floor is packed with some questionable characters. All she wants is a good time. But one night she discovers a body behind the club. Maybe it’s just one of the bootleggers who is a lower type of criminal and would never be missed. Frightened yet intrigued, Vivian is torn between finding out the dead man’s identity or pretending it never happened.

After a raid on the club that scoops her up to jail, Vivian realizes the man may be more important than she realized; and knowing this could prove a deadly liability for her.

Katherine Schellman does a good job nailing the ambience of 1920s NYC and the differences of class, sexism and race. In fact, her minor characters seem more intriguing than Miss Kelly. Was more curious to learn their back stories, rather than focus on Vivian’s poor decisions and somewhat clueless actions. This is still a good read from an author to watch. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this title.
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Dazzling and full of mystery, Last Call at the Nightingale was absolutely delightful to read. The writing and details were superb, and it encompassed the atmosphere of the roaring 20s perfectly. Katharine Schellman crafted an amazing backdrop to this murder mystery, and Vivian was an intriguing and - at times - unpredictable main character, which made it even harder to put this book down.

I think that Vivian's plight of feeling trapped in her daily life and wanting an escape was quite relatable, especially during the Prohibition. The relationships with those surrounding her inside and outside of The Nightingale were extremely interesting as well, and added another layer of complexity to the mystery of this book. The ending was riveting, and I'm excited to see where this series leads. Overall a 5-star read for me.
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Last Call at the Nightingale is a fizzy murder mystery set in an integrated nightclub during Prohibition in New York City. Vivian Kelly, an Irish orphan grown to adulthood, is not content like her sister Florence to work as a seamstress all day and stay in at night. Once work is done for the day, she puts on her dancing shoes and heads to the Nightingale, where her good friend Bea is a waitress. One night, during Bea’s break the two stumble upon a murdered man and the relatively calm life she’s used to comes to an end. The mysterious Leo keeps popping up in her path, and the Nightingale’s owner Honor recruits her to dig into the man’s death. Naturally, she attracts attention, and not the good kind. Will her new friends help keep her safe from the people that don’t want her finding out why Willard Wilson ended up dead? I love stories that take place during the Roaring Twenties, and admittedly have more of a reserve built up for regurgitation in this time period than I do World War II, but that couldn’t elevate this book to more than average for me. I would have liked to see more character development out of Vivian. The reader knows that she’s hungry for more than the life she’s been given, but never really gets to step into her shoes and embody that desire. I feel like the nightclub itself is such a great opportunity to create an atmospheric setting, and yet I feel like I know the starkness of the space Vivian shares with Florence better. Finally, the mystery itself is solid, there isn’t really anything contradictory, but it rarely feels exciting or that Vivian is actually making solid progress on finding out why Wilson was killed. Because Schellman ends the story the way she does, it feels like the reader should have spent their time focusing on the character relationships, which are dynamic and interesting, rather than the mystery. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Last Call at the Nightingale
by Katharine Schellman
Pub Date: June 7, 2022
MInotaur 
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. 
Great mystery! I selected this book on a whim and I am glad I did. My thoughts:
-absolutely loved the settings in NYC during the 20s!
-all about the prohibition era
-a nice change of genre for me!
-elements of mystery & romance
-Great Gatsby vibes
It is the first book in a series and comes out in June! 
3 stars
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What a wonderful, suspenseful, historical murder mystery. I always wished I'd lived in the roaring twenties with the speakeasy, dancing, and glitz. After reading this I was reminded many people were poor immigrants with no electricity, no hot water, sweat shops, segregation, etc. Maybe I'll just stick to reading about those times. 
There is a variety of characters, unsavory, crooks, scoundrels, heartless sweat shop employers, bootleggers, dirty cops, wealthy and poor, black, white, Irish, Asian, straight and not. The setting is in the tenements, crowded, cold rooms of NYC. Even some of the phrases and words were unique to period, I had to look up a few. 
Vivian is headstrong, young and loves to dance. Her late night going out worries her practical, straight laced older sister, Florence.
Vivian has become acquainted with some patrons and employees at the Nightingale. She goes there most nights to dance and drink the bootleg champagne a fellow might buy her. One night she happens to see a very dead man out back. His death is eventually declared a heart problem, but she believes it was murder. Her stubborn quest to get answers leads her to dark alley brawls, threats on her life, cuts and bruises. A raid at the Nightingale lands her in jail. She has a risky deal with the Nightingale's owner, Honor Huxley, things get very complicated. Vivian's trust in the wrong people may lead to a broken heart or worse.
A very unexpected mystery, I really enjoyed reading it, liked the realistic characters, the plot and historical slant, would certainly recommend and will watch for other stories by this author. 
Thanks to NetGalley for the advance digital copy of "Last Call at the Nightingale" by Katharine Schellman, and to Minotaur Books, St. Martin’s Publishing. These are my honest, personal and voluntary thoughts and opinions.
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