Cover Image: Last Call at the Nightingale

Last Call at the Nightingale

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Member Reviews

This one took me a while to get into. Not because it wasn't interesting and suspenseful, but because it was slow to get really into the drama.

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When I found out that Katherine Schellman had a new series I had to get my hands on a copy. I wasn't disappointed. She writes excellent historical mysteries. Set in 1924 New York, Vivian works long hours as a seamstress and lives in a dreary flat with her sister but at night? That's when she's set free. She escapes to the Nightingale, a speakeasy that hosts all comers and Vivian can dance the night away. It's her other home with friends who help her forget her other life. No questions asked, lots of booze and music. All that hits the skids one night when Vivian and her friend Bea take a breather out in the alley and discover a dead body. All they want to do is put lots of distance between themselves and the body but Ms. Huxley, the owner of the Nightingale fears the police and gets Vivian to investigate. It turns her world upside down and puts her life in jeopardy.
Vivian is a wonderful character and the mystery had me staying up past my bedtime. I could hear the music and feel the vibrant life of the Nightingale. Historical mysteries are my favorite genre and this new series has earned a spot on my must be read shelf. My thanks to the publisher Minotaur and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Last Call at the Nightingale is a delightful journey into the Roaring 20's. Heroine Vivian Kelly lives and works with her sister as a beleaguered seamstress, but at night she comes alive at The Nightingale, a NYC speakeasy and dance halls. Vivian loves to dance, and there is no shortage of men to buy her drinks and do a fancy quickstep. Her best friend, Bea, works at the Nightingale, and Vivian has also made fast friends with bartender, Danny, who manages to slip her glasses of champagne. Vivian's also caught the eye of the owner of the Nightingale, Honor Huxley.

One night, Viv and Bea head out to the back alley for a breather, and they discover a dead body. One of the Nightingale's patrons has been shot. It's a full house at the Nightingale so there are myriad potential killers hiding in plain sight. Viv wants to forget the whole thing and get home to her sister, Florence. Honor Huxley has other ideas though. The dead body has brought the attention of the police down on the Nightingale, and Hux wants to find the killer so she can get them off her back and out of the club. She convinces (bribes) Vivian to do a little investigating.

I enjoyed all the well-developed characters, and Ms. Schellman spun a crafty historical mystery that kept me riveted. This is noted as the first book in a new series, and I'm here for what comes next.

Thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for providing an eGalley in exchange for posting an honest review.

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I was given a free e-copy of this novel by NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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. (Goodreads synopsis)

I have read a previous novel written by Katharine Schellman. She is very good at describing the settings and feelings of characters to the point that the reader feels as if they are there, in the moment. It truly feels like time-traveling to where the reader hears the music and feels the fast flush after finishing the Charleston.

What I liked about this novel was that it encompassed what history was actually like for everyone. Prohibition was a ridiculous notion, and everyone from wealthy to poor knew it. However, this novel also shows the prejudices, and how they could be elevated for a few hours of “partying.”

I think the relationship between Florence and Vivian was accurate as well. While they are sisters and neither would let the other come to pain, it does not mean that they are affectionate nor that they will not hurt each other. Quite the opposite. They love each other, but they also do not know how to understand the other.

Overall I rate this novel 5 out of 5 stars.

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Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for the ARC. The opinions expressed are my own. New York, the 1920s, the Jazz Age, Prohibition. The Nightingale is a club that offers the protagonist, Vivian, the freedom she's been craving. As a poor Irish immigrant with only her sister for family, she pushes against the restraints of society. Seamstress by day, queer dancer by night. Her best friend, Bea, is a waitress at the club. One night, taking the air outside, Vivian stumbles onto a dead body. She's told by the owner of the club to forget what she saw. But she becomes embroiled in it after having to repay a debt from a raid on the club. She was arrested and couldn't post bail, so the club owner paid it. In exchange for Vivian to clear the club's name of any wrongdoing.

Vivian had been sworn off by the owner and was now being told to repay her debt; she had to get involved. Vivian is in increasing danger the more informed she unearths. She continues to sew by day, and investigate and dance. The Nightingale is central to the story. It's important not only because of its ties to the murdered victim, but so much more. The lives of the rich and poor and immigrants or colored people were heavily segregated. There was also the Prohibition, that was meant to end nationwide the importing, transporting and selling of alcoholic beverages. The Nightingale was illegal just based on the alcohol, but it helped to blur the lines of the people who visited, a more even playing field. To Vivian, it was home.

So to save the club, her refuge, she faces danger to seek answers. I like her character in that she's strong, stubborn, a rebel. I enjoyed the mystery and the overall theme of the book. Personally, I wouldn't give it a raving review. It was interesting but dark and seedy. The ending left me a little unsatisfied. Overall, 3.5 stars.

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This Is such a great start to what I hope is a new historical mystery series.

I loved the unique setting – a Jazz club in 1920’s New York. There is a cast of diverse and memorable characters that keep the story interesting. There is also a love triangleish aspect to the story between Vivian, Leo, and the club owner Ms. Honor Huxley.

Vivian and her friend find a murdered man in the alley of the nightclub. This discovery kicks off an interesting mystery. The plot seemed pretty straightforward, but there are a few twists and turns to keep it interesting. I didn’t figure out the murderer until the end, so the red herrings did their trick!

My favorite part of the story was the interaction between Vivian and handsome stranger, Leo. I had so much fun trying to figure out who the mysterious stranger/love interest was that blew into town from Chicago. I hope he features prominently in the next book.

If you enjoy reading historical mysteries with unique characters and a touch of romance, I highly recommend this book!

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I love it when a novel brings a fresh view to the past. In this story, readers are brought back to the days of jazz clubs and prohibition. The unique thing about this story is the Nightingale, which is a club that welcomes everyone, regardless of race or sexual orientation.

Our main character Vivian Kelly is an Irish girl who lives with her older sister and works in a dress shop. At night she frequents the Nightingale, where her best friend Bea works as a waitress. Although Bea is a black woman, the girls live in the same neighborhood and Vivian considers Bea’s family like her own.

Early on in the novel, Bea and Vivian discover a dead man outside the club which leads readers on a wonderful game of cat and mouse. Complete with a budding romance and details of the shady side of the wealthy, this novel is an enjoyable trip back to the days of the dance clubs and bootleggers.

I’m hoping there may be a series developing from this book. I’ll be ready to read the next one if it happens.

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advance copy. I’m happy to give my honest review.

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Fans of historical mysteries should look no further than the upcoming Last Call at the Nightingale for their next read. Get yourselves ready to spend 7th June fully absorbed in this book: here are five reasons why!

One. This is a compelling historical mystery. It’s the kind of mystery that sucks you in from page one and doesn’t let you go until the end.

Two. There’s a love triangle you won’t hate. Okay, granted I say this as someone who isn’t a fan of love triangles, but even so. This one sets our main character in a tug of war between two sides, and it’s glorious.

Three. This is clearly a well researched book. If you want a book that will just transport you into its world, then this is the one for you.

Four. It’s full of characters you can root for, even the ones who are, let’s face it, more morally grey than the others. You won’t be able to pick a side because you’ll just want all of them to win.

Five. A mystery is nothing without a few twists and turns and this book has those in abundance. You won’t be able to predict where the plot will take you next. And really, that’s the thing you want most out of a mystery.

So, have I piqued your interest?

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Set in NYC during the Jazz Age, I could not get enough of the city, nightclub, or characters in this story. The main character, Vivian, is smart and interesting and one of my new favorite females in fiction. The mystery is clever and race, class, and LGBTQ topics are included in ways that work so well, especially after you read the author’s note at the end. This would make a fantastic beach read for the Summer!

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This was fun to read, let me start with that. The writing was excellent, the pacing was true to the genre, the characters were full humans not 2D archetypes, and the stakes of the mystery felt real. All high marks!

Last Call at the Nightingale tells the story of Vivian Kelley, a poor Irish woman who lives with her prudish older sister and has a respectable day job as a seamstress. But at night, she hits up the idyllic speakeasy, the Nightingale, where everyone is welcome and the booze flows all night. After she chances upon a crime scene, Vivian gets pulled into the darker side of the prohibition era and learns that everyone around her has an angle to play as she tries her hardest not to get crushed in the game.

I loved watching this mystery unfold and, though I guessed the conclusion about halfway through, the story Schellman spins is worth reading just to see the big reveal come together. Also, that ending?! Is this not a standalone?!

**Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the eARC**

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I’m a sucker for books about New York City, particularly ones that take place in a different historical time period. This one, Last Call At The Nightingale, certainly fits the bill. Time and place are 1924 Manhattan, New York City. We not only learn about speakeasies (so popular during Prohibition) but we also get glimpses into the lives of ordinary working folk as well as the ultra-rich. Our main character, Vivian Kelly, lives with her older sister in what seems to be a tenement building (bathroom down the hall and all that entails). Both of them work as seamstresses at a small company that caters to well-to-do women. For fun, Vivian likes to go to The Nightingale at night, where she can dance and be treated to a free drink or two. One night, Vivian discovers a body outside the club, and reports it to the club’s owner, Honor. Honor is wonderfully drawn; she is someone who skirts both the law and society’s conventions, as she prefers women to men and is drawn to Vivian. Vivian isn’t quite sure what she wants, as she seems interested in both Honor and a man she meets at the club, Leo. Not long after the body is discovered, the club is raided by the police and Vivian is among those arrested. Because Honor bails her out, Vivian owes her a favor, which is how Vivian gets involved investigating, albeit reluctantly. I didn’t figure out the killer, which is the mark of a well-written and well-plotted book.

I bounced between the audiobook and the ebook for this title, which was very convenient. The narrator, Sara Young, did a fine job with the many voices.

I particularly enjoyed the Author’s Note at the end of the print/ebook, which gave interesting information on speakeasies, bootlegging, the relations between different immigrant groups and races, the easing up of race and class lines in these nightclubs and dance halls, the changing role of women, as well as the queer subculture that existed during the Jazz Age. I hope this note is included in the final version of the audiobook.

Thank you to Dreamscape Audio and NetGalley for the opportunity to listen to an advance copy of this audiobook and to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance reader copy of this book. All opinions are my own

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Last Call at the Nightingale is a Jazz Age murder mystery centered around Vivian. By day, she is a seamstress working alongside her sister and at night, she is dancing at the speakeasy her friend Bea works at.

One night, Vivian and Bea stumble outside the Nightingale to find a dead body out back. After the Nightingale’s owner, Honor Huxley, finds out that Vivian saw the body, she’s roped into helping solve the murder and getting information from a newcomer to the dance club. Vivian is attracted to both Honor and the newcomer (Leo Green) so spending time with them both seems to be a bonus.

I liked Vivian. She had a vivaciousness that lived within the pages. Her interactions with her friend Bea, her sister Flo, and the 2 romance interests gave the character life. I loved the diverse cast of characters and how she portrayed them in a 1920s setting.

The mystery really picked up in the second half of the book and the killer was a bigger surprise than I thought it would be. The descriptions of the settings were vivid enough that I could picture 1920s NYC in its speakeasy glory. This appears to be the first in a series and I would gladly pick up the next title.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Vivian spends her days sewing in a dead end job. Her nights are spent dancing her cares away. One night she happens upon a dead man in the alley. The owner of the Nightingale ask her to keep her eyes and ears open for any information on the dead guy. Vivian gets into more than she bargained for.
It’s a good mystery with a few twists . I enjoyed it
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy

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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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