Cover Image: Last Call at the Nightingale

Last Call at the Nightingale

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Member Reviews

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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I loved the setting of this book. It took place in New York in 1924 and followed Vivian through her days working as a seamstress and her wild and crazy nights at The Nightingale during the prohibition era. It was fun to imagine them all having a blast and dancing together and I could picture it all!

Everything changes when a body is found and that's when the book really starts getting interesting! I don't want to say much more as you should go in this as blind as possible. I loved discovering all the secrets and watching everything unfold. It did drag on for a me a little in the middle, but the ending definitely picked up and made up for it.

I think this will be a big hit for a lot of people. Thank you so much to St Martin's Press for the chance to read to this book prior to release. This will be available for purchase on June 7th.

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I really, really liked this book. Ms. Schellman is a very talented writer and she captures the sights, sounds and atmospheres of New York’s 1920’s working class neighborhoods and speakeasies in a novel that is clearly well-researched. Her story contains a wonderful blend of characters from all walks of life who are the literal representation of the Melting Pot and she does a beautiful job of bringing them to life and making the interpersonal dynamics feel very real. Ms. Schellman doesn’t flinch from the harsh brutality and ugliness that was a large part of that landscape, but she also captures the joys and freedoms found in dancing and alcohol during the Prohibition Era. Perhaps best of all, she writes with contemporary sensitivities: it’s the female, not male, characters of the story who are the movers and drivers behind the action. The story is well-structured and well-paced, the layers gradually unfolding like an onion. Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read and definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my Advance Reader Copy!

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I wanted to like this book more than I did. I *did* enjoy it, and I'm grateful that the publisher allowed me access to an early copy on Netgalley (two, actually! Audiobook and ebook!), but something just never quite clicked over to love for me. I really liked the writing. Vivian was a great character (and definite bonus points for bisexual representation). But at times the mystery parts seemed tacked on and unnecessary. The nightclub, the people who went there, Honor, etc, they were all much more fascinating than the body in the alley. In fact, I wish the book had been from Honor's point of view (in fact, that might help explain why she handpicked Vivian to be her eyes and ears, which wasn't a plot hole, just something I found odd. Maybe she just found her pretty...?)

All that said, it was a solid read, and I will definitely read more of Katharine Schellman in the future.

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Vivian Kelly is a seamstress that lives with her straight laced sister Florence during The Prohibition Jazz Age of 1924. Vivian likes to go to The Nightingale Club to dance at night,escape, and have some fun. However one night, Vivian discovers a dead body and her curiosity and involvement gets her involved with a nasty group.of characters which also.gets into a back story about her mother.

This book was just ok for me. Great description of the characters and setting to make you feel you were there. I found Vivian a bit of a busy body not listening to anyone concerned for her safety. I wish there was more back.stories and character development for Leo. Danny and Honor. .Decent read bur I wasn't wowed.

My thanks to Net Galley and St Martin s Press for this advanced copy.

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I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC. The views expressed are entirely my own.

I'm waffling between a 3 and a 3.5 for this one.

The setting of this book is done beautifully. Schellman is a master at making a reader feel as if they are right there in the thrill of it with the character. Her plot is well crafted, and I love her side characters. There are a lot of them, but I felt like they were all distinct with lives that are full and well-rounded. (Honestly, I wanted more of their stories, and I hope they get fleshed out even more in the future.)

I do feel like the pace was slow in the middle. It started out with a literal bang, and near the end I was fully absorbed. But the middle....it dragged a bit for me.

I also wished that the backstory, if there was any, between Vivian and Honor was fleshed out more. Is Vivian a fun time? Sure. But what is it about her that has caught Honor's eye? What makes her stand out from all the other girls who flicker in and out of the club? I'm not sure if I knew, so their relationship wasn't one I could buy into.

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A quick and enjoyable read. I wish the characters had been more fully realized, but it looks as if this is to be the first of a series, so perhaps over time...

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When the publisher included the first several chapters of this book in a sampler several months ago I knew I had to read the whole book, and thanks to NetGalley I’ve been able to get an advance copy.
When Vivian and her friend Bea discover the well dressed body of a murdered man in the back alley of a Prohibition era speakeasy Viv quickly finds herself in trouble. Torn between just walking away, or helping the owner by gathering information as to the possible killer, Viv decides the dancehall is worth fighting for, it’s the only joy after working all day for little pay as a seamstress. The characters are a mixed group in many ways, ethnicity, sexual preferences, and financial status, Viv finds a way to bridge them all. The author paints vivid pictures of the scenes, the depressing tenements, the sparkling music and dance, the homes of the wealthy Viv makes deliveries to. Vivian’s relationships are well written too, the strained distance with her sister, her love of Bea and her mother, the tension between she and Hux, and a budding romance all make her character come alive.
I’m hoping this is the start of a series, I would love to know how the story goes on. I’m normally more of a police procedural mystery fan, but Last Call at the Nightingale has won me over.

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Loved the characters in this one- a jazzy mystery set in a club called the Nightengale. When a body is discovered in the alley one night - it suddenly puts Vicen who dances at the underground club into danger. There is a police raid that brings her to the attention of the club owner who asks for a favor that she cannot deny accepting. Well written and fun - this story zipped by bubbling with the sound of jazz

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