Cover Image: Viviana Valentine Goes Up the River

Viviana Valentine Goes Up the River

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This is such a fun series
The setting, characters, and mystery are lovely
Can't wait for the third
Was this review helpful?
A charming, fun historical mystery.

Viviana and Tommy are back at it in the second installment of the Viviana Valentine series, this time contracted to investigate some strange noises and other goings on at a makeshift lab, and then the eventual murder that follows it.

I thought the first book in this series was fine and I liked Viviana, Tommy, and the rest of the crew a great deal. This book was an improvement on the first, with a smarter and more intriguing mystery and the same fun banter and lovable characters.

Sassy, sharp Viviana is a treasure, and I look forward to seeing what she gets up to in the next installment of this series.
Was this review helpful?
The title alone sounded quirky. The story too.

Viviana is detective partner with Tommy. It is 1950s New York and society still
has very clear demarcations of what ladies can and  cant do. Invited by Buster, a wealthy
businessman of science to a weekend party - this is a cover for what Buster actually 
wants tgem to do. Find out how, why and where strange sounds emanate from empty rooms
in his mansion at all odd times of the day and night.

Seemed a bit of a weak start but the characters at the party were all amusing, all had
agendas of their own and despite the murder of one of the guests, everything seemed
too light hearted to be taken seriously.

A bit of a letdown.
Was this review helpful?
It’s November, 1950, in New York and the new office assistant, a New York millionaire, has a new client for PI’s Viviana and Tommy.  The new client, Buster, lives in a mansion along the Hudson River and invites the two for a weekend party and, while there, their assignment is to locate the source of weird noises throughout the mansion.  That is just the start of the search since during the night another person at the party has been poisoned and enough snow has fallen throughout the night that it might be days before the roads and waterways are open.  The dialogue is great between Vi and Tommy and more than a professional relationship is developing.  Vi is up to any task whether it is crawling throughout the mansion in search of the sound or gaining the admiration of the FBI when she is questioned.  So many characters and plausible reasons for what is transpiring in the mansion.  Thank to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an ARC of this book; the review is my voluntarily opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Viviana is now Tommy's partner in his PI business and no longer his Girl Friday, That job is now held by Tally, aged eighteen and a great addition to the team. As the mystery begins Tally still can't make potable coffee and she's not very good at sorting out when a possible future - paying - client asked her to ask Tommy to work for him. It turns out that her friend Buster, up in Tarrytown, NY, is hearing woo-woo noises in his mansion and he wants Tommy and Viv to sort it out. Well, one thing leads to another and it's off to a swank mansion, an interesting group of guests and a dead body. As it's November 1950 snow makes an appearance and their case becomes a locked room mystery. 
Described as set in the gritty noir world of 1950 New York, this series has a humorous touch that spoofs the genre and it's pitch perfect. The mystery is well plotted and entertaining and the main characters are very well fleshed out. I won't share any more for fear of spoilers but I will say that I, as a infrequent reader of gritty noir I can't wait for the third in the series, Viviana Valentine and the Ticking Clock (due out November 7, 2023)
My thanks to the publisher Crooked Lane and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC of Viviana Valentine Goes up the River!

When the wealthy Buster Beacon presents a seemingly ghostly case to investigative partners, Tommy Fortuna and Vivana Valentine, they are intrigued. Once at Buster's estate they get snowed in and shortly after that, a body is found. The murder and mystery become more complicated and Viviana must solve them before the killer strikes again! 

I have found a new comfort series/author in Emily Edwards and the Viviana Valentine books. This book was even better than the first, which I loved. I so greatly enjoy the coziness of these mysteries and how Edwards has created characters that are witty, fun, and thoughtful. Viviana Valentine is a wonderfully smart woman, and I love how capable she is. And you can't discount her banter with the other characters. It's superb. It was also really nice to see Viviana come into her own in this book, recognizing that she is Tommy's partner and no longer his admin, but also still questioning the stakes of her new job. 

As someone who has enjoyed Agatha Christie's works for years, Edwards' books have all the vibes and "smarts" of a Christie novel, without the cringey moments that were unfortunately a product of Christie's writing/time. This book also has all the classic elements of a mystery book that I love, but breathes new life into them. I hope that Viviana Valentine is a continual series because I am really looking forward to reading about more of her adventures.
Was this review helpful?
The title of this book caught my attention first because it sounded like fun.  This is the first book I've ready by Emily J. Edwards, so I missed the first book of this series.  The noir atmosphere of this book permeated throughout. It gave me the same feeling of the old Perry Mason novels, with his Girl Friday, Della Street.

1950, New York. Viviana Valentine–Girl Friday turned partner to New York’s top investigator, Tommy Fortuna–is drawn into a sordid new case when Buster Beacon, a wealthy man of science, beckons them to a party at his mansion north of the city. There, Buster entertains blue-blooded friends as well as investors keen to make a dollar on the many advancements made in his home laboratory, but he’s been hearing strange noises in the night coming from his expansive estate, and he doesn’t know who to trust.

Once Viviana and Tommy arrive, the party is snowed in. And suddenly, there is a dead body and nowhere to hide. Who killed the disguised federal agent in their midst? And how have details from the top-secret lab become public? Once chomping at the bit to be brought into this mysterious life, Viviana wonders if she’s ready for the risks that come with the territory—risks that rise treacherously high as the killer targets the next victim.

Set in the gritty, noir world of 1950 New York City, Emily J. Edwards’s Viviana Valentine Goes Up the River packs all the elements mystery fans love: an irresistibly clever protagonist, a posh cast of heroes and villains, and a murder case that could defy even the most seasoned investigator.

My thoughts:
This was a fun book.  The investigation was interesting and the perpetrator was certainly not obvious.  Viviana Valentine made me laugh.  I liked her character and her partner, Tommy Fortuna.  I enjoyed following the twists and turns of the investigation.  The group stranded at the mansion had intriguing backgrounds that kept me wondering about them.  The book was well-paced and the plot was a good mystery.  I enjoyed the setting and the noir feel. The witty dialogue was humorous.  I would recommend to anyone who likes a "clean" type mystery without a bunch of gore.

Thanks to Crooked Lane Books through Netgalley for an advance copy.  This book will be published on May 2, 2023.
Was this review helpful?
My first book by this author and in this series. It's atmospheric, entertaining, gritty and gripping. The mystery is a good complex locked room mystery where the guests as stuck together and kept me guessing. Happy to recommended this although the 1950's aren't my thing the mystery works in any era. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
An excellent second instalment in this series that mixes humour, hard boiled mystery, and golden age trope.
This is a closed circle of suspects type of novel and Viviana and Tony are at a party where someone was killed and the snow limited the number of suspects.
It's entertaining, gritty and gripping. i love Viviana, the atmosphere, and the solid mystery kept me guessing.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
Was this review helpful?
When Buster Beacon, a wealthy man of science, invites them to a party at his house outside the city, Viviana Valentine—formerly Girl Friday and now Tommy Fortuna’s partner—becomes involved in a murky new case. Buster hosts investors eager to profit from the numerous achievements achieved at his home laboratory as well as high-society acquaintances there, but he has been hearing weird noises in the night coming from his huge estate and is unsure of who to believe.

The celebration is stranded indoors until Viviana and Tommy show up. And then, with nowhere to run, a corpse appears. Who murdered the masked federal agent who was there among them? And how did information from the top-secret lab reach the general public? Having once been eager to enter this secret life, Viviana now questions if she is prepared for the dangers that come with it—dangers that increase treacherously high as the murderer hunts out the next victim. I was interested in the description when I first read it, but it fell short of my expectations. The quick-moving narrative, the witty language, and the plot’s eventual expansion to include murder and international intrigue were all enjoyable.

Viviana Valentine Walks Up the River by Emily J. Edwards, set in the gritty, noir world of 1950 New York City, has everything a mystery reader could want: a charming protagonist, a rich cast of heroes and villains, and a murder case that might stump even the most seasoned detective. When a murder occurs at a weekend home party and no suspects can leave because of the weather, the incident is considered a “closed room” crime. Even though I don’t often read historical fiction, I liked the atmosphere and period of this novel. This one includes some intriguing turns. My first book by the author, and I like it so much that I want to read more.
Was this review helpful?
Viviana Valentine is a female P.I. in New York in the 50s, partnered with her boss/mentor/friend Tommy Fortuna.  The relationship between the two wavers between good pals but possibly more and at times I felt a bit confused.

The two are called to the remote home of a rich scientist who is working on important research at his mansion. There is a house party going on, and strange noises are making everyone uneasy. Tommy and Viv are supposed to find the source of the eerie sounds. In the best country house mystery tradition, they all get snowed in together and somebody dies.

There is a lot going on here: poison, spying, federal agents, financial shenanigans, and more. Viv and Tommy persevere to try and track down the web of lies. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
1950’s PI duo’s sleuthing!

Ok I wasn’t feeling the love, I was finding it hard to identify with the characters. I knew it was supposed to be a spoof on 1950’s type mystery novels, but on first beginnings reading I found it more a B grade movie than a jewel in the crown. Anyway I gave it a second chance read and loved it!
I adored the PI team of Viviana Valentine and Tommy Fortuna. They were awesome.
This is a locked room mystery and as I became more engrossed it sparked me up. At that first attempt I obviously was not in the mood, next time round was a winner.
I love the cover of the book btw.
Tally, Viviana and Tommy’s very rich secretary and acquaintance from a prior case, takes a phone call at home from her friend Buster Beacon needing a private eye for some rather embarrassing, ridiculous even, occurrences. As Buster puts it, “Woo-woo creaks and ghastly sounds.”
Viviana and Tommy take the case and find themselves upstate at Buster’s country mansion ready to investigate those strange noises. 
There’s a mansion with passageways, a body, a sudden snowstorm, and let’s not forget the woo-woo noises!
The guests range from two bright tech men with work that involves dangerous secrets, an investor and his wife, a neighbor, a regular upper crust gal, and of course the butler. 
Street smart and sassy playing well into its genre and era. All I can say is thank goodness I began over. I was won!

A Crooked Lane Books ARC via NetGalley.                                              
Many thanks to the author and publisher.
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
Was this review helpful?
The second Viviana Valentine mystery was an engaging historical mystery. It is nearly Thanksgiving, 1950, when Viv and her boss Tommy Fortuna get a new case. One of their rich secretary's friends is hearing weird noises in his house and wants Viv and Tommy to find out what is making the noises.

Viv and Tommy find themselves at a house party in a mansion up the Hudson River from New York with an interesting assortment of fellow guests. Buster Beacon is the client. He's a rich guy determined to get richer by using his scientific talents to develop things for the government. Other guests include two other scientists, a husband and wife who are investors in Buster's work, an heiress who might also be an investor, a neighbor named Chester Courtland, and Monty Bonito who is a colleague of Tommy's. 

As Viv and Tommy try to figure out the relationships between the guests and try to track down a strange noise, the snow begins to fall and a bridge collapses, trapping all the guests in the house. Only Chester Courtland is in need of a doctor's care. He's broken his leg and been poisoned. He passes away and Viv and Tommy now have a murder to investigate too.

Someone among the people trapped in the mansion is a Soviet agent who wants to pass information back to the USSR. It turns out that Courtland was undercover from the FBI, and he's not the only suspicious character. 

This was a fun mystery steeped in 1950 from the slang to the fashion to the lifestyle. Viv was a great example of a woman with ambition and moxie.
Was this review helpful?
Private detective Viviana Valentine and her partner, Tommy Fortuna, are hired by scientist Buster Beacon to investigate the strange noises that he keeps hearing around his mansion. Viviana and Tommy arrive at the mansion in time to join a house party that includes Buster's partners, investors, and friends. The mysterious noises take a back seat when an undercover FBI agent is murdered just in time for Viviana and Tommy to get trapped in the mansion with the killer. Buster is going secret scientific research for the government, and there is concern that at least one of the houseguests is committing espionage for a rival country. 


VIVIANA VALENTINE GOES UP RIVER is an intriguing, closed-door mystery. There is a limited number of suspects, but they all seem to have varying motives and agendas for the murder and the espionage. The science was a bit over my head, and I found myself losing interest in those sections. Viviana Valentine is a smart and scrappy heroine. I just wish we knew more of her background before she started working for Tommy as his Girl Friday.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately I missed the first book in this series but I think I came to grips with the characters and the background pretty quickly.

Viviana Valentine Goes Up River is set in New York in 1950. Viviana was previously Girl Friday to Tommy Fortuna but she has now become his business partner and they work together as Private Investigators. There is a strong attraction between them which indicates they may well become partners in the other sense as well.

The crime is a 'locked room' one when weather prevents all the suspects leaving after a murder has occurred at a weekend house party. Many of the guests turn out to be much more than they seem and it is very difficult to discover the murderer. There were some very clever touches and some interesting historical facts included along the way.

I enjoyed the mystery and the setting, but was a tiny bit uncomfortable with the characters and the dialogue which seemed to me a little stereotyped and overdone. Still a good book and worth 4 stars.
Was this review helpful?
Except for one very glaring error, this was an exceptionally good read. We might call this an almost 'locked room' murder mystery. You may be wondering why I didn't rate it higher then. I couldn't always keep it straight because there were so many secondary and tertiary characters, especially when the author sometimes used last names and then switched to first names.

This was the first time I read a locked room mystery. The reason I call it that is because once the murder happened, everyone stayed in the house and, due to a storm, never ventured anywhere else.

This was a very clever book that kept me guessing.

Oh, and the glaring error I mentioned was the use of the word "database," which wasn't used until 1962, according to the  Oxford English Dictionary. So except for that, I found this to accurately represent the year 1950. Of course, I wasn't born in the 1940s, but not so many years after 1950!

*ARC supplied by the publisher Crooked Lane Books, the author, and NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
After Viviana Valentine became a PI and partners with Tommy Fortuna in their Manhattan business,  wealthy debutanteTally Blackstone moved into Viviana's position as secretary. The firm's newest client, Buster Beacon, is one of Tally's acquaintances. Buster is a scientist with a sprawling estate in Tarrytown, and he's been hearing creaks and ghastly sounds in the house, and wants the PIs to uncover the cause. When Tommy and Viviana arrive, they find a house full of scientists and wealthy investors, but Buster doesn't know who to trust. Within a day, an undercover FBI agent is dead, and the estate is snowed in with a bridge out. Although the investigators try to keep their identity secret, it isn't long before they have to dig into top secret Cold War scientific experiments in hopes of uncovering a spy as well as a killer.

Some of the questions are never fully answered in the sequel to Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man. Sexist male attitudes towards working women are on full display in this 1950s period piece that may only appeal to fans of the earlier book.
Was this review helpful?
Set in 1950 New York, Viviana Valentine Goes Up River is the second in the rollicking Girl Friday series.  Not only are historical details written with a flourish but there is spying, top secret information, romance and murder to whet the appetite.  

Viviana is Tommy's new partner in his private investigative business.  But they mix outside of work, too, and enjoy easy banter and other activities.  Wealthy science man Buster (love these 1950s names!) hears weird noises on his estate so asks the pair to investigate during a house party featuring investors and scientists.  Things go bump in the night in more ways than one.  As a former cunning pickpocket, Viviana knows the ins and outs of the industry.  Tommy is smart, too, and the two make an intelligent team as they inveigle and mingle.

Romcom noir isn't my wheelhouse but the blurb appealed.  I like author Emily J. Edward's style.  You get noir flavour but not gritty bombardment. 

Those searching for a bit of an edge and originality in their characters and mystery, do try this.

My sincere thank you to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for providing me with an early digital copy of this fun novel.
Was this review helpful?
Another great episode in a fun series. This one takes Viviana and Tommy to an isolated manor filled with mad scientists. It's the movie Clue meets Sam Spade! Fun, with lots of twists and turns and a satisfying ending. I recommend this series!
Was this review helpful?
I have not read any other books by this author yet. 
 I definitely am not typically a historical fiction reader but I really enjoyed the setting and time period of this book. 
I love the main character, I love the easy descriptive way the author writes. 
Definitely a good mystery and intriguing enough that it makes me want to read more by this author.

Thankyou to author Emily J Edwards, Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
🌸📚🤗 Charlene @lastnownext
Was this review helpful?