Rowan Manory and his assistant Walter Williams are hired to stop a murder at a birthday party. The man in question is Robert Lascivia, a suspect in a rape and murder case from twenty years ago. (Mother was murdered and her daughter, raped)
The Mississippi Manor is cut off from the outer world due to floods. (The Great Flood of 1927). The party begins and a man is found dead. This is followed by another murder. Can Manory stop the murderer before more bodies start to drop?
Goodnight Irene is James’ debut novel.
Written in Mystery Classics style, I absolutely enjoyed reading Goodnight Irene. The tension and suspense amalgamate well with the eerie atmosphere (storm and flood). Then comes the shady characters. Almost every guest in the house has something to hide. Soon after the murder(s), one of the characters disappear; a couple claiming to be Mr Lascivia’s relatives have something to hide.
It’s been five months since Manory’s last case – he was a tad too late in identifying the killer’s true intentions and this resulted in two more deaths – something that Manory blames himself for. As the story proceeds, Manory’s demons catch up to him and he must fight them – fight them before it is too late.
A very written novel; every freaking detail is so well explained – it felt like a movie playing in my head. The second half of the book is nothing short of a nail-biting adventure. The storm, the flooded river, a killer on prowl and Manory’s darkness catching up to him. Phew! Kept me on the edge of the seat.
In the last few chapters, Manory does the ‘revealing of the killer’ in Hercule Poirot Style. This ‘style’ is my all-time favourite in a mystery novel. 😀 As Manory starts to speak, I identified the killer. After all, it’s only the matter of putting two and two together, mon ami! But… this didn’t stop me from enjoying the ending. Presentation is what matters! Manory presents the identity of the murderer on a silver plate (not literally!).
Walter as a sidekick brings an essence of humour to the story. I really liked their ‘banter’ – relatable to an always-arguing husband-wife 😉 I loved Manory’s sarcasm. 😀
Goodnight Irene by James Scott Byrnside is a highly recommended read from me. Also, if you haven’t read his second novel – The Opening Night Murders – I recommend you to read that too.
By the way, the flood and the manor reminded me a tad of The Siamese Twin Mystery by Ellery Queen.
Writing Style: 5/5
Character Development: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
Title: Goodnight Irene
Author: James Scott Byrnside
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
Purchase Link(affiliate): Amazon.com