Russian Roulette

Written by Sara Sheridan
Review by Catherine Hokin

Russian Roulette is the sixth outing for Sara Sheridan’s plucky 1950s crime-solving sleuth Mirabelle Bevan. The story works well as a standalone, but readers of the previous novels will enjoy the development of Mirabelle’s relationships with both her faithful sidekick, Vesta, and her on-off boyfriend, Superintendent Alan McGregor. As you would expect with Sheridan’s work, the story is very well plotted: the opening murder is an unusual one, but the path to its solving obeys crime novel conventions in a nicely satisfying way. As you would also expect, the settings (London and the main location, Brighton) are lovingly described with a wealth of period detail. This is a Brighton with a seedy underbelly where call girls, high-stakes gambling and the threat of violence lurk behind the elegant houses and the Grand Hotel.

Mirabelle’s attempts to solve Helen Quinn’s brutal death bring her into danger, not just from external forces but from elements in her own character which suggest our heroine, while quite rightly remaining far more Miss Marple than Jessica Jones, may have a darker side herself. This offers a lot of potential for future outings. Similarly, introducing the Russian angle in the person of the mysterious countess opens up Mirabelle’s world to the growing Cold War and adds another dimension of uncertainty to the personal challenges she faces here. An accessible and entertaining read which Mirabelle’s fans in particular will thoroughly enjoy.