I’ve been waiting impatiently for the next episode in the “Rivers of London” series, so I was delighted to spot this on the library’s ‘new books’ rack. Then I discovered that even though it’s considered part of that series, it’s not set in London and the characters are all new.
When a dead body is found enveloped with fungus, specifically the one that causes the ‘noble rot’ on wine grapes, Tobias Winter is called in. He’s the agent from the German version of the Folly. He’s assigned Vanessa Sommer as a regular police partner for the case. Soon more bodies turn up, and the signs point to a secret hundreds of years old, and involves a river goddess who has reincarnated, ghosts, magic, and a vineyard.
This is a short book- a novella, really- so a lot happens in a short time. Vanessa (and the readers) are brought up to speed on the magical situation during drives from place to place and a dinner scene. Tobias has a different voice from Peter’s; he’s much more serious and doesn’t have the wit when describing things that Peter does. It took me a while to warm up to him. Vanessa has promise; she catches on to things very quickly. While I really hope to see more of Peter Grant and Nightingale, I look forward to seeing more of Winter and Sommer (really?!?!), too. Four stars; good magic and murder plot but too rushed.