Cover image for Fall of angels / Barbara Cleverly.
Fall of angels / Barbara Cleverly.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Soho Press, Inc., [2018]
Physical Description:
372 pages ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Series taken from book jacket cover.
"Barbara Cleverly, bestselling author of the Joe Sandilands series, introduces an ingenious new sleuth who navigates 1920s Cambridge, a European intellectual capital on the cusp of dramatic change. Great Britain, 1923: Detective Inspector John Redfyre is a godsend to the Cambridge CID. A handsome young veteran bred among the city's educated elite, he is no stranger to the set running its esteemed colleges and universities--a society that previously seemed impenetrable to even those at the top of local law enforcement, especially with the force plagued by its own history of corruption. When Redfyre is invited to attend the annual St. Barnabas College Christmas concert in his Aunt Henrietta's stead, he is expecting a quiet evening, though perhaps a bit of matchmaking mischief on his aunt's part. But he arrives to witness a minor scandal: Juno Proudfoot, the trumpeter of the headlining musical duo, is a woman, and a young one at that--practically unheard of in conservative academic circles. When she suffers a near-fatal fall after the close of the show, Redfyre must consider whether someone was trying to kill her. Has her musical talent, her beauty, or perhaps most importantly, her gender, provoked a dangerous criminal to act? Redfyre must both seek advice from and keep an eye on old friends to catch his man before more innocents fall victim"-- Provided by publisher.


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CLE Book Adult Mystery / Suspense Fiction

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Great Britain, 1923- Detective Inspector John Redfyre is a godsend to the Cambridge CID. A handsome young veteran bred among the city's educated elite, he is no stranger to the set running its esteemed colleges and universities-a society that previously seemed impenetrable to even those at the top of local law enforcement, especially with the force plagued by its own history of corruption.

When Redfyre is invited to attend the annual St. Barnabas College Christmas concert in his Aunt Henrietta's stead, he is expecting a quiet evening, though perhaps a bit of matchmaking mischief on his aunt's part. But he arrives to witness a minor scandal- Juno Proudfoot, the trumpeter of the headlining musical duo, is a woman, and a young one at that-practically unheard of in conservative academic circles. When she suffers a near-fatal fall after the close of the show, Redfyre must consider whether someone was trying to kill her. Has her musical talent, her beauty, or perhaps most importantly, her gender, provoked a dangerous criminal to act? Redfyre must both seek advice from and keep an eye on old friends to catch his man before more innocents fall victim.

Author Notes

Barbara Cleverly writes the Detective Joe Sandilands series and the Laetitia Talbot Mystery series. Her book The Last Kashmiri Rose was named one of the best crime thrillers of 2002 by the New York Times.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in Cambridge, England, in 1923, this disappointing series launch from Cleverly (Diana's Altar) introduces Det. Insp. John Redfyre, the scion of a well-to-do family. When his Aunt Hetty persuades him to attend a holiday concert in her stead, he's pleasantly surprised to find that one of the performers is a pioneering female trumpeter, Juno Proudfoot. A second surprise is that the other seat Hetty was unable to use is occupied by Earwig Stretton, an attractive childhood acquaintance whose "laughter frothed and gurgled like champagne being poured by a generous hand." Less pleasantly, Juno is almost killed when she falls down the stage stairs after the music ends. John suspects the fall wasn't accidental, a thesis buttressed when the woman who distracted the stagehand from his duties at the time of the tumble is later murdered. The banter between John and Earwig is labored, and having a toff who attended the city's university assigned to the Cambridge beat as a policeman isn't novel in concept or execution. Readers will hope Cleverly returns to form next time. Agent: Juliet Burton, Juliet Burton Literary (U.K.). (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

WHERE ARE THE BODIES? That's the pertinent question posed by Michael Koryta in his cool and cunning novel how ? happened (Little, Brown, $27), which is loosely based, he has said, on a murder he covered as a young reporter in Indiana. Perhaps because of the personal angle - or just because Koryta is such a skilled writer - the story feels like the real deal. Rob Barrett, an agent with the Boston division of the F.B.I., is dispatched to Port Hope, Me., to work on an unusual murder case. A 22-year-old woman named Kimberly Crepeaux has graphically described her involvement in a double homicide and someone has to obtain an official confession. More to the point, Barrett must oversee the recovery of the two victims from the pond where Kimberly claims that she and a friend dumped the bodies. "They're down there between the raft and the dock," she explains. "You'll find them there. I don't know how deep. They aren't down there very far, though. It's just dark water, and a lonely place. You'll find them easy." That passage gives me goose bumps, a credit to Koryta's descriptive powers. It doesn't say much, though, for Kimberly's reliability, because despite multiple attempts by professional divers, no bodies can be found in the 24-acre pond. Barrett is something of an authority on interrogation methods, and since he has staked his reputation on his interviews with Kimberly, his job is suddenly in jeopardy. Especially when two bodies turn up 212 miles away, wrapped in garbage bags and stashed in the woods. "The Bureau rarely fires agents," a colleague reassures him, unkindly. "We just bury them." "ON A cold spring day in 1940, the war had come knocking on Reykjavik's door," Arnaldur Indridason gravely informs us in the shadow KILLER (Minotaur/Thomas Dunne, $26.99), a sober companion to "The Shadow District" and a continuation of the author's close scrutiny of his native Iceland when it was under military occupation. American troops have been sent to relieve the British garrison protecting this neutral nation, and United States counterintelligence agents are already billeted at the old leper hospital. This is no time for a little local murder, if that's all it is when a traveling salesman is shot dead with a Colt .45 pistol, the weapon of choice for American G.I.s. Flovent, the only detective working for the city's Criminal Investigation Department, teams up with a military police officer named Thorson to make what they can of "the implacable hatred, the anger, the utter ruthlessness" reflected in the executionstyle murder. As translated by Victoria Cribb, Indridason's austere, clear-cut prose coldly reveals "all the disruption the military occupation had brought to this sparsely populated island and its simple society." IT'S December of 1923 in Barbara Cleverly's charmingly old-fashioned novel, FALL OF ANGELS (Soho Crime, $26.95), and everyone in England is celebrating in the happy knowledge that World War I is far behind them. Recalling the four Christmases he endured in the trenches of Flanders, Detective Inspector John Redfyre of the Cambridge constabulary is thankful to be spending this one at a holiday concert for organ and trumpet in the company of a more congenial German, Johann Sebastian Bach. Redfyre's pleasure comes to an abrupt end, however, when someone shoves the gifted trumpeter Juno Proudfoot down the steps of the choir loft. She's unharmed, but an attack on another woman that same night proves successful, which puts a chill on the revels. "Was this some upper-class loony loose on the Cambridge streets?" someone wonders. Cleverly resolves the mystery with her customary expertise and good taste. But she's human enough to take the occasional jab at men who make the rules of society, "smothering female talent, gagging and belittling their wives and daughters." Being faithful to the period, she also observes the social proprieties. Inviting a female acquaintance to his cottage, Redfyre worries about decorum. "What he was doing was probably unlawful," he realizes, "and most certainly morally unacceptable." Happily, that doesn't stop him. TIME WAS, every ambitious punk dreamed of making it in New York or London. But according to Malcolm Mackay's gritty novels, the crime capital now is Glasgow. In FOR THOSE WHO KNOW THE ENDING (Mulhoiiand, $26), Martin Sivok ("31, short, stocky and standing in a foreign country") realizes that the criminal contacts he made back in the Czech Republic aren't such big shots here. Unfortunately, the English he acquired watching American TV won't advance his current aspirations, and he's reduced to performing menial jobs for "an absurdly hairy Polish guy" with a better command of the Queen's own English. Mackay himself is a prose master who seems to take real pleasure in assigning a street-smart Pakistani named Usman Kassar to teach Martin the local lingo. It's even more fun watching cocky Usman struggling to pronounce a name like Przemek Krawczyk. Marilyn STASIO has covered crime fiction for the Book Review since 1988. Her column appears twice a month.

Library Journal Review

DI John Redfyre of the Cambridge CID, attending a Christmas concert at St. -Barnabus College, is intrigued by the most unusual trumpeter soloist, a young woman named Juno Proudfoot. When Juno falls down the stairs after the concert, -Redfyre investigates her suspicious death. It's 1923 England, and civic disorder has wracked the community lately. As more women die, Redfyre finds ties to a small group of determined feminists. Are they suspects or potential victims of a misogynistic killer? The author of the "Joe Sandilands" mysteries set in post-World War I India (Diana's Altar) initiates a new postwar historical series featuring an educated police officer raised as a gentleman whose only flaw is that he's too mannerly to grill the ladies effectively. This leisurely paced mystery is complicated by the numerous characters who use fake identities, which can become confusing at times. VERDICT Aficionados of Jacqueline Winspear and Dorothy Sayers will relish this atmospheric historical mystery, with its colorful period details that brilliantly capture post-World War I Britain. [See Prepub Alert, 11/13/17.]-Lesa Holstine, Evansville -Vanderburgh P.L., IN © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



CHAPTER 1 CAMBRIDGE, DECEMBER 1923 "Hello? Detective Inspector Redfyre, Cambridge CID here."      "There you are, Johnny!"      John Redfyre flinched. He eased the receiver an inch from his ear to take the edge off the hunting-field halloo of his favourite old relative and looked at his wristwatch. He smiled. Halfway between tea and the first gin, he might well have expected the caller to be Aunt Henrietta.       "I can't deny it, Aunt Hetty. You find me here in my foxhole. Had I gone missing?"      His voice was warm, his tone light. Redfyre's answer to any swords and lances coming in his direction was always to raise, not a shield, but two defiant fingers and skip away fast. He'd learned to greet Fate with a flirtatious smile, Adversity with a kick in the shins and his Aunt's summons with a hearty riposte. Family circumstances had forged his resilience, he believed. As the youngest of four boys of a family fallen on hard times--and not only the youngest, but the handsomest--he'd endured a childhood to rival any Biblical tale of family disharmony. He could have told Joseph where he'd gone wrong. He could have given a few pointers to the Prodigal Son.      He accepted that he was never to lead the easy aristocratic life of his forebears owing to birth order and postwar austerity, but there was one aspect of a privileged situation he still guiltily yearned for, and Hetty's call had triggered that yearning. On the occasions when she demanded his attention, he felt the need of a butler. Some suave old chap like his father's Simpson. A man who would purr blandly: "I'm so sorry, Madam. I regret the master is not at home. He is on his way to a Masonic meeting, I believe," whilst his master, in slippers and dressing gown, sat grinning shamelessly at him from his armchair.      Bloody telephone! Convenient for professional purposes, but he rather resented the social intrusion of the apparatus into his home. Anyone with access to one of these evil instruments could command his attention at a whim and the communication could not be avoided by crossing the road, affecting a sore throat or inventing an urgent engagement. Yes, here, indeed, was the Detective Inspector, caught in an unbuttoned state, glass of whisky in one hand, Sporting Life in the other at the end of a gruelling day--and no protective Simpson about the place to deny access. Not on a DI's salary.      Redfyre accepted the inevitable. He expressed his very real regard for his aunt and voiced his surprise that she should be troubling to speak to him by means of this inhuman device. A threepenny bus ride or a two-bob taxi fare and she could have been with him in person, pouring out her problems while he poured out a London gin and added a slug of Rose's Lime Juice. A bit of swift work with the ice pick and he could promise a tinkle of ice shards against the Waterford glass and . . . "There's still time," he added temptingly.       "Tinkling ice, eh? So there's one piece of modern equipment you don't disdain? Always a lure, of course, but, on this occasion, ice won't do the trick."       "Ah! Like me, Aunt Hetty, you've loosened your stays and settled into your evening?"      His aunt suppressed a gurgle, then gathered herself for the attack. "Now, I have to tell you that your despised telephone is bringing you a delightful offer. Let's do diaries, darling. Ready? I'm looking at Friday evening. Are you free?"       "The day-after-tomorrow-Friday? That the one? Hmm . . ."      She'd caught him on the hop again. Pinned him to the page. There were several things he'd been planning in a vague way to do when his shift ended, involving a jar of ale and congenial conversation--possibly an Oscar Wilde play on the wireless--but none would survive a bald statement over the phone. He'd always found it a more fiendishly accurate revealer of the barefaced lie than the newfangled lie-detector machines he'd been experimenting with. Blood pressure pulses be damned! It was voice tremors they should be calibrating. However hard he stared, his Friday evening slot remained inconveniently blank.       "I'm free, Aunt," he admitted.       "Excellent! Then ink this in at once. I have tickets for a concert you will not want to miss. I find I can't use them--your uncle's gout again--so I'm leaving one for you at the ticket desk. Just up your street, you'll find. It's a Christmas concert in one of the college chapels, St. Barnabas. Welcoming in the festive season with a blast of traditional music. Mince pies and hot punch in the interval. No pink-faced choir boys--just two soloists. Organ and trumpet . . . Oh, you know, the usual gaggle of Germans--Haydn, Hummel, Bach of course and a bit of Orlando Gibbons batting for England perhaps . . . that sort of thing. Don't worry, you will absolutely not be called on to sing along," she added hastily. "It's an early start--six o'clock for two hours, so you'll still have time for something of an evening and an early night."      But Redfyre was suspicious by nature, especially of Aunt Hetty bearing gifts. He broke into her chatter. "Did you say you had two tickets? Are you expecting me to rustle up an organ-loving chum?" He added provokingly, "At such short notice?"       "That won't be necessary, my dear. I've already allocated the other one to someone who jumped at the chance. Someone you may remember from your childhood. You'll be sitting next to Earwig."       "I'm sorry, Aunt, I didn't quite make that out. Do you know, for a moment I thought you said 'Earwig'! Ho, ho!" He shook the receiver and applied it to his other ear. "Ah! How do you spell that? E-A-D-W-I-G? Eadwig? Mmm . . . Close enough. An Anglo-Saxon acquaintance, would that be? A newly discovered Norwegian branch of the family?"       "No--English. The Strettons. Don't pretend you don't know them. You've met them all. Well-to-do family. They own much of the view to the south from the top of St. Mary's tower, which allows them to indulge their artistic compulsions. Very artycrafty, you'll have noticed. He paints rather badly; she pots rather well. All their children were given Anglo-Saxon names: Aethelwulf, Aethelstan, Aelfhelm, Godric and Eadwig . . . Very fashionable twenty, thirty years ago. And now they're all out in the world, of course."      Redfyre groaned. "Now I'm beginning to recall the faces that go with the names. Out in the world, you say? Surprised to hear that! I'd have expected behind bars. And the place, their country seat--Melford wasn't it? Just south of Cambridge? We used to be sent over to play with them there when we were little."       "That's right. You were quite a favourite with Clarissa, I recall. She preferred your quiet, sunny nature to the rumbustious indiscipline of her own brood. And who wouldn't? Though perhaps it was ill-judged of Clarissa to say so to her own children. You spent many hours in her studio learning to handle clay."      Uncomfortable memories, long suppressed, were beginning to surface. Once, they would have stung; now they merely irritated Redfyre. "Aunt, it was safer to be in the studio with a kindly adult than to be outside in the grounds with a pack of hooligans on the loose. For the Stretton boys, 'Go out and play' meant 'Go out and fight.' I hated our visits. It was a social experiment that was thankfully cut short and abandoned. Big, blond bullies! I believe I had a particular disagreement with one of them."       "You broke his nose, darling. With your little fist. That was Wulfie--Aethelwulf. But don't concern yourself--it's been broken on several occasions since by others who shared your sentiments."      Redfyre grunted. "I ask myself what's wrong with 'Alfred' or 'Hilda,' if you're such a sucker for the Saxons? Why put modern man to the trouble of wrestling with uncouth syllables?"      Hetty snorted in agreement. "Know what you mean! It's like trying to eat a piece of overdone toast. Much noise and effort expended for little gratification. Eadwig, you'll find, is the most agreeable of the bunch, in character and pronunciation. I'm informed that 'ead' means 'wealth' and 'wig' means 'war.' Make what you will of that."     Redfyre had settled into his front row seat directly below the high organ loft--ease of access for gouty gents was always a feature of his aunt's arrangements--and scanned the program a good ten minutes before the music was due to start. He looked about him with satisfaction.      The college chapel was en fete tonight. Candles had been lit in profusion, and the air was charged with the invigorating scent of green boughs: pine and holly and ivy with, somewhere in the background, an ancient blend of incense and dark wood. Chapel officials in splendid vestments were swirling about, busily doing nothing productive and avoiding catching the eye of members of the public, punctuating this seemingly choreographed performance with an occasional genuflection to the altar. One of them disappeared behind the hangings masking the door to the organ loft and climbed the staircase up to the gallery where the performance was to take place. He appeared moments later, stage left, ostentatiously tweaking at the heavy brocade curtains, which were already perfectly draped. This was an actor manque, Redfyre decided, impressed by the young man's good looks and his tongue-in-cheek gestures. The man even slapped a glove at imaginary dust on the gleaming wooden rail that edged the small gallery. Being at knee height, the contraption didn't impress Redfyre much as a safety feature, should some soloist, carelessly overconfident or swept up in a transport of delight, manage to lose his balance. With his trained eye and concern for public safety, Redfyre was amused to watch as the young flunky actually put a right hand on it and indulged in a bit of arm wrestling. The mahogany handrail shrugged off the attack on its integrity. So no one would be ending the evening with a headlong plunge into the lap of the law in the front row, at least.      Entertained by the performance the warm-up team was putting on, Redfyre sighed contentedly. With four Christmases in and out of the trenches of Flanders being a very recent memory, he was in heaven. He enjoyed the ceremony and respected the traditions. He offered up a silent prayer of thanks for his survival and wondered whether Eadwig Stretton had come out of it unscathed. Men of Redfyre's age (and he had calculated that this youngest of the Stretton brood was most likely a year or two younger than himself) had grown accustomed to greeting old acquaintances warily, affecting a cheery oblivion to twisted features, missing limbs and wrecked minds. With the Stretton reputation for pugnacity, Redfyre prepared himself to meet one who had led from the front and suffered the consequences. The surprise, for him, was that one of their number would have found the offer of a classical music concert ticket alluring. Or that his aunt would have considered a Stretton a likely recipient. He'd have thought those boys would have risen to nothing more demanding than a medley of Gilbert and Sullivan tunes belted out by a Royal Navy band.      Redfyre instantly scolded himself for his snobbery and his baseless pre-judgement. His aunt knew what she was doing. Always. And she had been right in his case, certainly--he knew and loved every item on the program. Though the organ was his favourite instrument, this pairing with the trumpet caused him some concern. Would a solitary piece of brass be up to the job of accompanying the magnificent medieval forest of pipes lodged up in the loft above the heads of the congregation?      He opened his program to check the credentials of the bold trumpeter and read with surprise and some disquiet the name of the soloist.      Good Lord! Was it possible? Could the audience be aware?      He looked about him, seeing the usual shining anticipation of a well-to-do Cambridge gathering. They were smiling and chattering in low voices. They must all have read the name, yet no objector had stamped out in protest, tearing up his ticket, wondering out loud what the world was coming to. The inspector's antennae constantly twitched in response to the slightest threat to public order, and he knew better than most with what speed an altercation could break out, even in this civilised town. It was, after all, full of men and women who liked the sound of their own voices and knew how to use them to good--or mischievous--effect. Debating, protesting, lampooning, even the occasional hanging-in-effigy from lampposts were skills they enjoyed and practiced, and on this occasion, someone had provided them with an irresistible target for protest.      Redfyre was struck by an awful thought--an unworthy one. Bloody old Aunt Hetty! Eyes, ears and trouble-making tongue of Cambridge society that she was, could she have got wind of an undercover plot to disrupt proceedings? The Cambridge police had dealt with several outbreaks of civic disorder in the last few months. Heads had been cracked, blood spilled, holding cells overcrowded and the reputation of the Force called into question most eloquently in the newspapers. It was clear to Redfyre that, after years of quiet, an ugly altercation was bubbling up. Town versus Gown, Worker versus Employee, Male versus Female and Everyone versus Undergraduates--all were on the menu. Small provocations could blaze up into violent scuffles within minutes, and regardless of whichever factions had lined up to do battle, the one certain outcome was that the police would find themselves in the middle of it, the unwilling magnet of ire from both sides and the condemnation of the press.      He could well imagine Hetty, over a pre-dinner sherry, grandly reassuring some college bigwig: "Don't worry, Master, I'm sure your fears are groundless, but just in case, may I offer to put my nephew into a strategic position on the night? In mufti, of course--we wouldn't want to frighten the horses with the sight of a uniform . . . No, I'm sure the Detective Inspector will be delighted."      He got to his feet, ostensibly using the last few minutes to stretch his legs. He swept the rows behind him with the mild, enquiring eye of a gentleman looking for acquaintances amongst the audience. He was even lucky enough to spot a chap he'd been at school with and gave him a swift, cheery salute. He did not, however, salute or even signal recognition of the sharp features and supercilious smile of a neatly suited representative of the Cambridge Oracle seated six rows behind him. Not their music critic, he noted, but their chief crime reporter. Apart from that discordant note, he was pleased to see no sign of flags or placards. No visible weaponry, apart from the hatpins still favoured by the older women.      He was being overcautious. This was a chapel, after all--a consecrated building. Behaviour would be nothing less than respectful. Nevertheless, Redfyre found his eyes flicking over the exits and counting the number of college officials on duty. It was when he found himself calculating the defensive possibilities of the organ loft as a last bastion-- Stand by to retreat on the loft! --that he acknowledged he was being ridiculous. He forgave himself and grinned. Just let 'em try!       "Never take sides, my boy!" had been the constant advice of his boss, Superintendent MacFarlane. But he had no doubt as to where his loyalties would lie if things turned nasty. Anyone attempting to cause distress to a musician would run into Redfyre's sword arm. The arm would be flourishing a warrant card rather than a weapon, but it would be effective.      Two minutes to go and still the seat next to his was empty. Evidently, another of Hetty's victims had rebelled against her press-gang tactics at the last minute. He speculated briefly once again on Hetty's odd choice of companion for the evening. Had she planned to supply him with a strapping great bully to act as his lieutenant? It was possible . . . and inconvenient. Redfyre preferred to work alone. He was relieved that the seat remained unclaimed. He could enjoy the performance without the need for dutiful conversation with someone he knew he ought to remember--someone whose last memory of him could well be a black eye or worse. Redfyre had uncomfortable flashes of memory of a scene where, small, scared and deserted by his brothers, he'd been trapped with his back to the orchard wall by a pack of blond tormentors. His hosts, in full cry, had pelted him with windfall apples as hard as pebbles until, blinded in one eye but roaring defiance, he'd stormed forward with fists and feet flying, with much damage done to both sides before he'd been rescued by the chance appearance of the garden boy.      Jonas. Redfyre still remembered his name. Would never forget it. Jonas had put his stalwart frame firmly between the adversaries and threatened, with remarkable aplomb for his fifteen years, to tell Grandpa Stretton that Master Wulfie and his pack had attacked a guest and messed up the apple orchard. He didn't need to tell them that that was a beating offense. Nor did he need to mention that Grandpa Stretton would always take the word of the gardening staff before that of tale-tellers. They'd tested that out, to their discomfort, before. The gang ran off, shrieking blood-curdling threats, in search of other amusements. Young Jonas had turned to the injured boy and told him with surprising tenderness in his rough country voice, "Here, take this hanky. Go to the kitchen and ask Gertie to take a look at that eye. Never let 'em see you cry, lad! They'll tear you to bits, them little old scallywags. You were doing the right thing. The only thing." That was the first male kindness Redfyre had encountered, and he could still recall the reassuring firmness of the rough hand that grasped his, hauled him to his feet and dusted him down.      He could never be certain, but he'd always counted that as the moment when his picture of himself changed. Perhaps it happened to all eight-year-old boys? But after the rescue, he determined he would no longer be the smallest and weakest. He would be the one who helped up the fallen and encouraged the despairing, he'd decided sentimentally. "Bless you, Jonas," he murmured, half in thought, half in prayer, "but you passed on a burden I've never quite been able to put down. And here I am, still hefting it."      At the last permissible moment, there was a scampering down the aisle, and a sides-man, face frozen in disapproval, ushered Eadwig the Unknown into the aisle-side seat next to Redfyre.      Cold fingers reached out and grasped his hand in a firm handshake. "John Redfyre? Earwig. How d'ye do? Must be twenty years, eh? Talk in the interval. I think the players are about to make an appearance."      Redfyre stared, speechless for a moment with astonishment. "But . . . but you're a girl!" he heard himself burble.      The slender, fair-haired creature, silk- and fur-clad and scented lightly with Mitsouko, batted mascaraed lashes at him. "You noticed at once!" She smiled a smile wicked with lip rouge and twisted with sarcasm. "Hetty warned me you were a detective. What were you expecting?"      The inspector rallied. "The clue's in the name. Some evidence of wealth and war--an arms dealer, perhaps? A flint-eyed gent, lighting his Romeo e Julieta with a rolled-up fiver?"      Earwig laughed. Her laughter frothed and gurgled like champagne being poured by a generous hand.      Redfyre was charmed, but someone hissed "Shhh!" in reprimand from behind.      Earwig turned her head and quelled the hiss with a harrumph: "I say! Do settle down, gentlemen!" Excerpted from Fall of Angels by Barbara Cleverly All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.