Shrines of Gaiety

by Kate Atkinson is set in the roaring ‘20s in London, amid the effervescent nightlife that emerged as a generation of young people tried to forget the worst horrors of the Great War. Nellie Coker runs an empire in the world of nightclubs, which means she caters to stars and socialites but also deals with the less savory aspects of society: gangsters and prostitution rings. Coming out of six months in jail for a licensing technicality, Nellie is less than pleased to find a zealous new policeman, DCI Frobisher, investigating a series of missing girls with links to the seedy underground nightclub scene. Shrines of Gaiety expertly mixes two genres in that Atkinson excels, historical fiction and detective stories, to build a propulsive tale with a glittering setting.