Book Review: No Stone Unturned by Andrea Kane

No Stone Unturned by Andrea Kane is the eighth book in the Forensic Instincts series, where ancient tapestries may hold clues to finding undiscovered Irish treasures.

Fiona McKay is a talented jewelry designer whose work is inspired by tapestries “passed down from McKay mother to daughter.” Her Celtic jewelry is based on the themes, colors, and patterns gleaned from her family’s heritage. Fiona has been working with Rose Flaherty, a brilliant antiques dealer, to help crack the code of the tapestries’ symbols. The cognoscenti look past Rose’s dusty Greenwich Village interior because of her expertise “in the realm of ancient civilizations,” particularly Celtic. Rose calls Fiona early one September evening saying she’s made a breakthrough. Fiona rushes from her Soho home/workshop to Rose’s shop.

Fiona can’t wait to tap into Rose’s expertise, but when she arrives, she finds Rose dead. Fiona freaks out. Did the elderly woman fall and hit her head? Unfortunately, from the tone of the police questioning, she realizes Rose’s death was no accident. As soon as she can, she flees the scene. She doesn’t want to go home, and she certainly doesn’t want to land on her parent’s doorstep in Park Slope. Fiona needs “support, not hysteria,” so she goes to her brother’s Brooklyn apartment.

Ryan McKay is not amused by his little sister interrupting his evening with his girlfriend and co-worker, Claire Hedgleigh.

Claire, Ryan’s more-than-girlfriend, is a clairvoyant. She wants to see the tapestries for herself in order to understand how knowledge of them may have led to Rose Flaherty’s murder. The McKay house in Woodlawn, a “predominately Irish-American community” in the Bronx, will feel familiar to anyone Irish; it’s furnished “with heavy dark wood furniture, lace curtains,” and “porcelain vases with green shamrock designs.”

But Claire’s gaze was immediately drawn to the strikingly beautiful tapestry on the wall. It portrayed a flock of sheep, grazing in the greenest of fields, under the bluest of skies, every detail exquisitely captured. In the top right corner was a symbol Claire had never seen before—a one-line drawing that began with a spiral that spun out into a tunnel-shaped arch of some kind.

Fiona and her mother take Claire up to their attic where even more stunning tapestries await. One has “curious arched spiral symbols,” which Claire “recognized as the Celtic Awen symbols, the signs for the three rays of light.”

Woven over a soft forest-green background were the images of what appeared to be a throne on which flourished the Tree of Life. Above the throne was a large golden crown set with precious gemstones.

 

The entire effect was dazzling.

Precious gemstones? Unusual symbols? Is this why nefarious people want to get their hands on the tapestries? Without revealing too much of the intricate plot, the tapestries may contain clues to an undiscovered Irish hoard. Ryan tells his sister’s story to his Forensic Instincts teammates. They all agree Fiona’s case “takes priority.”

“Thanks, guys,” he said simply. “This means a lot.”

 

“No thanks necessary.” Casey gazed straight at Ryan, not insulting him by softening her words. “Whoever killed Rose Flaherty wanted something. If that something relates to Fiona, she is in danger. Because in order to get what he wants, he’ll be willing to kill again to get it.

Casey is right. Fiona’s apartment/workshop is targeted.

“Ryan, someone broke into my house.” Fiona could hear the panic in her own voice. “The place is trashed.”

Fiona is vulnerable, as are the tapestries. Ryan and Claire’s teammates spring into action, spiriting away the tapestries in plain sight so they can protect them in their fortified headquarters.

No Stone Unturned is the eighth Forensic Instincts thriller, so readers may wonder if they’ll feel out to sea. That isn’t the case. Fiona stands in for all of us, as she’s inexorably embraced by the Forensic Instincts team. Adding to the complexity of the plot, there’s even an IRA connection.

Deborah Crombie’s Kincaid/James mystery series is justifiably famous for the accuracy of her physical descriptions—her readers have been known to track down the pubs and buildings that form the backdrop of her fictional thrillers. The same can be said for Andrea Kane’s No Stone Unturned—NYC is a voiceless but vital character. The action of No Stone Unturned shifts seamlessly from Soho to Brooklyn to Nolita to the Bronx. City landmarks like the Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral (a place of great significance to the plot) should prepare for an influx of curious visitors in the wake of this suspenseful eighth Forensic Instincts thriller.

Read Brian Bandell’s review of Andrea Kane’s seventh Forensic Instincts novel, Dead in a Week!

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