A riveting debut mystery

NorthofBoston Click on top title to open  Elizabeth Elo’s debut novel, North of Boston, grabs you from the first page. Elo takes on a roller coaster ride that involves fishing, poaching, billionaire oligarchs, and a perfume company.  As the book opens Pirio Kasparov is comforting her best friend, Thomasina’s son Noah. His father, Ned has just been killed and Pirio is alive only because she is an amazing swimmer. She and Noah’s father were fishing when their boat was smashed by a freighter. Pirio survived by swimming through freezing water that was so cold, Navy SEALs now want to study her.

Pirio is the daughter of Russian immigrants and the heir to a large perfume company. Thomasine is the daughter of a billionaire. The two young women met a boarding school where they bonded as young rebellious girls. They moved to Boston together after school and gravitated to the waterfront. The young women attract attention as they are both model-gorgeous and inclined to spout poetry and philosophy when drunk – which is often.

Recently, Pirio grew bored with partying and returned to run her family’s perfume empire. She still keeps in close touch with Thomasina and Noah, whom she considers as family.

At Ned’s funeral Pirio picks up the idea that Ned may have been murdered. She decides to investigate and things turn deadly.

Elo’s Pirio Kasparov is an intellectual who is street-smart as well as strong and maternal. Because of her own pain at losing her mother at an early age Pirio is protective of Thomasina’s son Noah. She understands his feelings of insecurity.

Elo’s depiction Pirio’s of the world of rough waterfront bars and her father’s Beacon Hill home is vivid and believable. Her writing is descriptive but also clean and brisk. Elo’s dialogue is pitch perfect capturing the voice of Pirio’s cynical Russian immigrant father who has seen and done it all, while building his empire as well as recreating the unmistakable Boston accent of the waterfront bars.  .

The more I learned about Pirio Kasparov and her exotic family the more I wanted to know. I can only hope this is the first in a series. Not since Robert B. Parker’s Spencer novels has there been such a captivating sleuth on Beacon Hill.

 

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