Kiki Button—war veteran, party girl, detective, and spy—finds that she can’t outrun her past exploits, even in the glittering world of Jazz Age Paris.
Paris in 1921 is the city of freedom, where hatless and footloose Kiki Button can drink champagne and dance until dawn. She works as a gossip columnist, partying with the rich and famous, the bohemian and strange, using every moment to create a new woman from the ashes of her war-worn self.
While on the modelling dais, Picasso gives her a job: to find his wife’s portrait, which has gone mysteriously missing. That same night, her spymaster from the war contacts her—she has to find a double agent or face jail. Through parties, whisky, and seductive informants, Kiki uses her knowledge of Paris from the Great War to connect the clues.
Set over the course of one springtime week, April in Paris, 1921 is a mystery that combines artistic gossip with interwar political history through witty banter, steamy scenes, and fast action.
About the Author
Tessa Lunney is an emerging talent on the Australian literary scene who has recently won a number of our major short fiction awards. She has had her fiction, poetry, and reviews published in Southerly, Mascara, and Contrapasso, among others, as well as Best Australian Poems 2014. She lives in Sydney, Australia.
One of those rare debuts that absolutely wowed me. Exhilarating and atmospheric, perfectly capturing a post-war Paris where people of all types could drown their sorrows and become someone else, even if it’s just for a while. Lunney successfully combines mainstream mystery with spy intrigue, making for an intoxicating concoction, and Kiki is a powerful tour guide. If you like unusual heroines that are the perfect mix of moxie and vulnerability, you can’t go wrong with this one. I can’t wait for more adventures with the fascinating Kiki Button and her singular world.
Button is naughtier than Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher, as strong as Suzanne Arruda’s Jade del Cameron, and every bit as clever as Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope. This thoroughly entertaining, delightfully witty debut is imbued with Paris’ unique ambiance and will have readers eagerly awaiting Button’s next adventure.
An atmospheric, verbose historical novel that foreshadows the next war while reveling in the debauched bohemianism of Paris between the wars. Spying is just part of the excitement.
Lunney’s vibrant picture of Paris, chock-full of flapper fashion and cameos of the Lost Generation, will leave readers eager for more.
Tessa Lunney brilliantly evokes the Années folles of the Roaring Twenties as her heroine—an Australian debutant-turned-nurse-turned-spy—Kiki Button traipses through Paris’s sensual bohemian culture hunting for a World War I mole and stolen Pablo Picasso painting.
— Julie McElwain, author of 'A Murder in Time' and 'A Twist in Time'
An irresistible debut! Adventurous and whip-smart, Kiki Button is Jazz Age Paris's most dazzling ex-pat. — David Krugler, author of 'The Dead Don’t Bleed'
What a deliciously decadent story!
Liberated from her wartime duties as a nurse, Kiki Button, Tessa Lunney’s main character of her debut April in Paris, 1921, is a gossip columnist-cum-detective who finds herself mixed up in a mystery set against the backdrop of post-WWI Paris. Lunney takes the reader on a breathless, page-turning journey through cafes, streets, and dark alleys of this Bohemian time period, searching for a stolen piece of art. Kiki, who is charming, self-possessed, and sexually free, is readable and fun, a modern woman blazing though the Années folles no holds barred.
— John Copenhaver, author of 'Dodging and Burning'
A deftly crafted mystery that combines artistic gossip with interwar political history through witty banter, steamy scenes, and fast action. A compelling and entertaining read from cover to cover, Tessa Lunney's April in Paris, 1921 will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections.
Fascinating characters, beautifully written. — Kate Williams, New York Times bestselling author of 'Becoming Queen Victoria'