TOUCHSTONE, by Laurie R King

This stand-alone novel, set in England in 1926, displays author King’s usual masterful touch in evoking a sense of time and place and emotion. As always, her characters are finely drawn, and the action compelling. An American agent, Harris Stuyvestant, arrives in London on the trail of an anarchist bomb-maker. He encounters Aldous Carstairs, a chillingly unpleasant manipulator, who takes him to Bennett Grey, a  war veteran whose head wounds have brought him the ability to recognize lies. Grey’s sister is involved with an aristocratic family, and further with the bomb-maker.  Or is he the anarchist? And what is Stuyvestant’s role to be? In a race to unravel deceit and suspicion, hair-trigger timing sets the American against a master plotter. A solid 4.