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Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery

(Vera Kelly #2)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  608 ratings  ·  151 reviews
When ex-CIA agent Vera Kelly loses her job and her girlfriend in a single day, she reluctantly goes into business as a private detective. Heartbroken and cash-strapped, she takes a case that dredges up dark memories and attracts dangerous characters from across the Cold War landscape. Before it’s over, she’ll chase a lost child through foster care and follow a trail of Dom ...more
Paperback, 249 pages
Published June 16th 2020 by Tin House Books
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
"I tried a joke. 'It's every man for himself around here.'" -- the title character, on page 217

Chalk up Knecht's latest, Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery, as the most unlikely or just unexpected sequel in some time. But maybe that's not quite fair, or even correct. I know I appreciated the fresh move in changing the direction somewhat for the protagonist, and I intuit that it will create better avenues or possibilities for all sorts of subsequent adventures, and establish a solid foundation for a ser
Hayley Durelle
I would like a Vera Kelly HBO series starring Lizzy Caplan who can I talk to about this
Jenny (Reading Envy)
In 2018's Who Is Vera Kelly? Vera was abandoned by the CIA in Argentina. Now she's lost her job and girlfriend in the same day and decides to work as a private investigator (and you know I love that kind of thing!) She gets wrapped up in cold-war Dominican intrigue with dictators, missing children, and social workers.

This book comes out June 16th; I had it a bit early from the publisher.
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
In Knecht’s first book, Vera Kelly was a CIA operative in Argentina during the political tumult of 1966. In this offering, she has left the CIA as she didn’t appreciate being left behind to find her own way out of the country in the middle of a coup. Most recently, Vera has found a way to make money by becoming a private detective, but her CIA training comes in handy with her latest case.

A couple from the Dominican Republic want her to find a 14-year-old boy. They claim to be his relatives. But
Li Sian
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book cleared my skin, straightened my spine, and single-handedly restored my love of reading. Vera Kelly is a lesbian, an ex-CIA agent-turned-private investigator, who falls into Dominican politics after being hired to find a missing boy with parents who are wanted by Trujillo's successor. As a deconstruction of classic noir, Knecht's vision and thesis is wildly compelling. What is this thesis, you ask. Well... not only 'what if lesbians were detectives', but 'every detective is by definiti ...more
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
I've been ordering so, so many books in quarantine. Haven't we all? It's been a neat exercise to find and support independent and POC-owned shops all over the country, but I've also tried to stay true to my lovely locals, ordering for pickup and then biking all around Brooklyn to get them when they come in.

I had ordered a few things from Word in Greenpoint and got a call that they were there, so I zipped over expecting the same routine it's been for months: call the number on the door, wait for
Susan Johnson
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
4.5 stars

Vera Kelly is having a really bad day in 1967 in Brooklyn. Her girlfriend has left her and she has been fired from her job when it is discovered that she is a lesbian. Talk about things going wrong. She draws on her CIA background and becomes a private investigator. Things are going OK when a couple hires her to find a young boy from the Dominican Republic.

She really gets wrapped up in the case and goes undercover at a Boys Home and then even flies to the Dominican Republic. She gets
Rachel Pollock
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not much of a mystery/espionage buff but I really enjoyed this one! Second book in a sleuth-centric series of which I haven't read the first one, so i don't know how it compares to WHO IS VERA KELLY? but this is a good solid spy story with a hint of the noir. I like the unusual choice of a female ex-CIA-turned-PI, and i appreciated the realistic depiction of how persecuted women in general were at this time, but particularly queer women. Pulpy, but entertaining well-written pulp.

And, having rec
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really love what Knecht does to balance nodding to and subverting cold war spy novel tropes. Elated there was a second book -- I would read a Nancy Drew number of these.
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer-reads
The second instalment in the Vera Kelly series is even better than the first. A solid spy story, with more action than the first one, and Vera is still as sardonic and crafty as ever.

Vera Kelly loses her job when her boss overhears her breaking up with her girlfriend. Instead of looking for a new job, Vera decides to use her CIA experience and sets herself up as a private investigator. One day, she accepts a job from a Dominican couple looking for a lost child. While following the child through
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable departure from what I usually read.
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cold War era detective/spy novel with a lesbian protagonist. What's not to enjoy? ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
More like 3.5 stars, but rounding up because of how much this improves on book 1.

Watch me discuss the book here:
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Linda by: Booktopia 2020
Vera Kelly is not like most mystery books I've read, but I like her. There are times the scene changes and I didn't know why or who was involved, but it all moves the story forward.

I've read 3 books by Knecht this since March. I'm sorry I'm it's going to be awhile before I can read another.
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery by Rosalie Knecht Vera Kelly lost her job video editing based on a morals clause in her contract. She also lost her girlfriend on the same day. What to do…..

Become an investigator! That money pit of a house she bought with all of her cash after the debacle in Argentina means she has to have a job pretty quick and what better than being your own boss and doing what you are good at? Private investigator it is then!

For an ex-CIA agent, her new case is sprinkled with dangerous characters from the Cold War land
Marcy Dermansky
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I loved this book. I loved Vera and this mystery and how tough she was and how well Rosalie Knecht took us to the 1960s and what a different world it was, how hard it was to be a lesbian, a single woman. And really, just everything. There was a propulsive quality to this novel. I stayed up super late reading it and now I am sorry it's done. I loved the first Vera book, too, and I hope there is a third. ...more
Tina Rae
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: mystery/private eye fans
I enjoyed this book so much! I had much better luck with this one than I did with the first. This one is told with a linear timeline and that definitely cut down on the confusion. Plus the pacing is much better in this one. It's still very much a slow burn but it worked much better this time around.

I also really enjoyed Vera's work as a private eye. I liked it so much better than her CIA work. I really enjoy private eye stories anyway but a woman in the 60s is especially fascinating. And I reall
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I honestly thought Rosalie Knecht's second book in A Vera Kelly Story (mysteries) surpassed the first book in many ways. Both Knecht and her protagonist, Vera spent a time finding their voices in Vera's debut. The first story jumped to another country just as I was enjoying getting to know Vera in the U.S. This new story also has Kelly jetting off to a foreign country. This time around Knecht charges Kelly with more purpose. And she's less ambivalent about her sexuality. I really enjoyed the fir ...more
Carey Calvert
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What's most delicious about Rosalie Knecht's Vera Kelly series is that Vera can be charming if she wants; vacant yet responsive. She's learned not to resist another personality and can share their same temperament and enthusiasm.

... she's best at hiding in plain sight.

It's easy to become lost in Knecht's brilliant writing (I read this over a weekend); if she were a cinematographer, her locations would be breathtaking - her paintings lustful yet serene in their elegance.

Of Vera remembering her
Thrilled to be back in Vera’s world!
Jamie Canaves
Here’s a super good character driven series that goes from 1960s CIA spy novel to PI novel. Vera Kelly is having a rough time: she’s left the CIA; her girlfriend has dumped her, which Kelly didn’t even see coming; her job has fired her for being a lesbian. What’s a woman to do? Apparently, put an ad in the paper about your services as a PI.

Kelly’s first case is finding the son of Dominican exiles who ended up in the New York foster care system and has since disappeared. Between her favorite loca
May 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is my first Vera Kelly read. I cannot say that I liked the book nor can I say that I disliked it. I felt for Vera from the beginning as I find out that she loses her job and her girlfriend the same day. In order to create some cash flow, she starts her own business as a private investigator. Back in the 60s, it is hard to take a female investigator seriously and she struggles a bit. Until she meets this couple that accept to pay for her services hires and the investigation takes her to the ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ng, mystery
I was really charmed by this book. I hadn't read the first Vera Kelly story, but that didn't hinder my enjoyment of this one. Vera is an ex-CIA agent who doesn't like letting people in to the painful parts of her past. Her love life as a lesbian in late-1960s New York is complicated. And she ends up a freelance private detective, although her first big client turns out to be deceiving her in a dangerous way. I can't say more without spoilers, so suffice it to say, this was a fast read and an eng ...more
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book & this one has better flow & pacing than the first one; it feels like Knecht has gotten her feet under her a little more as a writer.

I really like that both books have an international theme (Argentina the first time, the Dominican Republic this time), as well as incorporating the challenges of being lesbian in the 1960s US (anti-gay laws & cultural sentiment). While it has a small CIA angle, it's a PI story/investigation at the heart & the action reflects the slower wa
Apr 03, 2021 rated it liked it
“Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery” (Vera Kelly #2) by Rosalie Knecht ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Genre: Character-driven Spy Novel. Location: New York, USA and Dominican Republic. Time: 1967-1968. Note to readers: It’s very important to read book 1 first in order to understand Vera and what motivates her.-
It’s 1967, and intelligent, introspective Vera Kelly is done with her life as a CIA operative. Losing yet another radio job because of the station’s morals clause (they found out she identifies as lesbian), she sets up
Aimee Dars
Vera Kelly has settled into New York City life after her harrowing CIA assignment in Argentina, but, in a single day, she loses her job and her girlfriend. She decides to open a detective agency, and her first cases require her to spy on cheating wives. When a forlorn couple wants to hire her to find their nephew, Felix, a boy sent to the United States from the Dominican Republic by his parents to keep him safe from Balaguer, the new dictator of the island.

Both wanting to help the family and re
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
As the year draws to a close, I really needed some fun reading. I fell in love with Vera Kelly in Rosalie Knecht's Who is Vera Kelly and was so excited to see a follow up book, and knew this would be just the right thing for my mood at the moment. It surely was. I am happy to say that I am still in love with Vera Kelly. She is such a fantastic character. In the first book, Vera, a former reform schoolgirl, was surreptitiously drawn into the CIA's actions in Argentina during the revolution of the ...more
Jensen Smith
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from TinHouse Books through a goodreads giveaway! Thanks so much for letting me read.

Though I haven’t read the first book in the Vera Kelly series, I found this to be no problem. I could still follow the plot line and characters, as I think the majority are different from the first book.

The story was well-written and fun spy novel, with a resolved ending which I enjoyed. I also thought the LGBT aspect was interesting because of its criminalization in the 60s. I a
Geonn Cannon
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book like I loved the first one. I was surprised when it ended. Not because the ending was unsatisfying in any way, I was just disappointed I didn't get to spend any more time in Vera's world. I love her whatever she's doing, whether spy work, becoming a private eye, or trying to make a relationship work (guess which one is hardest). It's rare to find a good mystery book either a female lead, even more rare for her to be gay. Don't let these two books slip under your radar. And whet ...more
Lisa Daily
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved Knecht’s Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery! Ex-CIA agent turned private eye Vera Kelly is smart, compelling, and highly adept at navigating the many challenges of living in the 1960s as a gay woman in a man's world. Highly recommended! ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Short VK series--so far 1 11 Nov 16, 2019 01:26PM  

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Rosalie Knecht is the author of Vera Kelly is not a Mystery (2020), Who is Vera Kelly? (2018) and Relief Map (2016). She is also the translator of César Aira's The Seamstress and the Wind.

Other books in the series

Vera Kelly (2 books)
  • Who Is Vera Kelly?

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