Book Talk: Autumn Leaves, 1922: A Kiki Button Mystery by Tessa Lunney

" This book by an Australian writer prevails, in part because of its beguiling setting: Paris between the world wars...a winning story."

Seattle Times

The BookWalker

After a year away from Paris, Kiki Button is delighted to be back in City of Lights. But danger threatens her return as she is pulled into another spy mission—one that brings her ever closer to the rising fascist threat in Europe.

About the Book

October 1922. Kiki Button has had a rough year at home in Australia after her mother’s sudden death. As the leaves turn gold on the Parisian boulevards, Kiki returns to Europe, more desperately in need of Paris and all its liveliness than ever.

As soon as she arrives back in Montparnasse, Kiki takes up her life again, drinking with artists at the Café Rotonde, gossiping with her friends, and finding lovers among the enormous expatriate community. Even her summertime lover from the year before, handsome Russian exile Prince Theo Romanov, is waiting for her.

But it’s not all champagne and moonlit trysts. Theo is worried that his brother-in-law is being led astray by political fanatics. Kiki’s boy from home, Tom, is still hiding under a false name. Her friends are in trouble—Maisie has been blackmailed and looks for revenge, Bertie is still lovesick and lonely, and Harry has important information about her mother. And to top it off, she is found by Dr. Fox, her former spymaster, who insists that she work for him once more.

Amidst the gaiety of 1920s Paris, Kiki stalks the haunted, the hunted, and people still heartsore from the war. She parties with princes and Communist comrades, she wears ballgowns with Chanel and the Marchesa Casati, she talks politics with Hemingway and poetry with Sylvia Beach, and sips tea with Gertrude Stein.

She confronts the men who would bring Europe into another war. And as she uses her gossip columnist connections for her mission, she also meets people who knew her mother, and can help to answer her burning question: why did her mother leave England all those years ago?

Reviews & What Readers Say

" A salaciously rapturous intrigue, Autumn Leaves, 1922 is a treasure for connoisseurs of historical mysteries."

Midwest Book Review

“ Fans of historical spy novels will enjoy getting lost in these richly imagined pages. Lunney is a writer to watch.”

Publishers Weekly

Autumn Leaves, 1922 is a sumptuous spy romp with an irresistible heroine.... Swoon through Autumn Leaves, 1922, whose mysteries are enriched with toothsome details of a bygone Paris in the glittering years before Hitler came to power.”

Foreword Reviews

“ In this eagerly awaited sequel to Lunney’s debut, April in Paris, 1921, Kiki is at her promiscuous and impish best as she faces danger, ambiguity, and conflicting clues. A mesmerizing, highly original tale that’s part spy thriller, part ode to a postwar Paris, part love story, and part mystery, Lunney’s latest features unique and captivating characters, rapid action, and a cliff-hanger ending.”


“ Lunney’s prose is beautifully atmospheric, capturing a collective sense of postwar trauma but also hope as Europe enters a new age. Phryne Fisher fans will fall in love with Kiki Button.”


Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls: Women, Music and Fame

Autumn Leaves, 1922: A Kiki Button Mystery by Tessa Lunney

Pegasus Crime

352 pages

ISBN 978-1643137124

Note: Now available. Click here

About the Author

Tessa Lunney is a novelist, short fiction writer, reviewer and poet. Her debut novel, April in Paris, 1921, was published by Pegasus Books. Her short fiction has won awards in the USA and Australia, and her work has appeared in Southerly, Griffith Review, Cordite, Best Australian Poems, among others. She holds a Doctorate in Creative Writing on Australian war fiction from Western Sydney University. She lives in Sydney, Australia

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