Book review: Shrines Of Gaiety puts a woman in charge of a vast criminal underworld

Shrines Of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson never seems to know if it wants to be a murder mystery, a social commentary, a roman a clef or a romance. PHOTOS: PANSING, HELEN CLYNE USE
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By Kate Atkinson
Fiction/Doubleday/Paperback/437 pages/$32.05
4 stars

When shots ring out in a Coker nightclub, the band just plays faster. It is 1926 in Soho, London, where the Jazz Age is in full swing. At the heart of its glittering web is Nellie Coker, the formidable crime matriarch dubbed the Queen of Clubs.

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