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Friday, September 28, 2012

Death on Beacon Hill by P.B. Ryan

Genre:  Historical Mystery

Setting Boston, 1869

First sentence:  The first thing that struck Nell Sweeney about that morning's Daily Advertiser, even before the front page headline in inch-high type, was the illustration that accompanied it.

This novel is the third in P.B. Ryan's Guilded Age Mysteries series.

The main character of Ryan's novel is Nell Sweeney.  She is the Irish governess to the Hewitts, a prominent Boston family.  And she has a checkered past.  Her husband is in prison.  She herself once was a pickpocket.  Nell must keep her past a secret or she would surely lose her position.

Her partner in her investigations is William Hewitt.  Will is the estranged son of the Hewitt family.  He is a recovering opium addict, a professional gambler, and the father of Nell's young charge, Grace.

In this installment of the series, a famous actress has been murdered along with her Irish maid.  The police and several prominent Boston businessmen are eager to sweep the crime under the carpet.  The deaths are assumed to be the results of a robbery gone bad, and the Irish maid is blamed for the crime.

It turns out that the Hewitt's buggy driver, Brady, is the the uncle of the accused Irish maid.  He is sure that his niece is innocent.  Nell assures him that she will uncover the truth.

Nell and Will begin asking questions.  They soon discover that the actress had been intimate with many prominent Boston gentlemen.  And that she had kept a record of their visits.  Using the information in the "Red Book" she had supplemented her income by blackmailing her gentlemen visitors.   And now the Red Book is missing.

Will Nell and Will discover the truth, find the Red Book, and exonerate Brady's niece?

P.B. Ryan is one of my favorite authors.  In this novel she has created an interesting and intricate plot.  I enjoyed trying to work out "who-dun-it".  I solved the mystery just a few pages before the reveal.  For me, it was a fun read that ended too soon.

I'll be downloading the next novel in the series soon!

Death on Beacon Hill

Check out my eBook!

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