Parlor Games: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$4.34
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Parlor Games: A Novel Hardcover – January 15, 2013


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$2.00 $0.01
Audio CD
"Please retry"
$23.70

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st Printing edition (January 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385536224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385536226
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,070,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This double-stranded narrative bounces back and forth between the extortion trial of turn-of-the-century con artist May Dugas and the international escapades that led to her arrest. Basing her novel loosely on a real-life figure, the woman the venerable Pinkerton Agency once dubbed the “Most Dangerous Woman,” Biaggio re-creates the deliciously fabulous foibles and follies of a woman born into hardscrabble circumstances but determined to make her way in the world with wit, beauty, and a brazen ability to exploit her feminine charms for a very high price. Whether one admires or reviles May, theres no doubt that she makes the most of every entertaining opportunity—and, hey, a girl’s gotta make a living, especially with a particularly persistent Pinkerton detective hot on her heels. Sheer, frenetic fun. --Margaret Flanagan

Review

"An engaging glimpse into a character, who categorically eludes our attempts to define her.”
--Kirkus Reviews 

"This double-stranded narrative bounces back and forth between the extortion trial of turn-of-the-century con artist May Dugas and the international escapades that led to her arrest. Basing her novel loosely on a real-life figure, the woman the venerable Pinkerton Agency once dubbed the “Most Dangerous Woman,” Biaggio re-creates the deliciously fabulous foibles and follies of a woman born into hardscrabble circumstances but determined to make her way in the world with wit, beauty, and a brazen ability to exploit her feminine charms for a very high price. Whether one admires or reviles May, theres no doubt that she [Biaggio] makes the most of every entertaining opportunity—and, hey, a girl’s gotta make a living, especially with a particularly persistent Pinkerton detective hot on her heels. Sheer, frenetic fun."
--Booklist

"Parlor Games is a captivating tale narrated by the irresistible and deliciously unreliable con-woman, May Dugas. Her escapades, which span the Gilded Age right through the turn-of-the-century, immediately transport the reader to a bygone era. It's a wildly entertaining and constantly surprising ride."
--Daisy Goodwin, author of the New York Times bestseller American Heiress

“Come meet May Dugas, a con artist of the highest order. You’ll be swept up by her delicious voice from the first page of Parlor Games, so prepare to be joyously fleeced.  This jaunty tale through the life of a woman who keeps one step ahead of a dogged Pinkerton agent of the law is a true pleasure, something like munching your way through a box of chocolates all by yourself.  Curl up and settle in for a lovely read.”
--Kate Alcott, author of the New York Times bestseller The Dressmaker

“Like Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair before her, May Dugas--delightfully unrepentant--charms with tantalizing glimpses of her con games as she cheats her way from poverty into opulence.”
--Eva Stachniak, the author of The Winter Palace

Parlor Games is both playful and deeply serious in its portrayal of one determined woman's battle to make her way in a man's world. You'll be cheering for May Dugas as she cons her way across the continents. She's a terrific creation.”
-- Matt Rees, author of Mozart's Last Aria
 

Customer Reviews

Character development is well done.
Shamus
More importantly, the author brings to life the splendour and decadence of the Edwardian era with lush descriptions and historical detail.
The Curious Dame
The book held my interest from beginning to end.
fkm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Erin Palmer on January 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Parlor Games was a total delight! I normally read light-weight mysteries in between much heavier non-fictions, but went with this for my most recent "fun" read. This totally entertaining story, based on a REAL woman with a REAL history (which makes me wonder what a previous reviewer was thinking to say it wasn't believable) was very well written and very compelling.

May's story is based on a "current" trial and takes you back and forth in time to build the story and help you fall in and out of affection with the characters, all the while trying to identify who's guilty. The character development of our lead, May, is exceptional. May is a very relatable character who moves from youth to maturity with an all too familiar and regrettable blend of naiveté, greed, shame, and grace that we all simultaneously possess during those early years of adulthood. I could feel myself getting frustrated with her impulsiveness at one point and then amused by her cunning only pages later.

My enjoyment of this book lead me to email the author and inquire about how she so convincingly wrote a story based on the late 1800s and early 1900s without making it feel dated and how she captured the fashion, architecture, food, and art of the time with such impressive imagery. Ms. Biaggio was even gracious enough to message me back with a personal response. I wish her much deserved success with Parlor Games and anxiously await her next book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MaryEvelyn on April 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
WOW!! What an amazing read this was! I loved every minute of this book and I do wish Maryka Biaggio had more to offer. Parlor Games was just, well, it was YUMMY!! I started reading it and I just couldn't get enough. When it ended,(and I HATED that it ended!) I searched Goodreads, Amazon, and every place imaginable to find something comparable. Biaggio has written a juicy fictional account based on the real May Dugas de Pallandt van Eerde, the Baroness, that was a page turner for me. I couldn't wait to learn what May was up to next...and May was certainly up to A LOT. I have chosen to keep this review short and simple, if only to prevent me from gushing an essay.

May Dugas is a young woman wanting more than her small Michigan town has to offer. May adores luxury and sets out to find those riches in Chicago. Why and how May gets to Chicago had me raising my eyebrow. Let's just say that May Dugas reminds me of that clever, conniving vixen, Scarlett O'Hara. May has a certain way about doing things and it is mostly for her own selfish gains. However, May's questionable ingenuity did not endear her less to me. She has her faults, one being a fugitive from justice, but I still wanted her to come out on top. After all, May wasn't completely heartless. When she loved, she loved deeply and she did have her generous moments. Regardless, May is a very likeable character and her escapades take her around the world and back again, traveling in style and hobnobbing with the very best, all the while being hunted by a relentless Pinkerton across three continents. As I said, May had a certain way about doing things and some of those things were very questionable. Parlor Games is just the right mix of love, intrigue, betrayal, extortion, blackmail, and adventure and it has absolutely found it's way to my "all-time favorites" list. I loved it!!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Shamus on January 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Kudo's to Biaggio on her first published novel. A nod to the clever way in which the author conveys the whirlwind manner of May's life and travels, by how she organized the novel.

Another clever piece is how well Biaggio pulls you in to like May then portrays May's true nature as you get to know May. Character development is well done. Biaggio shows you that no one is totally the villain, the heroine, bad or good; just like people in real life.

I particularly enjoyed the right amount of detailed description and mention of specific objects or places in the time period. You can see the scene and the people. Biaggio obviously did indepth research. I'm waiting for her second novel.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ramblin' Roro on January 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Parlor Games is a completely enjoyable read. I love historical fiction, and in this impressive first novel, Biaggio has clearly done her research and woven it into a fast-paced and spellbinding tale. The exquisite descriptions about the surroundings and fashions of the turn of the last century placed me squarely in that era.

I'd never heard of the main character, May Dugas, before reading this book. Apparently, she was the subject of a Pinkerton investigation and a well-publicized trial. Biaggio takes you back-and-forth between her protagonist's description of this trial and the events of this woman's very colorful life.

May is a woman who lives in a time when women were expected to marry and raise families. It is clear from the beginning that May wanted a more exciting life, she set out to get it, and indeed she did. And the story of how she did is fascinating, and most of all, fun to read.

The book quotes the Pinkerton Detective, who pursued her through much of her life, as referring to her as: "The most dangerous woman in the world". When I first read that, I expected she was going to be involved in in some type of criminal activity that would erode my sympathy for her. At the very least I thought I would feel something akin to my feelings about Bonnie of the notorious Bonnie and Clyde Barrow's gang. However, May lived in a time when a woman was considered extremely dangerous, perhaps mostly because she was able to manipulate men into getting what she wanted. Ironically, at this very time, the male dominated world was destroying a global economy without repentance or reservation.

May certainly uses her feminine beauty and wiles to extort fortunes from men willing to fall into her orbit.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Maryka Biaggio, Ph.D., is a former psychology professor turned novelist with a passion for history. Twenty-eight years after launching her academic career she took the leap from full-time academic to scrambling writer. To hone her writing she attended myriad workshops, searched out some excellent mentors, and read all manner of books on the craft of fiction. Doubleday published her debut novel, PARLOR GAMES, in January 2013.

Her fiction has won Willamette Writers and Belles Lettres awards. She prides herself on crafting carefully researched and realistic fiction. She travels extensively, is an avid opera fan, and enjoys gardening, art films, and, of course, great fiction. She lives in Portland, Oregon, that edgy green gem of the Pacific Northwest. You can visit her web page at marykabiaggio.com.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?