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Fire Engine Dead (A Museum Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – March 6, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
Book 3 of 7 in the Museum Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sheila Connolly is the New York Times bestselling, Anthony and Agatha Award–nominated author of the Orchard Mystery series, the Museum Mystery series, and the County Cork Mystery series. She has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several nonprofit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company, providing genealogical research services. In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations. She is married and has one daughter and two cats.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Museum Mystery (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Original edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425246701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425246702
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #806,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book, Nell Pratt, president of the Philadelphia Antiquarian Society, becomes involved with the Philadelphia Firefighter's Museum.

I enjoy Sheila Connolly's works - reading is like a visit with old friends. Her characters are realistic, intelligent, and likeable. This book was thoroughly enjoyable, although parts were a bit slow and overly detailed. Still, a good read and I look forward to reading more in this series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"Fire Engine Dead" by Sheila Connolly is the third book in the Museum Mystery Series. I've enjoyed each of the books and I certainly enjoyed this one. I especially like the character of Nell Pratt, who I think is a very down-to-earth person, and if I visited the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society in Philadelphia, I think I would feel very comfortable speaking to Nell even though she is the president of the Society. She likes her home and takes pride in it and she likes her job and also takes pride in her position. However, as is the case with female sleuths, there is always a body and a crime nearby.

In "Fire Engine Dead" the Firemen's Museum in Philadelphia has stored its museum pieces in a warehouse that isn't the safest choice among warehouses. A rash of warehouse fires has broken out and the one that houses the Firemen's Museum pieces isn't spared and neither is the life of the guard on duty. Most of what was in storage is lost, and it isn't until Nell Pratt sees a picture of the antique fire engine from 1825 that is the pride of the museum and compares it to another picture that she realizes that the two engines don't match. Someone did a switch, and either no one noticed or no one is talking about it.

Nell's almost-boyfriend, FBI agent, James Morrison, is also investigating this fire and asks Nell and her staff to help catalog what was salvaged, and also for Nell to keep her eyes and ears open for any information she might learn about the fire.

As with most cozy mystery novels, there is a lot of information on the subject of the story and I learned a lot about the history of the fire department in Philadelphia going back to the 1700's. The 1825 horse-drawn engine is a far cry from modern day fire fighting equipment.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The third book in A Museum Mystery series. I really enjoy this series and the behind the scenes work at a museum.

Nell Pratt, president of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society, is asked by Peter Ingersoll the head of the Fireman's Museum any information her museum may have on his. The Fireman's Museum is undergoing renovation and all of their displays and papers are in a storage warehouse that has just had a fire. About the only thing that wasn't completely destroyed in the fire was an old hand-pump fire engine. When Nell starts to put together the information for Peter, she notices that pumper that is in a picture taken at the fire scene is different than the one the museum had on display.

She contacts her good friend, James Morrison, who works at the FBI. Soon there are other fires that are of a suspicious nature and Morrison starts to think, like Nell, that maybe the fire at warehouse with the Fire Museum's items might be insurance fraud or theft. James asks for Nell's help in talking to museum employees to learn anything that might help in the investigation. They are getting close to knowing just what happened when the person responsible enters Nell's museum while she is talking to one of the possible suspects. Her museum is very nearly lost to fire, but the antiquated fire suppression system does it's job. James with Nell's help is able to put all the pieces together and solve the mystery.

Another exciting story from Sheila Connolly. I am looking forward to the next adventure in the City of Brotherly Love.
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I very much enjoyed the first two books in this series. The mystery aspect was handled well, and the "hook" (fundraising/management of a small museum) was endlessly fascinating, since that is my current career.

This installment, though, fell flat. First of all, it failed what I call the CCC (Critical Cozy Challenge) of logically explaining why a layperson gets involved in the investigation of a crime. Our protagonist, Nell, is recruited by an FBI agent because she's in a position to winkle out motive by talking to others in the museum community about their personal and institutional problems? Really? It's a little more complicated than that, but for me, it missed the CCC by a mile.

And then, the thematic hook of this particular cozy series, the protagonist's life in the world of museums and fundraising, was hardly addressed at all. Yes, I know it's real dozer of a theme for most people, but cozies need to be true to their hook, whether it is museums in Philadelphia or little old ladies in English villages or needlework shops in Minnesota (to name just few).

Lastly, although well-written (hence the second star), this book was boring. I'm going to read the next in the series but only because of how much I liked the earlier books.
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Oh, I did like this novel. We had action, suspense, romance, and learned a great deal about fire and suppression of fire.

There is a possible Arsonist at work in Philadelphia, PA. When a warehouse filled with memorabilia and a rare fire engine from a Fireman's Museum is attacked and the watchman killed. Nell Pratt, the President of the Pennsylvanian Antiquarian Society is asked to talk with her peers for any inkling of what is going on by the FBI, in the person of Nell's prospective boyfriend, James.

I love that this series teaches me so much about the inside workings of museum's and in this case, Arson.

This particular novel is filled with action and I found myself catching my breath, along with Nell. There are new employees, an unexpected in-flux of historic documents, and Nell's romance suddenly heats up as well.

I'm able to empathize with Nell in this book. It really is the best of the series yet!
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