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What the Dead Leave Behind (Gilded Age Mystery) Hardcover – April 25, 2017
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"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
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"A daring daughter of the Gilded Age must fight herstepmother for her very survival. . . . Simpson's debut, first in a plannedseries, features complex characters, a vivid look at old New York in the late1800s, and a mystery with a twist." --Kirkus Reviews
"Launching an atmospheric new series set in GildedAge New York, Simpson . . . incorporates historical events and figures to addverisimilitude to this tension-filled story. Suggest for mystery readers whoappreciate period detail, including fans of Anne Perry's "Thomas and CharlottePitt" mysteries." --Library Journal
"This is a story to savor ...with an admirable teenage heroine . . . who takes charge. Prudence is a stubborn, quick-wittedAmerican heroine who will remind readers of Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily Ashtonand Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey." --BooklistReviews
About the Author
Rosemary Simpson is the author of two previous historical novels The Seven Hills of Paradise and Dreams and Shadows. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Historical Novel Society. Educated in France and the United States, she now lives near Tucson, Arizona.
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Top Customer Reviews
Some suspense was created by the repeated attempts to harm or kill the heroine. However, the author included so much historical detail that the pacing was too slow to sustain a feeling of suspense. The slower pacing and attention to detail will appeal to fans of historical novels (though I noticed a couple details I suspect are inaccurate).
The characters were interesting, and the hero was gallant and generally clever. But the main characters were slow to make some obvious connections and ask some important questions of people who would have been happy to answer. The heroine assumed things rather than re-assessed what she knew based on new information.
She also kept telling herself that her step-mother underestimated her, but I felt like the heroine overestimated herself. She had potential, but she didn't act logically or even consistently. She panicked at one point and forgot something vital that had just happened that could help her. A few scenes later, she somehow located a weapon she didn't know existed and acted heroically. So...does she fall apart easily under stress or think clearly and act decisively when under threat? Sometimes she acts one way and sometimes the other.
The author would shift point of view in the middle of a paragraph and sometimes jumped in time in a way that left me briefly confused. At the end, the bad guys weren't handed over to the courts (though they were stopped). There was a brief homosexual sex scene. There was some bad language.
I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
I have to say that I consider this book one of the best that I have recently read.
The book starts on March 12, 1888, with a devastating blizzard bearing down on New York City and centers around the death of Charles Winwood.
Prudence MacKenzie is to wed Winwood in two weeks and is expecting Winwood to call on her in the evening with marriage settlement documents that she needs to sign in accordance with her father’s will.
The devastating storm had begun to cripple NYC and businesses and shops are closing early, as Winwood, Roscoe Conkling, lawyer and long-time friend of the MacKenzie’s, and William Sulzer set out for their lodgings. But the next day the body of Winwood is found sitting on a bench and death has been attributed to the snow storm.
As the story continues it becomes clear that Prudence’s stepmother, Victoria, has been dosing her with laudanum so that there is a question of her sanity so that she can get her hands on Prudence’s inheritance. So, Prudence with the help Conkling and Geoffrey Hunter, a PI and former Pinkerton agent set out to find out just who this Victoria is and what she had on Prudence father to get him to marry her.
A well-plotted and very interesting story with a wonderful cast of believable characters.
Will be watching for the next book to see what Prudence and Geoffrey will be investigating next.
Not only did the characters come to life, though I must say that my idealistic-self was disappointed in Judge MacKenzie's behavior in spite of it being understandable, but the historical accuracy with which the book was written reflected solid research which I greatly appreciate since the home of my heart is New York. And learning about New York society in the 1800 captivated me.
I suspect women like Prudence were rare in her day and age and it pleased me to see how Simpson developed her character. I was also pleased to be introduced to a few new words and to pithy statements like, "..Think clearly and don't speculate in a vacuum" and "Listen, really listen to what is being said. You never know when something vital will slip out." I appreciated those statements because they remain true today.
This gifted writer will have you turning off your TV and settling in for an engrossing read. My hat's off to you Ms. Simpson and my pocketbook is open having just ordered your first two books, The Seven Hills of Paradise and Dreams and Shadows. I trust they will hold me until you bring us back into the world of New York's Prudence MacKenzie and her "partner in crime," Geoffrey Hunter.