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Friday, June 29, 2018

Intriguing New Mystery Series Opens With a Smasher

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

New York City, 1910—Jane Prescott excels at fading into the wallpaper.  Serving without being seen is practically part of her job description as a lady's maid for the wealthy Benchley family.  That ability comes in handy when Norrie Newsome, a notorious playboy who's engaged to one of Jane's charges, is brutally murdered at a house party.  No one is more strategically placed to look into the killing than Jane, a woman who is always around but never really noticed.

Callous, spoiled and often cruel, Norrie's public admirers abhorred him in private.  Any number of people, then, could have decided to kill the obdurate young man.  Who did end his life?  Was it his spurned lover?  The humiliated victim of one of Norrie's pranks?  Or a stranger outraged by a devastating tragedy at a mine owned by the Newsomes?  With so many suspects, finding the real murderer won't be easy.  With the help of Michael Behan, a handsome tabloid reporter, no-nonsense Jane will solve the case.  Even if she has to risk everything—her job, her reputation, even her own safety—to do it.

I always enjoy an intriguing murder mystery, especially when it's set against a colorful historical backdrop, and narrated by a tenacious sleuth.  A Death of No Importance, a debut adult novel by YA author Mariah Fredericks, is no exception.  While most of the story's characters are unlikable, Jane and Michael are both complex and engaging, adjectives that also describe the mystery they're attempting to solve.  All of these elements combine to produce an entertaining novel that I quite enjoyed.  I'm excited for the next installment (Death of a New American, April 2019) in this alluring new series.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly and of Jennifer Ashley's Below Stairs Mysteries [Death Below Stairs; and Scandal Above Stairs])

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

(possibly R)

for language (no F-bombs), blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of A Death of No Importance from the generous folks at St. Martin's Press.  Thank you!
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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Swimming in a Sea of Stars by Julie Wright

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myer



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