Boston, 1869: As governess to the wealthy Hewitts, Irish immigrant Nell Sweeney belongs to no particular caste - hers is halfway between her brethren and the Brahmin. But now, a double murder involves both maid and mistress - and it will take cooperation by rich and poor alike to solve it. All of Boston is talking about the murder of Virginia Kimball. The famous actress, past her prime but still a renowned beauty, was found shot to death in her Beacon Hill townhouse, along with her young Irish - American maid, Fiona Gannon. Evidence suggests the two women traded shots after Virginia came upon Fiona trying to steal her famous diamond necklaces.
Devastated by this news, Fiona's uncle, who serves as driver to the wealthy Hewitts, begs Nell to find out what really happened. The Hewitts' estranged son, Will, accompanies Nell as she investigates Virginia's scandalous romantic liaisons. It turns out there are quite a few people who might have wanted her dead, particularly her rich and powerful lovers, whose amorous exploits she recorded in a red leather - bound journal - a journal that has been missing ever since her death. Now, terrified men all over Boston, once blackmailed by the actress, will do whatever it takes to make sure her infamous "Red Book" never sees the light of day.
©2005 Patricia Burford Ryan (P)2014 Patricia Burford Ryan
This appears to be the final instalment of this series, but I really do hope that it isn't! A most interesting tale which, once again you do not see coming, and even when you do get an inkling of it, there's still that kick in the tail!
I truly admire this author, she knows how to tell a great story: murder and mystery to be sure, but personality and character abound too. One is left pondering on the outcomes of many different paths…
"More I want more"
Having read all the books in this series I am anxious for the next. Ryan has patiently and believably developed the personalities and relationship between Nell and Will. The supporting characters have substance and credibility and come in and out of the series to help build the drama and mystery. It is fun to visit the fascinating city of Boston in the 1860s. Ryan evokes this richly layered period in US history and carefully weaves the influences of Boston Brahmins, Irish immigrants , Harvard and post civil war America into a good story worth reading
"Irish Governess & Black Sheep Son, Murder Take 3"
The third in the Nell Sweeney Murder Mysteries finds famous actress, Virginia Kimball and her maid, Fiona Gannon both brutally shot to death . . . according to the police, by one another, when the actress caught her maid in the act of stealing her jewelry . . . but Fiona's uncle, a driver for the wealthy Hewett family for which both he and Nell work, swears that his niece is innocent of both the theft and the murder . . . enlisting Nell's help in clearing Fiona's name . . . handsome rogue, Will Hewitt, returning from one of his gambling jaunts, shows up at Virginia Kimball's very unconventional funeral, as does Nell . . . and the two, once again pair up to unravel some very unusual murders . . . suffice to say that the Boston police, who have sticky fingers, are not much help . . . but Nell's past skills on the streets come in handy . . . the infamous red book, that so many men of the city seem willing to bribe . . . or maybe kill for . . . has everyone in a tether . . . and Nell and Will keep on the case until it is solved . . . I didn't see it going where it did . . . well done, AGAIN!!!
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