Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Book Review: Death of an American Beauty by Mariah Fredericks

This is the third in the Jane Prescott historical mystery series, after A Death of No Importance and Death of a New American. I was starting to worry a tad about murder just following this ladies' maid wherever she goes, as the Upper Classes would notice that pretty much right away. So in this book, there's a divergence, which distracts from that entirely.

Jane is taking a week's vacation. She's visiting with her uncle, who raised her, at the home for former prostitutes which he runs. When one of them is brutally murdered in the street, sadly, it seems like just another statistic and predictable, (eliminating any reason to worry that murders follow Jane around.) A new resident of the house snuck out one evening, as the house was getting ready for an annual party they throw for themselves, and when Jane goes looking for the young woman, she finds her body in a nearby alley. When she isn't suspecting at all, is for the police, with the help of some protesting religious NIMBYs who want his house shut down, to finger her uncle as the prime suspect. Naturally, Jane has to find out who really did it to clear his name.

Meanwhile, she's roped into helping out with a department store's annual beauty pageant, where she meets an exciting and fun piano player, and naturally her reporter friend Michael Behan makes an appearance. As usual, the period details are spot-on and fascinating, Jane is delightfully snappy and curious, and I for one was kept guessing as to who was the real perpetrator until moments before the Big Reveal. A fast, fun read.

This book is published by Minotaur, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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