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Publisher: Pemberley Press
Release Date: March 2004
ISBN: 0970272766
Format Reviewed: Hardcover
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Genre:   Historical Mystery [late 1800s]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Brenda Weeaks
Reviewer Notes:  

Deadlier than the Pen 
A Diana Spaulding Mystery 
By Kathy Lynn Emerson

    Diana Spaulding’s newspaper assignment is to find out the secrets of the man behind The Tales of Terror. She begins by going to the performance. Although she isn’t frightened by his tales, she does admire his talent. Damon Bathory is an attractive man and Diana senses a bit of magnetism when attempting to interview him. Damon Bathory doesn’t care for the media in New York, and he has nothing to say to the lovely Mrs. Spaulding.

      Spaulding’s column, “Today’s Tidbits,” is in the New York paper Independence Intelligencer. Her editor, Foxe, changes her column often and adds seedy little tidbits of his own. When Bathory refuses to be interviewed, Foxe checks out his past. He discovers murders in the last two cities Bathory passed through. Foxe wants to sell more papers and linking the murders to Bathory is one way to do it, using Spaulding as his source. Spaulding needs her job and feels it’s her obligation to stop Bathory if he’s linked to the murders. She takes the assignment and falls into danger straight away.

     Emerson’s lead character is bent on surviving a world of domineering males. Spaulding’s past slowly unfolds within the mystery, revealing why she’s alone and resides in a boarding house with a group of theater actresses. New York’s newspaper world, politics, and an ever-growing society come together to create an interesting backdrop. The 1800-era history is light and the dialogue keeps the story moving. All in all, a good read and an interesting mystery.