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Death On Beacon Hill
A Gilded Age Mystery

By P. B. Ryan

     P. B. Ryan spins a yarn as big as all Boston with a murder of one of the town’s finest thespians, a Miss Virginia Kimball, who has a certain questionable reputation and a ‘Little Red Book’ that miraculously disappears when she is done in. Did the new Lady’s Servant who was found in the house at the same time in her own death dripping in the diamonds of her employers, do the job, or was it one of her disgruntled occupants of the “Red Book”? Enter a fine family with great standing in the old town and a Governess turned sleuth to help solve the crime before many heads roll. Some handy police work and a bit of tripping through the closets and walls of the wealthy by this Irish Lass who would be a very positive influence on the police of that fair city. What was everyone hiding and why did the book become the object of a major cover-up? Miss Nell Sweeney means to answer the questions and make the Uncle of the person accused of the murder have the ability to tell the family back in Ireland about the things that the papers stated as fact, didn’t really happen.

     Death on Beacon Hill is an enjoyable romping who-dun-it that involves many venues, the wealthy royalty of the time and the not so well treated of the landed gentry, the servants and those that keep the houses running. There was a caste system on our country that even today is found, but it was much more prominent in the days before and immediately after the Civil War where many people wished to push the not so fine things and objectionable ideas under the rugs of those fine homes. The Irish made their way to this country because of a Great Potato Famine and brought with them a certain amount of honesty and ways of looking at things that seemed out of place in those fancy homes, but they were a needed commodity, and the nouveau riche tried very hard to keep them in their place, without much success. Upwardly mobile Irish reign in this fine little mystery and the Brahmin nobility of the time get their lives sifted through in a fine way.

The Book

Berkley Prime Crime ~ Berkley Publishing Group
March 2005
Mass Market Paperback
Historical murder mystery [June 1869]
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NOTE: language typical of era.

The Reviewer

Claudia Turner VanLydegraf
Reviewed 2005
© 2005