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The Illusion of Murder (Nellie Bly #2)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  268 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
The intrepid Nellie Bly—Victorian Age detective, reporter, and feminist—embarks on an adventure that will test her courage and determine the fate of nations…


Jules Verne challenges Nellie to travel around the world in less than the eighty days it took his fictional hero. Nellie knows she has what it takes, even if her publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, thinks the journey is far t
Paperback, 496 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Forge Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jun 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book, I really did. But I just couldn't. The writing style set my teeth on edge, the author actually made me dislike Nellie Bly, and the forced history lessons made the dialog unbelievable. Six words are used where two will do, and more than once I came across statements that simply made no sense.

For example:
"The two Bedouins riding as our escort to the rear had also watched the falcon and smiled when it captured its prey. With their head cloths around their faces, leaving
May 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Nellie Bly, who lived from 1864 to 1922 was a pioneering American woman journalist. And now she is a fictional character, appropriated by Carol McCleary, to play the leading role in two novels.

I’m often dubious about this kind of literary borrowing, but I have to say that Carol McClearly does it very, very cleverly. She takes the facts of Nellie’s life and weaves in crime, mystery, and scandal, that had to be suppressed from the reports that Nellie wrote. And she introduces prominent figures of
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Book Description:
History, mystery, murder and magic accompany Nellie Bly – Victorian Age detective, reporter, and feminist – as she takes up a challenge by Jules Verne to beat the eighty days it took his fictional hero Phileas Fogg to race around the world. Nellie tackles the journey--alone, with a single change of clothes--against the wishes of her publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, who felt it was “too dangerous for a woman to attempt.”

In her official account of the journey, Seventy-Two Days Around
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOVED this book. I won it in a contest and am immediately going to buy the first in the series (this was the second). Ms. McCleary does such a skillful job of blending real adventures with imaginary ones, and merging fictional characters with historical ones that it's impossible to separate truth and fiction. I found myself researching differenct aspects of this delicious novel (and learning quite a lot!) just to find out for myself what is real and what isn't.

The novel purports to
I like the way McCleary uses Bly's real life and adds to it to create a crime novel.
There's travel to far flung places as our heroine tries to travel around the world in under 80 days. Once in Egypt however things take a sinister turn as Nellie witnesses a murder. However once out of Egypt the plotting continues and Nellie isn't sure who to trust.
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History & adventure lovers; people who like stories about strong women.
Recommended to Richard by: I read a review.
This is my first Carol McCleary, but I will read more. Basing her novel on Nelly Bly's own account of her trip around the world in 72 days and filling it with people living at the time (1889-90), Ms. McCleary has brought an exciting time to life. Now I need to read some of the real Nelly Bly's work. She was truly an interesting character and advocate for women and children.
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked this book by McCleary even better than the first and looking forward to the next. I like when history is woven into fiction.
C Valeri
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plucky protagonist....grand adventure...historical settings...interesting cast of characters...lots of action. Solid read.
I read the first book The Alchemy of Murder last year and enjoyed it enough to pick up this second book when I happened to spot it at my library. This one focus on Nellie's famous journey around the world trying to best the record set by Jules Verne's characters in Around the World in 80 Days. So many people thought a woman couldn't handle it but that only fuels Nellie's determination to see it through. No matter the difficulties, Nellie will make it around the world and write a story about it.

Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Three stars is actually a bit misleading, but two stars [I didn't like it] wouldn't be quite correct either. Overall this was a disappointment, but it did have some good aspects.

When I read the first book in the series, The Alchemy of Murder, I quite enjoyed it, and liked how the author took the real Nellie Bly and made her the protagonist and sleuth in a fictionalized story. The Nellie in that book was fun, fierce and spunky. But this time around, I found Nellie to be self-absorbed, whiny and c
Cheryl A
In the second mystery featuring Nellie Bly, author McCleary gives us the inside scoop on Nellie's trip around the world and her attempts to determine the truth behind the death of a fellow passenger.

When we last left the fictional Nellie, Jules Verne had challenged Nellie to beat his fictional characters' trip around the world in 80 days. Never one to back down from a challenge, Nellie convinces her boss, Joseph Pulitzer, to allow her to attempt the feat. The story opens with Nellie in Egypt, wh
Nov 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm about a third-way into the book right now, but I absolutely love it so far! I have never really been a fan of reading but have been trying to get into it for a while now. This is the second book that made its way into my thoughts during the day, and getting back home to read it is a highlight most times.

I love the fact that the chapters are only a few pages long (5-7 pages on average). Each chapter has its own beginning and end, so to speak. But Carol still manages to make the chapters flow
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-mystery
I would give this 2.5 stars, but that is not an option. I got this out of the library- interested in the time period- 1889, the charaacter- the famous Nellie Bly-female newspaper reporter- gutsy role model--the setting- trip around the world in 72 days after the book had come out by Jules Verne: Around the World in 80 Days (I have an old illustrated Golden Book version of this that I got for Christmas one year- and I loved it)--
the story is tightly woven, settings fascinating, character gutsy- t
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books
Nellie Bly set out to beat the fiction character Phileas Fogg( Around the world in Eighty Days)time of 80 days around the world in 1889.

During the course of her trip she shes a man murdered in an Egyptian market place. She runs to his rescue and just before he dies, he whispers the name "Amelia" and slips a Egyptian scarab into her pocket. She discovers the scarab later in her room.

After the incident in the marketplace Nellie is sure that the man killed is a spy and that she must find out w
June Ahern
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first read of Carol McCleary and I enjoyed her writing. "The Illusion of Murder" had just a enough descriptions to set the scene, murder that occurred quickly in the beginning to allow for a ride through countries with interesting characters. Spunky Nellie Bly, the protagonist (a real life journalist in the late 1890's) is just as I would think a young woman reporter of that time would be - spunky, curious as a cat, determined to get her story against many and all odds - gender, society, and ...more
This Nellie Bly adventure was just pure enjoyment. During Bly's attempt to beat fictional Phileas Fogg's trip around the world, Bly also finds herself immersed in a murder mystery which threatens the possession of the Suez Canal as well as world peace. Full of spies, magicians, spiritualists, and one intrepid reporter, this novel moves ahead at full speed with surprise and fun around every corner. My only complaint is that the book brings Bly's real-life challenger to the race, Elizabeth Bisland ...more
Darcy Bell-myers
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time getting into this book, but I liked it once I did. The heroine is a fictionalization of real-life Victorian era journalist, Nellie Bly. I was mostly interested to learn about her true story. She began as a factory girl who wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper (after the newspaper had written that a woman's place is in the home). She wrote eloquently of how many women have no choice but to work and she ended up with a career as the world's first female investigative journ ...more
Apr 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The inclusion of Jules Verne in the first book makes sense now as the set-up for this one, but did he have to play so big a role there? I'm still smarting a bit over that choice.

McCleary is between a rock and a hard place with this tale. The real Nellie Bly's real race around the world is, itself, a fantastic story. McCleary adds so much detail here to reflect the actual journey that her own tale ends up feeling disjointed. But then, if she had omitted too many of these details, she might have b
Pioneering American woman journalist Nellie Bly, on her race to beat fictional Phileas Fogg's record of around the world travel, encounters murder and intrigue in Egypt that follows her through Asia, across the Pacific, and then on her trip on the Transcontinental railroad. She sees a man, seeminngly a "native," killed in Port Said, but for a variety of reasons is convinced that he was really an Englishman, in fact the man who had recently vacated the cabin next to her on her steamer. Her secret ...more
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mivel nagy sikert aratott nálam az írónő előző könyve, így nem volt kérdéses, hogy a folytatásra is nagyon kíváncsi voltam. Míg az előző részben voltak olyan fejezetek, amiket kissé unalmasnak éreztem, addig ennél a könyvnél nem találkoztam ilyennel. A történet végig fenntartotta az érdeklődésemet és a történetvezetés is sokkal egyenletesebb volt, mint az előző részben. Nem mondom, kicsit frusztráló volt, hogy végig nem tudtam eldönteni, hogy Nellie helyében én kiben is bízhatnék meg a szereplők ...more
Cecilia Peartree
I enjoyed this book very much - its pace accelerated towards the end and there was quite a satisfying final twist. The heroine was likeable and the characters were varied and interesting. There was just enough background detail and historical information to explain what was going on and not enough for me to want to skim over it.
One thing I thought would trip me up but it didn't, was that the story is told in the present tense - I don't usually like this, but in this case it worked very well. The
Kim McGee
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the real Nellie Bly- she was the first female journalist to be taken seriously in this country. She exposed the insane asylums, child labor and unfair workplaces everywhere. She also took on a race around the world to beat Jules Verne's famous time of 80 days. The book is a novel set around her world race which is interesting enough but there is also a murder and other things going on to distract her.
Wonderful characters and interesting historical tidbits about Egypt and Chinese torture k
Andrea Davidson
What a weird story. I read the first book and found the storyline much more intriguing. I found the characters hard to follow and oftentimes would confuse them. Her travels, while they were true, were extremely difficult to follow and keep track of where she was while trying to remember the various characters and whom had been murdered by whom. Let alone why.

I will say however I couldn't put the book down and really was invested in the story right to the very end.

I will probably read her third
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this simultaneously with a non-fiction on Nellie Bly's trip, and while the parallelism was fun, the element of mystery in this book was sorely lacking. Nellie does some half-assed murder investigating, behaving in an entirely idiotic way that belies her skills as a reporter, and stumbles into the solution conveniently at the last possible moment to wrap up the case on her train journey home. Skip this mystery and read her real story - much better written.
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really fun read. While on her challenge to beat Jules Vern's record around the world, Nellie Bly encounters a murder mystery. Her nosiness gets her in all sorts of trouble but she perseveres onward all across the world. Descriptions of Victorian lifestyle, society, and the countries encountered are fascinating and entertaining. I am not going to use this book as one of my UN Country Challenges because Nellie is in countries that no longer exist.
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally fascinating book, and her style of writing is so refreshingly different. I enjoyed the first book of the series, and this one was even better. Can't wait to read the next - as soon as the Kindle version is released.

McCleary does a wonderful job of creating the atmosphere of the Victorian age, and carefully builds each of the characters in the book. The only complaint I have is that the narrative is a little rushed towards the end.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of a cozy, easy to read and different from a lot of mysteries. Nellie Bly going around the world in 1889, stops in Egypt and sees a murder, gets a key and spends the rest of her travels with her friends (Sarah Bernhardt) trying to figure out what happened. I would recommend this one when you are too busy to get into a book but want a light fun read.
Maria Birnell
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Throw together a mystery, ancient Egypt, a great race and America's first female investigative reporter Nelly Bly and I am sure to want in. Bly is a great character and I am eager to read more of this series as well as pick up some of Bly's own writing and more works about her.
Apr 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was okay. It seemed more like an information dump than a cohesive novel. For instance, what was the purpose in Nellie going to the Chinese prison and learning about various gruesome tortures? It just seemed gratuitous to me rather than essential to the narrative. As a result, the characters seemed two dimensional and more of a way to unload information than to motivate the action.
Deniz Kabaağaç
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Deniz by: Mine Atafırat
Bu tür kitapları pek sık okumuyorum ama McCleary'nin Türkçe'ye çevirilen ilk kitabınıda okuduğumda kendimi kaptırmıştım. Bunuda aynı hızla okudum ve sevdim. Çok mu derin? Hayır ancak güzel kelimesini hakkediyor. Döryüzatmış sayfada bu kadar süpriz bence güzel bir örgü sayılır. Ayrıca yazarının bir kadın, kahramanının bir kadın olması ilginç ama önemli bir ayrıntı.
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Carol McCleary was born in Seoul, Korea and lived in Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines before settling in the USA. She now lives on Cape Cod in an antique house that is haunted by ghosts.
More about Carol McCleary...

Other Books in the Series

Nellie Bly (4 books)
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