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What the Dead Leave Behind

(A Gilded Age Mystery #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  896 ratings  ·  171 reviews
Set amidst the opulent mansions and cobblestone streets of Old New York, this enthralling historical mystery by Rosemary Simpson brings the Gilded Age to life in a tantalizing tale of old money, new love, and grave suspicion . . .

As the Great Blizzard of 1888 cripples the vast machinery that is New York City, heiress Prudence MacKenzie sits anxiously within her palatial F
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
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Beachreader That was something the author should have addressed at the end, but she did not. We know the installer of the safe was located and had said Prudence…moreThat was something the author should have addressed at the end, but she did not. We know the installer of the safe was located and had said Prudence would be given the combination if proper authorization was provided. At one point, I think prudence surmised that her parent's love letters were there. But there was no real basis for that belief in my opinion.(less)

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3.84  · 
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What the Dead Leave Behind by Rosemary Simpson is a 2017 Kensington Publication.

When a record breaking spring blizzard hits New York, Prudence Mackenzie’s fiancé, Charles, was one the weather’s casualties, or so it would seem. His death, upends Prudence entire future, as the provisions and dictates in her father’s carefully worded last will and testament, which depended upon Prudence’s marriage to Charles, became null and void. This puts Prudence in a very awkward and vulnerable situation- as w
Dead men tell no tales........or do they?

A brutal snowstorm has hit New York City like the back of one's hand. Unexpected and packing a full-out whallop. It's March of 1888 and there appears to be no glimmer in this Gilded Age. Nothing but the howling blast of wind and the treacherous streets of ice and mounds of impassable snow await these city dwellers.

Yet in amazement, two dark figures appear. Charles Linwood and his lawyer, Roscoe Conkling, decide to take on the storm through Union Square Pa
Diane S ☔
May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 Prudence was raised in a very privileged and wealthy environment. Her father a respected judge, and after her mother's death when she was nine, raised solely by him. Trained to notice things other young ladies in her circumstances were not, she was given an education usually afforded to men. The year is 1888, her father has now died, the widow he married three years preciously much to Prudence's dismay, her guardian until the marriage her father approved of takes place. The historic snowstor ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This wasn't actually a whodunnit or even a whydunnit. I guess you could call it a howdunnit?

Honestly, there is little to no mystery here, it is quite straightforward as to what has occurred and why. There are a few revelations along the way, nothing that was entirely surprising or suspenseful. I was constantly disappointed at the main character searching and searching for clues and coming up with nothing. It was quite unsatisfying for a mystery reader, and really slowed the pace.

On a positive n
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, first-reads
**I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.**

I like mysteries. I like it when the mystery is the center of the story and it holds me in suspense until the end and I also like it when the mystery is a smaller piece of the story and it is more character-driven. I suppose the best case scenario for a mystery is for it to hold me in suspense throughout the whole story AND captivate me with truly outstanding characters. The worst case scenario would be an easily solved mystery and
There is some good potential in this start to a new historical mystery series but it remains to be seen whether or not future installments improve on this foundation. The story is set in New York, 1888, and kicks off during the Great Blizzard that hit unexpectedly in March of that year. The story is told in third person so the POV passes around to quite a few characters. The two central ones however are 19 year old Prudence MacKenzie and thirty-something Geoffrey Hunter, a lawyer and former Pink ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Blizzard of 1888 brings New York City to a halt. The snow blocks transportation and 200 people that venture outside during the storm freeze to death. The storm will also completely change heiress Prudence MacKenzie's life. Her fiance, Charles, is found dead on a bench, the back of his head caved in. Officials rule that a falling tree branch knocked him unconscious and he froze to death. Prudence believes the cause of his death might be much more sinister.

Following the death of her father, P
Set amidst the opulent mansions and cobblestone streets of Old New York, this enthralling historical mystery by Rosemary Simpson brings the Gilded Age to life in a tantalizing tale of old money, new love, and grave suspicion . . .

What the Dead Leave Behind begins during the Blizzard of 1888 in New York City. I was immediately drawn into the story as the main protagonist Prudence MacKenzie is anxiously awaiting word that her fiance has made it safely home. Prudence has just recently lost her fa
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Interesting. Good sense of the period (though to see Roscoe Conkling in a positive role was a surprise), and I liked the protagonists. I'm not sure it's a success as a mystery, but it's a good historical novel, so I'd read a sequel on that basis.
Karen Kay
I received this ARC from in exchange for a review.

From the book description "As the Great Blizzard of 1888 cripples the vast machinery that is New York City, heiress Prudence MacKenzie sits anxiously within her palatial Fifth Avenue home waiting for her fiancé’s safe return."

An intricate tale of murder and greed set in 1888 New York City. Well written with wonderful period descriptionset.

Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What The Dead Leave Behind is the first book in the Gilded Age Mystery series.

I have to say that I consider this book one of the best that I have recently read.

The book starts on March 12, 1888, with a devastating blizzard bearing down on New York City and centers around the death of Charles Winwood.

Prudence MacKenzie is to wed Winwood in two weeks and is expecting Winwood to call on her in the evening with marriage settlement documents that she needs to sign in accordance with her father’s will
Shirley Schwartz
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The series had been recommended to me by a friend so I picked up the first book in the Gilded Age series. From the moment that I picked it up until I closed it on the final page, I was captivated by the story of young Prudence MacKenzie. The story begins with the real-life occurence of the Great Blizzard of March 1888 in New York City. In this book it all starts when a young man who is engaged to Prudence MacKenzie is cruelly beaten and left to die in the snow. From there we m ...more
Apr 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
"What the Dead Leave Behind" is a historical novel set in 1888 in New York City. It's not really mystery genre since it's pretty obvious who the bad guys are. Even the main characters felt certain they knew whodunit and were attempting to prove it. Also, the reader gets to see things (including the murders) that the hero and heroine never see and some of which they never discover.

Some suspense was created by the repeated attempts to harm or kill the heroine. However, the author included so much
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
208 ratings, averaging 4.1 stars! How is that possible fellow "Goodreaders"? Did we read the same book? Did the serial reviewers who live to receive free books inflate the star giving? However this happened will remain a mystery. Shall we ask Prudence and Geoffrey to investigate?

Here's what I think: the premise had promise, but the pace was too slow, the characters had no depth, the abundance of characters led to confusion, and the plot was too complicated and contrived. A relationship between P
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: incomplete
This one kicked off just the way I like. It had some of the most beautiful descriptions of an icy winter and snowstorm that I have ever come across. Sadly, the book started to stall out somewhere around page 100, when Geoffrey Hunter appeared.

I found myself wishing that Geoffrey would go away. He was not a bad character, but he changed the direction of the story to me. I would have rather had this be a standalone where Prudence struggled to take down her stepmother by herself. You start to get
Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
New to me author but I can't wait to read the next one in this series and I really enjoyed this one.

It's 1888 and there is a blizzard going on outside and Prudence is worried about her intended as he is out in the horrible weather. She gets word that her fiance had perished in the snow and that it was an accident. Or was it? 

Prudence has never liked her stepmother and she is starting to think something is not right with her. She is warned not to take any more lauden from her stepmother or anythi
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Prudence MacKenzie is an heiress with no power, until her marriage to Charles, because her father's will leaves her in the guardianship of her obnoxious step-mother. Loyal servants are fired and replaced by villains. Then, Charles is murdered or was it an accident? Trapped by legal and social rules, Prudence struggles to find out the truth. No one will help her until an old friend of her fiancé steps up.

Geoffrey Hunter is an ex-Pinkerton and a Southerner. Even though it is 1888, New York has not
Stephanie A.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My mom recommended this to me, and I promptly stayed up half the night because I could not put it down until I finished, eyes glued to the page, drinking in the endless swath of details about privileged life in New York in 1888, from the beautiful architecture and furnishings of their "palatial" home to the dark side of power-grabbing that wealth creates.

Many different points of view are deftly utilized to illuminate different parts of the murder mystery (or mysteries) -- which is less about th
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it
What really created my interest in What the Dead Leave Behind was the idea of Blizzard of 1888, and strangely, I finished the book a few days before the prediction of the huge blizzard to hit New York and the east coast in mid-March of this year.

Prudence McKenzie, still grieving over her father's recent death, awaits the arrival of her fiance as the blizzard sets in, covering New York in snow. Charles, however, will never arrive and will be one of the 200 bodies discovered on New York streets i
I really enjoyed this debut mystery about a young woman, Prudence MacKenzie, and the deaths of her father and her fiance, and her relationship with her stepmother. Prudence is a smart woman, despite the difficult position she is in; she is a society woman in 1888, who is severely limited in what she can do and where she can go, complicated by being in mourning.

Highly recommended!
Carolyn S
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book takes place in NYC back in 1888. Blackmail, murders, and sickness do to addiction, blizzards, and other mishaps. It is about wills, law and order, right and wrong. Women in those days, and the love between a father and his wife and daughter. Nicely written, tho a bit long.
nikkia neil
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks Kensington Books and netgalley for this ARC.

Some leeway should be given being that this is the first in the series and a debut author. The danger and malice are never far from the heroine. Will sher outsmart the villains? A tale of good vs evil
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4-1/2 stars: This was a really good historical mystery— great characters and a really interesting mystery. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it. I almost abandoned it because the narration on the audiobook was mediocre, at best. The reader had pretty much no distinction between character voices and it could be difficult to tell who was speaking. I eventually got used to it and it wound up not being terrible. That said, I would not recommend using an Audible credit on it, but if you can get it for ...more

This was a decent first installment, and it has the potential to be a really good series! I was disappointed the mystery aspect was pretty much known from the beginning, but the characters and setting were intriguing. The author appears to have a keen knowledge of the time period, and she does an excellent job incorporating her research into the storyline.

I look forward to the next installment and the hope Prudence and Geoffrey will have future mysteries to solve.
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Overall an enjoyable mystery story. Some parts thoughwere a bit choppy and I would have to reread a paragraph to fully grasp what was going on.

Loved the setting of the story.
Cindy Ladensack
Great setting, interesting premise--rather than a whodunnit, it was more of a how-to-prevent-it-from happening-again. It could have been more tightly edited--there were some inconsistencies in plotting (e.g. a weapon never explained), some questionable character movements, and the secondary plot was rather hastily and confusingly explained. But good atmosphere and great potential for the series that is sure to follow.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
What the Dead Leave Behind (A Gilded Age Mystery)
By Rosemary Simpson

What the Dead Leave Behind is something I’m always looking for, the beginning of a new mystery series, this one set in 1888 New York City.

Prudence MacKenzie is the daughter and heiress of the late Judge Thomas MacKenzie, a well-respected man in his day. Prudence’s mother died when she was young, and for many years it was just the judge and his daughter, who he treated more as a 19th century man would treat his son – teaching he
Donna Townsend
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This first book in the Gilded Age Mystery series is a terrific addition to the historical fiction genre. Prudence MacKenzie, has recently lost her father who has left her under the control of her hateful stepmother, Victoria, until age 30. And Victoria has no intention of settling for only half of the inheritance and is bent on ensuring that her stepdaughter will be unable to inherit. Prudence must either marry in the next few weeks or prove that Victoria is unfit to be a guardian. Both of these ...more
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Play Book Tag: What the Dead Leave Behind - Simpson - 3 stars 2 11 May 31, 2018 10:26PM  

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Rosemary Simpson's What the Dead Leave Behind is set in Gilded Age New York where the Great Blizzard of 1888 brings both disaster and independence to her wealthy and unconventional heroine. Lies that Comfort and Betray is the second in the Gilded Age Mystery series, to be followed by Final Portraits.

Rosemary is also the author of two stand-alone historical novels, The Seven Hills of Paradise and D

Other books in the series

A Gilded Age Mystery (3 books)
  • Lies That Comfort and Betray (A Gilded Age Mystery #2)
  • Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets (Gilded Age Mystery Book 3)
“She’d always fallen asleep in a nest of words, one hand resting on a beloved favorite, the other curled into the pages of one of her father’s legal treatises or the latest volume from Mr. Henry James or the exciting Mr. Stevenson. It struck her quite suddenly that her new husband might not want to have to reach his bride by crawling over her drawbridge of sharp-cornered tomes. She pushed away the thought on the same breath as it occurred to her” 0 likes
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