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Death at the Fair (Emily Cabot Mysteries #1)

3.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  69 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition provides a vibrant backdrop for this exciting new mystery. Emily Cabot is one of the first women graduate students at the University of Chicago, eager to prove herself in the new field of sociology. While she is busy exploring the Exposition with her family and friends, her colleague, Dr. Stephen Chapman, is accused of murder. Emily se ...more
Paperback, 215 pages
Published December 28th 2009 by Allium Press of Chicago (first published September 8th 2008)
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The Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerBinding Arbitration by Elizabeth MarxThe Jungle by Upton SinclairDivergent by Veronica Roth
Books Set in Chicago
49th out of 354 books — 268 voters
Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonDeath at the Fair by Frances McNamaraIt Happened at the Fair by Deeanne GistSt. Peter's Fair by Ellis Peters
It Happened at the Fair
3rd out of 44 books — 6 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mar 06, 2011 Eileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me start my review by saying that I know the author and consider her a friend. That said I really liked the book, more than I expected to. Emily Cabot is one of the first female graduate students at the University of Chicago. She expects to spend a leisurely break in her studies with her mother, brother and friends visiting the 1893 World's Fair and instead finds herself trying to solve a murder. One of her professors, Dr. Stephen Chapman, is acussed of killing the abusive husband of his for ...more
Sep 08, 2014 Shay rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I thought it was okay but really the only part I liked was the fact that it was set at the fair but honestly it could have been set anywhere bc the fair didn't really play that big of a part. I hated the main character. I felt like she wasn't a complete character and not strong enough to be the lead. Some of the twists were surprising but the whole story was weak and too many people were involved and it was a long winding road on speculation. I don't buy the story even if it is fiction. it just ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Jean rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable historical mystery, written by a local author. You can't argue (with me, at least) with 1893 Chicago politics, the World's Columbian Exposition, and a young female lead who's one of the first graduate students at the new University of Chicago. It reads like first-rate YA fiction in description and dialog, and the plot is fairly transparent. But the writing style seemed right for this story and the time period. It is very realistic, weaving in actual historical people and events, ...more
Dec 17, 2011 Margaret rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Like the Devil in the White City, it was interesting to read about places that are in Hyde Park, but that was a far as it went. The heroine, naive and uninteresting -- she's pursuing a masters in 1893 on crime, but why, she has nothing to say about it or anything. The mystery, boring -- who cares about some racist who beats his wife just 'cause he's rich? The wrongfully accused, who cares, he's two dimensional and as far as I can tell would rather be in his laboratory and who knows what he's wor ...more
Apr 18, 2011 Susie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this first in a mystery series set in turn of the 20th century Chicago written by a U of Chicago academic librarian. This was especially interesting because it introduced Emily Cabot as one of the first women graduate students at U of Chicago, who basically works to solve a murder for which a dear colleague has been unjustly accused. Ida B. Wells is part of the plot with her involvement both in the World's Columbian Exposition as well as the pamphlet she published at the time exposing th ...more
Linda Robertson
Great read while in Chicago learning about the history and seeing the locations of the 1893 World Fair.
Mary Beth  Williams
Author is from Boston where her father was Police Commissioner and she is a librarian at the University of Chicago. The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition is the setting for this mystery featuring Emily Cabot, one of the first woman (fictional) graduate students. She captures race relations, local city politics and patronage, the emerging prominence of the University of Chicago, Hull House, Jane Adams, Ida B. Wells amidst the Worlds Fair in this book. Fun reading that is set during a time when ch ...more
Written by a librarian at the U. of Chicago after a lot of research into the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The heroine, Emily Cabot is working on a post-graduate study in sociaology when she becomes involved in trying to prove the innocence of a fellow researcher of murder. She is frustrated by thieves, gamblers and corrupt politicians. The suthor captures the probllems of women of that llday, prejudices about Blacks and charmingly uses the manner of verbal expression
Linda S.
Aug 25, 2011 Linda S. rated it liked it
This was better than Death at Hull House in that the murder mystery was central to the story and very well done. It was not as good as Death at Hull House as it was less about the city during that era. It still had quite a bit about Chicago and the World Columbian Expo of 1893, but it was more about the story. One interesting part to me was about Ida B. Wells, whom I've heard of but never knew more than sketchy details. She's a fascinating person.
Nov 15, 2014 Emma rated it really liked it
VERDICT: This short novel set in Chicago 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition will be of interest to lovers of the White City, of history and mystery. Nice combination packed with many details related to local politics and issues of the time that could still be very relevant today.

read my full review here:
Jul 07, 2011 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The best part of this book was envisioning the Chicago World's Fair through the eyes of the visitors in this book. Clearly the author did a lot of research about the Fair and Chicago politics at the time and I learned something, always a plus for me. It was a quick read and I look forward to hearing the author speak at our library in September.
Dec 24, 2010 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. I very nearly gave it up without finishing it. Too many characters .... stilted dialog (even given the time period), and times where the characters spoke in a series of simple sentences. This interrupted the flow of the book.
Sonia Schoenfield
This was a pretty good book. I loved the historical background of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago; if I were the editor I would have insisted McNamara include a map. I also thought the characters were a little flat, but I'll try the next one and see if they develop.
I was halfway through this and could no longer bear the multitude of spelling errors. The word "discreet" was misspelled no less than five times (after the first time, it was spelled correctly in the next paragraph).
Predictable plot, with characters that I tried to find interesting, but failed.
Aug 11, 2011 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Fun, quick book to read. I love books based in Chicago during the World's Fair.
Mar 23, 2011 Caroline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great light read for over my Spring break.
Mar 14, 2011 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't wait for Death In Pullman!
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Frances McNamara grew up in Boston, where her father served as Police Commissioner for ten years. She has degrees from Mount Holyoke and Simmons Colleges, and formerly worked as a librarian at the University of Chicago. When not working or writing she can be found sailing on the Charles River in Boston or beaching on Cape Cod.
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Other Books in the Series

Emily Cabot Mysteries (6 books)
  • Death at Hull House
  • Death at Pullman
  • Death at Woods Hole
  • Death at Chinatown
  • Death at the Paris Exposition

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