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Fundraising the Dead

(Museum #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,428 ratings  ·  228 reviews
At The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques, fundraiser Eleanor "Nell" Pratt solicits donations-and sometimes solves crimes. When a collection of George Washington's letters is lost on the same day that an archivist is found dead, it seems strange that the Society president isn't pushing for an investigation. Nell goes digging herself, and soon uncovers a ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Berkley (first published September 11th 2010)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  2,428 ratings  ·  228 reviews

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ᴥ Irena ᴥ
The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques is the last place you would expect a dead body. After Nell Pratt, a fund-raiser for the Society, finds their archivist dead, she starts a series of events uncovering things some people would do anything to hide. The most suspicious thing about the death, which the police labels an accident, is that it seems connected to some missing valuable historical documents.

Fundraising the Dead is hardly a mystery since you are told almost right away
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Fundraising the Dead, this is the first book in the Museum Mystery series and as someone who loves antiques and museums, I was really excited about this book, but I really struggled to get into it. Nell is a fundraiser at the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society and hours before a large event, she is cornered by Marty, a Board Member, who says that part of her family’s legacy is missing. Soon Nell discovers that there is more stuff missing and things get worse when the only other employee who knows ...more
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you have ever worked in a museum, if you have ever wanted to work in a museum, if you want to know what goes on behind the scenes at a have to read this book!

Having worked for two different historical societies (and now at a historic site), this book was so familiar to me it was eerie. In fact, at one point I asked the person who lent me the book if the author had ever worked (or knew someone who worked) for the historical societies I worked for. I am amazed by how realistic thi
Deanie Nelder
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Actually 3.5 stars

Eleanor "Nell" Pratt is in charge of fundraising for the Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques, a small museum in Philadelphia. However, when she finds the body of one of her co-workers, she gets swept up into a mystery involving missing artifacts and documents from the museum's collection.

I like museums. I even took a class on museums while getting my art history degree. And I've volunteered in development, so I have a bit more relatable background to this myst
Doward Wilson
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Eleanor "Nell" Pratt is the fund raiser and event coordinator for the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society in Philadelphia. As she is putting the finishing touches to that evenings gala to celebrate the Society's 125th anniversary she is confronted by Marty Terwilliger. Marty is a third-generation board member and related to all the old Philadelphia families. She informs Nell that valuable papers are missing from her family's recently and still uncatalogued collection of papers and items. Nell quiet ...more
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Eleanor "Nell" Pratt is the "Director of Development" (aka fundraiser) for the Pennsylvania Antiquities Society- a sort of museum/library cultural institution in Philadelphia. She enjoys her job but wishes it were easier to get money out of people to preserve Pennsylvania's heritage. The Society is short handed which means collections are left uncataloged and record keeping has been spotty. When major donor Martha "Marty" Terwillger angrily approaches Nell about some missing letters in the colle ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I found myself really enjoying this book. It takes place in a private museum and involves the inner-workings of the museum and it's artifacts. The book was well conceived, well thought-out, and well written.

The characters were likable and the location very comfortable. The mystery was very believable and opens the reader's mind as to possible crimes in our own favorite foundations.

I eagerly await the next book. It will be difficult to top this one. However, I'm sure Ms. Connolly will not let us
More like a 2.5 - Read for #Book1CoziesClub and #MarchMysteryMadness

I really struggled to get into this book. In the end, I wouldn't say I got into it at all. It has put me in a bit of a reading slump if I'm honest.

Some of the things that happened during Nell's investigation seemed to only have been included to offer some racy material. Going ahead with investigative ideas that were illegal (which if any evidence was found wouldn't hold up in court), wasn't the best story telling road for me.
Dennis Fischman
Feb 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Nell Pratt is the Director of Development at the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society. Hours before her big fundraising event, a blueblood Board member informs her that priceless documents from the Board member's family collection have disappeared from the building. Then, after the gala, Nell discovers the body of the man who worked most on those documents, dead in an upstairs room. Is it murder? How will Nell get the documents back, and save her job? And is her relationship with her boss, the elega ...more
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, series, cozy-mystery
I was in the mood for a cozy mystery and I had this in my TBR pile so decided it was time to finally read it. It made me want to read more of the series but I can't say this was the most compelling cozy I've ever read. It pulled me in because it's set in Philadelphia (who isn't drawn to books set in places they've actually lived?) & surrounding counties and had a historical preservation society fundraiser as the sleuthing heroine. Recently, it seems my favorite sleuths are book publishers, libra ...more
Oct 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
The first 100 pages of this book were incredibly slow and boring. I work in fundraising and with the exception of the dead body, I felt like I was at work while reading the book. That is not a good thing. I didn't have a problem with Nell until she started describing her relationship with Charles. It all felt very cold. I get that not every relationship is perfect but when you're starting out a series, you ought to take pains to endear the main character to the reader. (Or make the book funny or ...more
Dec 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
❂ Murder by Death
Oct 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
I heard from quite a few people that they were disappointed with this book, so I was leery of even beginning it. I have read her Orchard Mysteries, and her Glassblowing series (under the name Atwell) and I have to say I enjoyed this book *much* more. She has a way to go before I truly 'like' the protagonist - she seems a bit wooden still, but other characters in the book were extremely likeable. I don't think it will ever be a top five series for me, but with a bit of work, maybe the top 10. I'l ...more
Debbie Floyd
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-given-away
I work in the city of Philadelphia and have spent many hours in various museums in the city. I think this was a quick enjoyable cozy mystery. I have other books in the series and will continue to read them over time. I agree with others who indicated that it was fairly easy to figure out the criminal early on in this book, however it is nice to read a book that references the area that I know for most of my life.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Anyone that loves American history and/or a Philadelphia setting.
The novel setting of this "series opener" is the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society in Philadelphia based on The Historical Society of Pennsylvania* which was founded in 1824, and is one of the nation’s largest archives of historical documents.

I first discovered cozy mysteries by Sheila Connolly when I read "Buried In a Bog" (Book 1 of the County Cork Series). I think the County Cork Series will always be my favorite series by Ms. Connolly as through a friend and work colleagues I've heard many c
Not bad. More of a literary mystery than a murder one - the murder was kind of a side-issue.
Rather wordy and repetitive in places, and it felt 30-40 pages too long. I prefer what I've read of the Orchard series.
Bonnie Randall
Oct 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozies
Nell is a professional fundraiser for the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society, a gig that pays the bills and serves her passion; Nell feels the artifacts at the Society have deep reverence and values how much they mean to history scholars.

But let’s talk about Charles. President of the Society, this guy knows which wine goes with dinner. Which piece of cutlery to use with which course. He can drive a Jag like he’s owned one all his life (and he hasn’t; he rents the damn thing), and he’s a veritable
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
If I was being objective, this would be 2.5 stars. But it's about a murder in a museum! How can I be objective about that?
I don't read a lot of cozy mysteries, so not sure how to judge based on that, but for the museum nerd in me, I loved:
--the very frank discussion of how hard it is to raise money
--the extreme backlog of cataloging and keeping track of things
--the smarmy director
--the aggravating until you love her board member
--the nerdy archivist (who is the one that gets killed)
--the museum
Suspense Magazine
Jun 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Eleanor “Nell” Pratt is the fundraiser for the Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques in Philadelphia. She knows it includes old families with old money and documents worth millions, but when a collection of correspondence letters to George Washington goes missing and the archivist in charge of them is found dead in the stacks, suddenly Nell finds herself wondering why the society president isn't looking for an investigation. She soon realizes she will have to unlock this mystery ...more
Joyce M. Tice
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
As the founder and director of a small local history museum, I felt entirely at home in this environment. It's a good story and reflects what goes on in museums. It reminds me how we really need to get the rest of our collections catalogued, which is what we think about most of the time anyway. It's reassuring to know we are not the only ones with crates of donated materials we have not even had time to look at. It's a manual for museum operators with a story line to carry it along. ...more
Tyrannosaurus regina
I don't know whether I'm just having bad luck, or I'm fooling myself that I actually do occasionally enjoy cozies in the first place. I mostly finished this one because I find it hard to leave a book unfinished once I get a certain distance into it. Part of it was that, as someone whose job involves a lot of event management and fundraising, it just wasn't all that escapist for me. But really, the biggest sin of the book was just that it was boring. Everything took too long and there were just n ...more
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sheri Jesse
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It was a quick, read and is a different type of cozy because it resolves around the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society which is not the normal setting for these types of stories. Nell is someone I can relate to and I'm hoping she gets together with James. I will definitely be reading more books in this series to see what mysteries Nell has to deal with. ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this first book in the series and am looking forward to seeing where it goes. Nell was a good character and I could relate to her. I thought the setting for the book was interesting and that the mystery flowed well. Looking forward to reading more. #readforkimberly
May 21, 2013 rated it liked it
I am curious about what happens next, but I did see the bad guys in this book from many pages away.
Solid first in a series. A bit different because you knew at least one of the culprits from the beginning but it worked out nicely.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First book in the Musuem Mystery series by Sheila Connolly. I recently just discovered Sheila Connolly after reading the first book in another series she writes. All I can say is Sheila Connolly writes entertaining cozy mysteries and I will definitely read more by this author.

Nell works for a non-profit society that has been around for over 125 years. She is the one who seeks money to help preserve artifacts from the founding fathers and major contributors. She knows the building that the socie
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thrilled to start Sheila Connolly’s Museum Mystery series, much better than her later very contrived and artificial Victorian Village series
Nell Pratt has work d for the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society of Fire five years as an underpaid fundraiser because she loves her work and mission to help preserve our nations’s historical artifacts.

When important trustee Marty Terwilliger, reports missing documents from her prestigious family collection, Nell seeks out Alfred Findlay, the shy registrar w
I started listening to this book a while ago and the narrator was annoying. She just sounded annoyed throughout the entire book. I decided to try again as we were going on a road trip and needed something to fill the gaps when we lost radio signal or it was too dark to sightsee. Getting past the reading of the book the story itself is quite an enjoyable read. It focuses on Nell Pratt who works as a fundraiser for a Philadelphia museum/historical society. Nell is asked by Marty Terwilliger to pul ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Love it when I find the perfect book for me at a point in time. I picked this up last year on a book buying binge since it was on my wishlist for some reason. Finally picked it up since I was in the mood for a cozy mystery and needed something with a brown cover for a color challenge that I'm participating in.

From the very beginning I was hooked on this mystery set in a Philadelphia museum. Nell is in charge of development which basically means she is a fundraiser. Now that I work for a non-pro
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Sheila Connolly taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services.

She was a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in C

Other books in the series

Museum (8 books)
  • Let's Play Dead (Museum, #2)
  • Fire Engine Dead (Museum, #3)
  • Monument to the Dead (Museum, #4)
  • Razing the Dead (Museum, #5)
  • Privy to the Dead (Museum #6)
  • Dead End Street (Museum #7)
  • Digging Up History (Museum, #8)

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“Most people either love or hate old libraries. To some, a room like this--dim, high-ceilinged, dusty, smelling of old paper and crumbling leather--would be oppressive, a place to flee from in search of sun and air. To others, like me, it was a wonderful cave filled with unimaginable treasures and unexpected treats. I always found myself inhaling deeply when I entered the stacks, as if trying to absorb part of them into my bloodstream.” 20 likes
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