Ceki's Reviews > Still Life with Murder

Still Life with Murder by P.B. Ryan
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really liked it
bookshelves: historical, mystery
Recommended for: fans of dark historical mysteries

NOTE: This is definitely not cozy mystery and I've seen people shelf this series as such! Just a piece of warning because there is nothing cozy about this! It is a dark historical tale with mystery elements and zero romance (at least in the first book)! Some of the possible triggers are: opium addiction, prostitution, abuse, PTSD (after the American Civil War), depictions of horrors from Andersonville Prison, the corruption etc.

With that being said, I still loved the story. I was immediately drawn in by the storytelling and characters. This is far from any historical romance and cozy mystery because it depicts the real horrors of the 19th century America and the consequences of the Civil War. And most importantly - nobody was able to escape it, both the rich and poor ended up as victims.

Nell Sweeney is a poor governess with a tragic past who wants to lead a normal quiet life but ends up solving the mystery around her employers' son William Hewitts. It is obvious at the end that William will become a potential romantic candidate, but during the novel they are more like colleagues turning into friends. To be honest, I really loved William as a hero, because he managed to stay a good man even though he's been through shit and survived somehow.

Nell was okay-ish, her martyr and always-good-and-forgiving attitude annoyed me hence one star minus in the rating. Both she and William reminded me of Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane from Silent in the Grave. William is the same Byronic hero with a tragic past and mysterious present - it is obvious that his story will be told in layers and he will pop out now and there to spice up the story. However, Still Life with Murder is much darker and the characters are more flawed aka realistic.

It seems to me that P.B. Ryan is better at developing characters than Deanna Raybourn and I'm glad for that.

4/5 - great mystery, interesting and developed characters with enough historical background to keep it realistic and intense, recommended to the fans of dark historical mysteries.

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Reading Progress

October 20, 2017 – Shelved
October 20, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
November 26, 2017 – Shelved as: historical
November 26, 2017 – Shelved as: mystery
Started Reading
December 4, 2017 – Finished Reading

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