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message 1: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 753 comments What the Dead Leave Behind (A Gilded Age Mystery #1) by Rosemary Simpson

What the Dead Leave Behind, Rosemary Simpson

★ ★

From the inside flap: "As the Great Blizzard of 1888 cripples the vast machinery that is New York City, heiress Prudence MacKinzie sits anxiously within her palatial Fifth Avenue home waiting for her fiancée's safe return. But the fearsome storm rages through the night. With daylight more, than two hundred people are found to have perished in the icy winds and treacherous snowdrifts. Among them is Prudence's fiancée - his body frozen, his head crushed by a heavy branch, his fingers clutching a single playing card, the Ace of Spades...

Close on the heels of her father's untimely demise, Prudence is convinced that Charles' death was no accident. The Ace of Spades was a code he shared with his school friend, Geoffrey Hunter, a former Pinkerton agent and attorney from the South. Wary of sinister forces closing in on her, Prudence turns to Geoffrey as her only hope in solving a murder not all believe in -- and to help protect her inheritance from a stepmother who seems more interested in he family fortune than Prudence's well being."

Well, I'd say that the above blurb was rather over dramatic & Gothically eerie, and so too is the book. So why did I check the book out? I wasn't paying close attention to what I was reading, when I picked it up off the shelf, and one of my favorite Historical Mystery authors, Victoria Thompson, gave it a good review.

So the book begins w/ Charles (who is carrying in his briefcase the legal marriage papers that will set Prudence free from her stepmother) following an older attorney out into the BLIZZARD attempting to make sure that the older man remains safe... Which I immediately questioned the sanity of.

The author goes on to describe the ferocity of the blizzard and the fact that one could not see in front of them. Unbelievable for me was if one was unable to see, how would the murderer know that Charles was out & about and how could he follow Charles, cosh him in the head, and steal the briefcase?

Then we read that Prudence's father married a much younger woman, who when the father was not present was beastly cruel to the young Prudence... and now Prudence has a dependency on Laudanum which she is weaning herself off of, by pouring her nightly warm milk (which her stepmother lovingly prepares) out the bedroom window.

Prudence is just 19 and unable to be free of her Stepmother unless she is to marry, which she is about to do... Charles was on his way with all the legal marriage papers that would bring Prudence into full inheritance.

I didn't like the writing, I didn't like the characters (which you all know is a deal breaker for me), but the plot was a good one, even if overtly Gothic. I also found the book to be rather violent, right up to the end, which was another -★.

message 2: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments What a shame. I hate wasting time on books that end up being rated so low. Hopefully your next one is a five star read!

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