Thoroughly researched and vividly delivered… A top-notch historical mystery.
Ray adeptly weaves real-life characters into a remarkable mystery that’s chock-full of shocking secrets, relentless lies, treachery, and engrossing historical details in her latest. When five thousand dollars and the governor’s daughter disappear from the Monmouth Plantation in 1852, Natchez Sheriff Murphy steps in to investigate the case. The three suspects: Kitty, a minstrel actress from New York’s grim Five Points district, Farkas, a genteel nobleman from Hungary, and Coop, a free black Londoner, are taken into custody. As the interrogation begins, sinister secrets come to surface, revealing a tangled web of treachery and betrayal. Who will win? Who will lose? It all depends on what Murphy plans to do with the information. The plot is ingenious, twisty, and suspenseful, the pacing measured, and the mystery at the center deeply engrossing. Ray is excellent when it comes to introducing red herrings and keeping both the tension and suspense high. She invests all her characters, including major and minor with heartbreakingly realistic humanity and aptly weaves palpable period detail, including racial and class disparity and atrocities against Black people and her protagonists’ tangled backstories into the affecting narrative. The plot develops unpredictably, taking sudden turns, with the suspects throwing the blames on each other throughout the narrative, keeping the readers glued to their seats. The story turns dark toward the finale, with a soul-crushing ending for some characters. The lovers of finely constructed historical mysteries won’t want to miss this powerful blend of intrigue and suspense. Ray deserves a wide readership.
By Allie Ray
Pub date May 12, 2020
Price $14.99 (USD) Paperback, $0.00 Kindle edition