Death Of A Robber Baron
New York City, 1891. In the spirit of Christmas, Mrs. Pamela Thompson has devoted herself to charity work, even taking an orphaned child into her Greenwich Village townhome. Her husband Jack, an ambitious banker, agrees to such generous acts as long as his wife allows him to invest his time--and her trust fund--in more lucrative opportunities. But when he risks their entire fortune on questionable copper stocks, Pamela ends up losing everything: her house, her inheritance, and even her husband. . .
Penniless, Pamela is forced to move into a boarding house in the Lower East Side and accept a position at Macy's--as a store detective. Displaying an uncanny knack for the job, she's asked to investigate a private matter of thievery at a palatial "cottage" in the Berkshires. Ironically, her employer is none other than Henry Jennings, the infamous "Copper King" who sold bad stocks to her husband. But when the filthy rich scoundrel is found dead in his study, Pamela holds herself accountable--for sorting out this whole sordid business of money, motives. . .and murder.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-06-10
- Reviewer: Staff
O’Brien shifts from pre-Revolutionary France (False Patriots and eight other Anne Cartier mysteries) to Gilded Age America with this capable first in a new series. In 1892 New York City, Jack Thompson shoots himself after losing the family money to untrustworthy financier Henry Jennings. Jack’s destitute widow, Pamela, turns to her attorney, Jeremiah Prescott, who’s also a private detective, for work. While patrolling for shoplifters amid the jewelry counters of Macy’s, Pamela favorably impresses Lydia Jennings, Henry’s wife, who invites Pamela to investigate petty thievery at her Berkshires “cottage,” where Henry soon turns up murdered. Pamela and Prescott seek the culprit from a large field of suspects, including Henry’s thieving steward, his gay son, and his ambitious mistress. The novel’s etiquette, relationships, and language are noticeably more casual than its period’s norms, but O’Brien captures the colorful details and varied characters of an opulent era deftly. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Aug.)