Fallen Women

10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470370749. $123.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Warmly recalling childhood visits there with her socially prominent aunt and uncle, New York philanthropist Beret Osmundsen journeys to Denver in the spring of 1885 to attempt to learn who murdered her estranged sister, Lillie. Initially confident that mission work in her own city's disreputable environs qualifies her to plumb Denver's depths and assist in resolving the crime, Beret confronts further quandaries: When and why had Lillie joined a brothel? Does Beret herself bear any responsibility for Lillie's death? Nicely exploiting the contradictions between Gilded Age opulence and depravity, Dallas (The Quilt Walk) melds history, mystery, and hints of romance.
VERDICT Expertly voicing a spectrum of players from plummy socialites to denizens of the Tenderloin district, narrator Barbara Caruso reinforces the wide appeal of this satisfying story. Book groups will relish opportunities to discuss social issues and character motivation.

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