A Death of No Importance

Minotaur: St. Martin's. Apr. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9781250152978. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250152985. M
Years after Jane Prescott joined the wealthy but parvenu Benchley family as maid to the two daughters, she recalls the 1910 crime that made all the New York papers. Younger daughter Charlotte had flung herself at notorious playboy Norrie Newsome, heir to the Newsome fortune. On Christmas Eve, before the announcement of their engagement, Jane finds Norrie's body in the library. As the scandal sheets waver between suspecting anarchists or Charlotte, the observant Jane teams up with a reporter to uncover other suspects. Fredericks's (The Girl in the Park) first adult mystery is a richly detailed historical that addresses the social issues and class inequities of the early 20th century. Jane is an appealing amateur sleuth, an orphan exposed to the excesses of the wealthy while remaining friends with union organizers and anarchists.
VERDICT With its vivid depiction of contrasting worlds this series debut should appeal to readers of Alyssa Maxwell's "Gilded Age" historical mysteries.
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