The Wharton Plot

Dreamscape Media. Jan. 2024. 8:50 hrs. ISBN 9781666653922. $17.99. M
Fredericks’s (The Lindbergh Nanny) latest centers on The House of Mirth author Edith Wharton, who returns to New York from Europe in 1911 to negotiate contract terms for her next book. Having reached middle age, Wharton is contemplating a new life, having tired of New York, her foundering marriage, and society in general. She is introduced to fellow writer David Graham Phillips and instantly dislikes the man. He is condescending and dismissive of her work, boasting only about his own forthcoming novel. When he turns up dead just a few days later, Wharton attends his funeral out of curiosity. There she meets Phillips’s grieving sister, who begs Wharton to endorse his new book. Wharton agrees to read the manuscript and soon is caught up in the case, intent on finding Phillips’s killer, no matter the cost. Fredericks skillfully depicts the glittering world of Gilded Age high society and describes changing attitudes toward women’s place in the world. Kitty Hendrix narrates, supplying Wharton with a perfectly pitched voice of privilege.
VERDICT Listeners will be captivated by the elegant setting and the inclusion of real details and people from Edith Wharton’s life. A winning historical mystery.
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