Nominated for Reader's Choice Awards as Best First Novel and Best Historical Mystery
Nominated for a Lovey Award as Best Traditional Amateur Sleuth
“A first-rate, top of the line cozy that provides the reader with plenty of atmosphere and page turning what-ifs. Even the best armchair detectives will have a tough time trying to name the killer.” -- Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine
“The author's sense of dialogue is crisp and clever. The complex moral ambiguities of the novel will stay with you long after you've finished reading.” --Roundtable Reviews
A Liberated Woman Of The Progressive Era
Gilded Age heiress Evangeline LeClair leads a paradoxical life. By day, she fends off marriage-minded suitors. By night, she teaches English to factory workers at a social settlement in the slums. Evangeline is quite satisfied with the status quo until murder disrupts her routine. One of her students, a penniless immigrant named Elsa, has been murdered in Chicago’s most exclusive hotel. Elsa’s brother Franz, a known anarchist, stages a scene in the hotel lobby the night before his sister is murdered. The police arrest him the following morning.
Evangeline believes Franz is innocent. She also believes that no anarchist will get a fair trial in Chicago in the wake of the Haymarket Riot. Evangeline decides she must track down the real killer and she wheedles one of her admirers, Freddie Simpson, into helping her investigate. She persuades Freddie that breaking a murder case will win him the star reporter job he’s always coveted. Freddie isn’t thrilled with her plan but he grudgingly agrees to lend a hand.
The unlikely detectives divide up their list of suspects. Evangeline takes on the challenge of questioning her robber baron acquaintances as well as denizens of the slums. Freddie is assigned the unsavory chore of interviewing a shady doctor who mixes his own drugs and a teenage prostitute at a sporting house in the levee district.
White City Secrets
When the two compare notes, all their evidence points to the same conclusion. Elsa met a mysterious gentleman at the Columbian Exposition fairgrounds. He became her lover and possibly her killer as well. The grand White City build on Chicago’s lakefront during the summer of 1893 has lured millions to marvel at its wonders. The massive crowds would make it easy for a murderer to hide in plain sight.
As Evangeline inches closer to solving the mystery of Elsa’s death, someone shoves her off a cliff to keep her from exposing the truth. Barely recovered from that incident, she must then deflect a marriage proposal from a suitor named Jonathan. Although Evangeline feels attracted to him, her fascination turns to dread when she discovers that her admirer may know more about Elsa’s demise than he admits.
The amateur detectives race to unmask their unknown opponent before he disappears into the shadows of the fairgrounds for good. Will Evangeline and Freddie succeed in bringing Elsa’s killer to justice? Read The Fall Of White City to find out.