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Behind the curtained windows of Victorian Boston is a world of passion, scandal ... and murder.
In life, he was the most despised man in Boston, publisher of the town's scurrilous gossip sheet -- and buyer and seller of people's most scandalous indiscretions. Now Colonel William d'Arcy Mann lies on the floor of his fashionable hotel suite, the victim of a single gunshot wound to the heart.
Addington Ames came to recover a packet of love letters written by his young cousin, Val, that had fallen into the blackmailing colonel's possession. But when he discovers Mann's corpse instead, Ames suddenly finds himself at the center of a murder inquiry, his name splashed across the town newspapers.
With Val facing public disgrace -- on the eve of marriage to an impeccable member of Brahmin society -- Ames's only hope is to find the damning missives, which he believes vanished with the killer. With the help of his sister, Caroline, and their boarder, Dr. John MacKenzie, he moves through Boston's most prominent social circles in search of a well-concealed murderer whose final act of violence will leave no life -- highborn or low -- untouched...
From the Paperback edition.
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Lovers of Victorian-style mystery are no doubt familiar with Anne Perry's two series of novels set in 1880s London. These set the standards of the period piece genre, wooing readers with their precisely calibrated mixture of grubby urban realism (read murder) and the tea and gossip of refined drawing rooms. With The Death of Colonel Mann, the first installment in her new Beacon Hill series, Cynthia Peale takes her own stab at that combination, but on the other side of the Atlantic.
When Colonel William D'Arcy Mann is found shot to death in his Boston hotel, few Brahmins mourn his passing. The Colonel had published far too many of Boston's highest caste's indiscretions in his gossip rag; those who had escaped such public ignominy had paid an equally high price, for Mann was not averse to a spot of genteel blackmail. The cast of suspects is large, and Peale's team of amateur sleuths is perfectly placed to ferret out the murderer. Addington Ames and his sister Caroline can trace their blue-blooded lineage back to the Ark, although their social standing teeters precariously when Addington is so gauche as to actually discover the Colonel's body. And unless Addington and Caroline can solve the crime, their beautiful young cousin Val's engagement (the ne plus ultra for a proper young Victorian woman) will be at risk---her future mama-in-law has a decided aversion to scandal.
Addington and Caroline are an amiable pair, as is their boarder, Dr. John MacKenzie, who plays Watson to Addington's Sherlock when he isn't wondering how to court his hostess. Peale falls short of Perry's narrative mastery, however: where Perry effortlessly blends historical detail, evocative descriptions of the London cityscape, and plot, Peale's setting seems awkwardly contrived; her Boston cobblestones do more to trip up the narrative than to smooth its passage. Despite these flaws, Victorian Boston may yet yield fans for Peale, currently at work on the second Beacon Hill mystery. --Kelly FlynnFrom the Inside Flap:
Victorian Boston is the splendid setting for a deliciously scandalous murder in this seductive historical mystery.
When Colonel William D'Arcy Mann is found shot dead in his Boston hotel suite, there are few to mourn him but many who will feel the repercussions of his untimely demise.
Mann was the publisher of a scurrilous gossip rag in which he exposed the indiscretions, great and small, of Boston's highest caste--unless they paid the hush money he demanded.
By discovering the body, Addington Ames, a resident of Louisburg Square, Beacon Hill, has violated at least two tenets of the Boston Brahmin code of behavior to which he was born--his name has appeared in the newspapers, and he has been questioned by the police. But it's his reason for visiting Colonel Mann in the first place that is by far Ames's greatest concern.
His orphaned young cousin, Valentine, has made a most desirable match, but she has unfortunately been indiscreet, and the love letters she wrote during a failed summer romance have somehow fallen into Colonel Mann's hands. If her fiancé were to discover her indiscretion, he would break their engagement, so Ames must recover the letters to save Val from social ostracism. But the missives in question are not to be found in the inconveniently dead blackmailer's hotel room. Only by finding the killer will he be able to prevent Val's heartbreak and disgrace.
Cynthia Peale, in this first book of her new mystery series, deftly evokes a richly textured portrait of Victorian Boston's high and low society. And she has created a memorable cast of characters. In addition to the dastardly colonel himself, there is the perfectly matched team of amateur sleuths--Addington Ames and his endearing strong-willed sister, Caroline--who are joined by their boarder and friend, Dr. John MacKenzie, an amiable and sharp-witted outsider (with a secret yearning for Caroline) who acts as Addington's Watson.
The Death of Colonel Mann is a tale of passion and terror, a blend of charm, mystery, and suspense in a setting readers will want to return to again and again.
Cynthia Peale, in this first book of her new mystery series, deftly evokes the atmosphere, both physical and social, of Victorian Boston's high and low society--the clatter of carriage traffic on fog-shrouded cobblestone streets, the venerable town houses of Beacon Hill, the conviviality and exclusivity of the private clubs, the strict codes of proper behavior. And she has created a perfectly matched team of amateur sleuths--Addington and his sister, Caroline Ames, whose impeccable pedigree allows them to live in reduced circumstances in their parents' Beacon Hill house without losing a bit of their social acceptance, and Dr. John MacKenzie, an amiable and sharp-witted outsider, who sees far more than he lets on and acts as Addington's Watson. -->
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Book Description Ulverscroft Large Print Books, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110708946550
Book Description Ulverscroft Large Print Books, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0708946550