A death of no importance

by Fredericks, Mariah,

Format: Print Book 2018
Availability: Available at 18 Libraries 18 of 21 copies
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Summary

"A taut, suspenseful, and complex murder mystery with gorgeous period detail."--Susan Elia MacNeal

Through her exquisite prose, sharp observation and deft plotting, Mariah Fredericks invites us into the heart of a changing New York in her remarkable debut adult novel, A Death of No Importance .

New York City, 1910. Invisible until she's needed, Jane Prescott has perfected the art of serving as a ladies' maid to the city's upper echelons. When she takes up a position with the Benchley family, dismissed by the city's elite as "new money", Jane realizes that while she may not have financial privilege, she has a power they do not--she understands the rules of high society. The Benchleys cause further outrage when their daughter Charlotte becomes engaged to notorious playboy Norrie, the son of the eminent Newsome family.

But when Norrie is found murdered at a party, Jane discovers she is uniquely positioned--she's a woman no one sees, but who witnesses everything; who possesses no social power, but that of fierce intellect--and therefore has the tools to solve his murder. There are many with grudges to bear: from the family Norrie was supposed to marry into, to the survivors of a tragic accident in a mine owned by the Newsomes, to the rising anarchists who are sick of those born into wealth getting away with anything they want. Jane also knows that in both high society and the city's underbelly, morals can become cheap in the wrong hands: scandal and violence simmer just beneath the surface--and can break out at any time.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The title of YA novelist Fredericks' first book for adults suggests the theme of its intricate historical mystery and pointed commentary on human nature. In 1910, for New York's wealthiest citizens the New York 400 who hold the city's purse strings, the sad truth is that only some lives are important. At the same time, disagreeing anarchists plot violent revolution to force changes in working conditions, crime, and poverty. Deftly woven around these issues is the murder of a playboy, Norrie Newsome, whose family is one of the 400 and whose murderer may be one of the two women he had promised to marry. The story is told through the first-person narration of lady's maid Jane Prescott, perfectly positioned to observe the very rich. The murder plot unspools against the vividly evoked background of a horrific mine disaster, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and the growing campaign for women's rights. Readers can enjoy a similarly down-to-earth and quick-witted heroine in Rosemary Simpson's puzzler What the Dead Leave Behind (2017) and the same wealthy cesspools of greed in Victoria Thompson's Murder in the Bowery (2017).--Baker, Jen Copyright 2018 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "YA author Fredericks (Season of the Witch) makes her adult debut with a sparkling mystery set in 1910 Manhattan. Lady's maid Jane Prescott works for the Benchleys, who have the money but not the sophistication to be part of elite society. When the Benchleys' daughter Charlotte falls for Robert "Norrie" Newsome, the playboy heir to a mining fortune, drama ensues. At the Christmas Eve ball Norrie's parents reluctantly hold to announce his engagement to Charlotte, he's found dead, his eyes gouged out. Charlotte, the young woman Norrie jilted when he took up with her, and their families all have motives, as do local anarchists with a history of violent protest and the families of those killed in a recent Newsome mine disaster. Concerned for her employers, Jane looks into the murder with help from an attractive reporter and a chemist knowledgeable about emerging forensic techniques. The novel's voice, plotting, pace, characterization, and historical background are all expertly crafted, while the resolution-which feels both surprising and convincing-will leave readers hungry for more. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Series Jane Prescott series
#1 - A Death of no importance
#2 - Death of a new American
Subjects Murder -- Investigation -- Fiction.
Upper class -- Fiction.
Detective and mystery fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher New York :2018
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description viii, 276 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9781250152978
1250152976
9781250306555
1250306558
Other Classic View