Death on Beacon Hill
Copyright: 2005 (Berkley)
Series: 3rd in the Gilded Age Mystery series
Violence: murder (not seen); some punching
Where & When: Boston, June 1869
Who: Nell Sweeney, governess, and Dr. William Hewitt
Summary: Once again, Nell Sweeney is asked to look into a case, this time because the official report pinned the fatal shooting of retired actress Virginia Kimball on her maid, Fiona. According to the report, Fiona was caught by her employer as she was attempting to steal Mrs. Kimball’s jewels. But both women received fatal gunshot wounds. Even if Boston’s detectives are ill-trained in homicide investigations — as Nell’s friend Colin Cook tells her — there is evidence that points to a third person’s involvement. And the list of suspects is long.
Comments: I decided to start the year off with my favorite mystery series. The mystery itself — what really happened that afternoon at Mrs. Kimball’s and who killed her and her maid — kept me guessing. Nearly everyone Nell and Will speaks to had a motive to kill Virginia.
As for Will and Nell’s relationship, it’s changing. Will spends more and more time with Nell and Gracie. Still, neither has said it aloud, but it clear that are in love with each other — and know it. There’s a passage that pretty much sums up the situation:
There were boundaries to their friendship, like a wall of frosted glass, very real but also very fragile, so fragile that neither of them dare speak of what lay on the other side. By looking at her that way, Will was, whether he realized it or not, pressing his face dangerously close to the glass.
The book can be read without having read the first two, but I wouldn’t recommend it because you’d be missing the development of the main characters. Highly recommend the series.
“Rumors are starting about us.”
“Excellent. Life would be so dull without rumors.”
— Nell, Will
“Come, now, you must have read at least one of those vapid governess novels. Doesn’t the heroine always end up married off to one of her employer’s sons?”
Started: 1 January 2008
Finished: 4 January 2008