"Still Life With Murder", by P.B. Ryan

Still Life With Murder - P.B. Ryan

Book 1, in the Nell Sweeney Historical Mysteries

This is a murder mystery with an historical flavor to it is set in the post-Civil War era of the 1868, in the affluent society circles of Boston. This novel is wonderful combination of murder mystery, history and romance and one that transports us into the Gilded Age with accuracy and timely details.

From the start I was captured by the main character of Nell Sweeney, a doctor’s apprentice turned high-society governess. Working for a wealthy family Nell soon becomes entangled in family secrets and must find out the truth in order to clear Will, the eldest son, from a murder charge.

Although the outcome is quite predictable, the twists and turns are compelling and the situations the heroine gets herself into certainly adds to the excitement. While Nell investigates clues we travel with her to brothels, opium den and gambling halls and we learn along the way more about the kind of men she has to deal with. This is the first installment so not all is revealed about the strength of her character. We are told just enough to pique our interest. The novel is full of details about the wealthy Bostonians’ life as well as the one of poor people living in the rougher parts of the city. The story also brings graphically details of the Civil War prison camp’s life and the treatment of its prisoners.

This story is smooth in tone and pacing, it sparkles with chemistry and sharp dialogue and provides hours of entertainment.