The Nightmare: A Mystery with Mary Wollstonecraft
Nancy Means Wright
Perseverance, Sep 9 2011, $15.95
In 1792 London, freethinking Irish expatriate Mary Wollstonecraft completes part two of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. However, while her female manifesto makes her feel good as she demands freedom for women; her friend Henry Fuseli is shocked when his famous erotic masterpiece The Nightmare is stolen.
The controversial artist suspects a critical rival Roger Peale stole the renowned work he completed back in 1781. Henry has Roger locked away in Newgate but the stubborn man refuses to confess though Bow St. pressures him. Soon afterward, the strangled corpse of Mrs. Frothingham is found posed like the model in the Nightmare. Intrigued by the nightmare engulfing Fuseli, Mary investigates.
The second Mary Wollstonecraft historical amateur sleuth (see Midnight Fires) is a fabulous whodunit that uses the heroine, Fuseli and other Enlightenment notables of the late eighteenth century to anchor time and place. Proud Mary is a great character who keeps the entertaining twisting story line focused as she intelligently investigates the theft and the homicide. Readers will enjoy this clever period piece mystery.