Saturday, May 31, 2014

Death In Saratoga Springs-Charles O'Brien

Death In Saratoga Springs Charles O'Brien Kensington, May 27 2014, $15.00 ISBN: 9780758286383 In 1894, the affluent Crawford family butler Virgil Crawford hires Prescott and Associates to investigate the disappearance of their housekeeper Martha Colt’s teenaged niece Ruth who vanished a month ago. Mr., Crawford explains to investigator Pamela Thompson that the New York City police refuse to search for the missing girl because there is no evidence of a crime though the butler believes more likely due to her being black. Pamela and fired police detective (and falsely accused convict) Harry Miller follow clues that lead them to decorated Union Army Captain Jed Crake, who has an abusive history with women. Soon the sleuths believe Ruth is dead, but efforts to prove by whom lead them taken off the case by a killer who threatens to harm sixteen year old Francesca Ricci. A few months later, the wealthy but ailing from kidney failure Crake, accompanied by his once a hooker wife Rachel, heads to the Grand Hotel in Saratoga Springs. Crake is not long a guest at the affluent hotel before someone murders him. The local police arrest chambermaid Francesca, who was found with the victim’s jewelry and has a history with Crake. Pamela and Harry head to Saratoga Springs to help Francesca by seeking his killer amidst many people loathing Crake including the Crawford family. The second Gilded Age Mysteries (see Death of a Robber Baron) is an entertaining timely historical that looks closely into the “affluenza” syndrome as the rich get away with murder and rape though the 1890s purchasing power differs from today (cops and thugs vs. lawyers). The whodunit seems more of a support motif to enable readers to visit Manhattan and Saratoga Springs during the decadent “Gay Nineties.” Harriet Klausner

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