What The Dead Leave Behind
Author: Rosemary Simpson
Following the death of her father, Prudence's stepmother is in complete control over the household and slowly making her stepdaughter addicted to laudanum. The family attorney informs Prudence that inheritance from her father's will depends on her marrying Charles. With his death, her stepmother gains control of everything -- the house, the money, even Prudence's dead mother's jewelry. Soon, Prudence finds it hard to even leave the house. Is her life in danger? Is Charles' death murder? What is her stepmother up to? With the help of the family attorney and a former Pinkerton agent, Prudence begins to delve into family secrets. What she discovers is shocking.
I found myself completely engrossed in this story from the start. The backdrop of Gilded Age New York and the aftermath of a massive blizzard is engaging. Simpson paces the story perfectly, letting the tension build up until the very end. Although the final outcome is not shocking, the way it comes about is surprising. Well done!
I liked all of the characters. The "bad guys'' were supremely horrible. I felt justified in despising them right from the beginning. Prudence is a great main character. She is feisty, intelligent, self-reliant and brave. Former Pinkerton agent, Geoffrey Hunter, is a great male lead as well. He is dedicated to getting to the bottom of the case and protecting Prudence. I was very happy to discover that this book is just the first in a planned Gilded Age Mystery Series. Simpson has announced two more future books, Lies That Comfort And Betray and Final Portraits. I will definitely be reading more of this series!
For more information on the author and her books, check out her website: http://rosemarysimpsonbooks.com/
**I voluntarily read an Advance Readers Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.**