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Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Golden Cage

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A Golden Cage: A Newport Gilded Age Mystery
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Berkley (June 7, 2016)
Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275856


The author of A Gilded Grave returns to Newport, Rhode Island, at the close of the nineteenth century, where headstrong heiress Deanna Randolph must solve another murder among the social elite.
With her mother in Europe, Deanna is staying with the Ballard family, who agree to chaperone her through the summer season and guide her toward an advantageous marriage proposal—or so her mother hopes. Relishing her new freedom, Deanna is more interested in buying one of the fashionable new bathing costumes, joining a ladies’ bicycling club, and befriending an actress named Amabelle Deeks, all of which would scandalize her mother.
Far more scandalous is the discovery of a young man bludgeoned to death on the conservatory floor at Bonheur, the Ballards’ sumptuous “cottage.” Deanna recognizes him as an actor who performed at the birthday fete for a prominent judge the night before. But why was he at Bonheur? And where is Amabelle?
Concerned her new friend may be in danger—or worse—Deanna enlists the help of her intrepid maid, Elspeth, and her former beau, Joe Ballard, to find Amabelle before the villain of this drama demands an encore.

What I Thought:

This is the second installment of the Newport Gilded Age Mystery series, and it was just as interesting as the first.  In this installment Deanna's mother is in Europe where she has taken Deanna's sister to find relief for her headaches.  Deanna is staying with the Ballard family while she is gone.  She has a little more freedom by staying with them.  They go to a birthday party in which there is a play, Mrs Ballard knows one of the actresses and early the next morning, that actress, Amabelle,  shows up on the Ballard's doorstep, and then a dead body is found in the conservatory and Amabeller has disappeared.  Of course, Deanna can't keep her nose out of the situation, much to the chagrin of Joe, the Ballard's son.  This story was well written and historically accurate.  I loved reading about this ear of Newport society and all the opulence.  It was well plotted and kept me guessing until the very end. 

I received  a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

ShelleyNoble FinalV3 copy

About The Author –

Shelley Freydont is the author of the Liv Montgomery, Celebration Bay Festival Mysteries, (Silent Knife, Trick or Deceit),the Katie McDonald Sudoku Mysteries and the Lindy Haggerty dance company mystery series. Her Newport Gilded Age Mystery seires began in June 2015 with A Gilded Grave, followed in June 2016 with A Golden Cage.
Shelley loves puzzles of all kinds and when not writing or reading mysteries, she’s most likely working on a jigsaw, Sudoku, or crossword.
As Shelley Noble, she’s the author of the women’s fiction novels, Beach ColorsStargazey Point, and Breakwater Bay as well as several novellas.
She lives at New Jersey Shore and loves to hear from readers.
* Author Links
Website www.shelleyfreydont.comm
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Purchase Links
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Guest Post:

            Let’s talk about bicycles. A strange topic for  a historical mystery?  Not at all.

 In A Golden Cage which takes place in 1895 Newport Rhode Island, my eighteen year old heroine, Deanna Randolph, purchases her first bicycle.  It was scandalous to many of the staid families of Newport.  It was also a huge fad. Men had already formed cycling clubs, now women did too.  New fashions arose because of cycling needs. Bicycles could suddenly be seen everywhere.

            Susan B. Anthony told the New York World’s Nellie Bly that bicycling had “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world

But not eveyone was so enthusiastic. They were railed against from newspapers to pulpits.   Injurious to women’s health , over stimulation, a step above promiscuity. That the new dress was an abomination and welcomed advances from gentlemen. The bloomers and shorter skirts (above the ankle Oh my) were considered immoral.

It didn’t prevent women cyclists from taking to the streets in droves. Deanna’s bicycle features prominently in the investigation and capture of the murderer  in A Golden Gage.

Deanna cycles to find a missing actress.

            Deanna went down the steps and took her bicycle from the footman.

            “Do you think she needs help getting on?” Lionel asked.

            “If you suggest it, you’ll get your head bit off,” Joe said.

            The three of them watched wordlessly as Deanna maneuvered the bicycle onto the drive, glanced back at the three men, scowling like only Deanna could scowl.

            “Maybe she’d prefer to get started without an audience,” Lionel suggested. 

            The three of them turned back toward the house,  but quickly looked back over their shoulders in time to see Deanna peddling down the drive wobbling slightly at first but steadying and gaining speed as she reached the Avenue.

And what did her friends and family think of Deanna’s bicycle?

Her mother in a letter from Switzerland

            Remember what I say. And remember what I told your father.  You are absolutely not to have a bicycle, or borrow a bicycle, or ride someone else’s bicycle.  That is for the lower classes, not for my daughters.

An old sailor at the wharf

            The old man pushed away from the crate. He peered over Joe’s shoulder and his mouth dropped open.  “Well, did you ever, now? What’s the world a coming to? Women on bicycles, pure craziness, next they’ll want the vote.  You mark my words.”

Joe’s mother

            “She’s enjoying her new found freedom; what’s the harm? Riding a bicycle is practically di rigger among the younger set, they’re golfing, swimming, and traveling the world.”

            “But they don’t do detective work, even in an amateurish way.  If she gets a reputation for unladylike behavior . . .”

            “Joseph,” His mother threw her napkin on the table.  “I never thought to hear a son of mine—”

Elspeth , her maid

            Elspeth looked incredulous. “Me, Miss? Be careful?  I’m not the one going off on that bicycle contraption. I didn’t go visiting those actor people and putting myself in harm’s way. I’m not the one got locked in a closet ‘cause I was being too nosy.”

And what is the villain’s  feelings about Deanna’s bicycle?  Well, let’s just say I’ll leave him to tell you that himself once he’s in custody.

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1 comment:

  1. Love reading about the gilded age. I look forward to reading the "Gilded Cage".