Saturday, November 24, 2018

"Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets"

Rosemary Simpson is the author of two previous historical novels, The Seven Hills of Paradise and Dreams and Shadows, and two previous Gilded Age Mysteries, What the Dead Leave Behind and Lies that Comfort and Betray. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. Educated in France and the United States, she now lives near Tucson, Arizona.

Simpson applied the Page 69 Test to her newest Gilded Age Mystery, Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets, and reported the following:
If there was ever a temptation to cheat, this is it! But I won't. Below is the entire text of page 69 of Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets.
on Josiah's desk, one by one, each more graphic and disturbing than the last.

"I don't think there can be any doubt about it," she said when the last photograph had joined the others. "This was murder. Someone tried to kill our client."
This is the hook at the end of Chapter 7 that should make it difficult for the reader to do anything but turn to the next page, no matter how late it is or how early she has to get up in the morning. The protagonist, Prudence MacKenzie, has stolen photographic plates (we're in 1889!) from the studio/gallery of a photographer who specializes in postmortem studies, and sent them off to be developed, hoping to find clues to what might have caused the unexpected deaths of a beautiful young mother and her child, a new client's sister and infant niece. In the meantime, she and her partner, Geoffrey Hunter, begin to examine photographs of a terrible accident that took place the day before on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera. A sandbag fell from the flies, crushing the head of one of the singers who was standing just inches away from their client. Coincidence? Not once a photograph reveals that the frayed end of the sandbag's hemp rope has also been cut. Prudence's conclusion that what was intended to be deemed an accident was really murder sets the two investigators off on a determined and complex quest to solve an old killing and prevent future deaths.
Visit Rosemary Simpson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue