Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Review for Death at the Paris Exposition

Death At The Paris Exposition
By Frances McNamara
Emily Cabot Mystery, Book 6

Release date: September 1, 2016
Genre: Historical Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-9967558-3-2
ebook: 978-0-9967558-4-9
Length: 276 pages
Buy the book:  on Amazon 

About the book:

Amateur sleuth Emily Cabot’s journey once again takes her to a world’s fair—the Paris Exposition of 1900. Chicago socialite Bertha Palmer is named the only female U. S. commissioner to the Exposition and enlists Emily’s services as her secretary. Their visit to the House of Worth for the fitting of a couture gown is interrupted by the theft of Mrs. Palmer’s famous pearl necklace. Before that crime can be solved, several young women meet untimely deaths and a member of the Palmer’s inner circle is accused of the crimes.

As Emily races to clear the family name she encounters jealous society ladies, American heiresses seeking titled European husbands, and more luscious gowns and priceless jewels. Along the way, she takes refuge from the tumult at the country estate of Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt. In between her work and sleuthing, she is able to share the Art Nouveau delights of the Exposition, and the enduring pleasures of the City of Light, with her husband and their children.

High society, a Paris setting and murder take center stage in Frances McNamara’s Death at the Paris Exposition, the sixth book in her Emily Cabot Mystery series.  Taking place during the Paris Exposition of 1900, Ms. McNamara’s book is filled with colorful descriptions of haute couture at the turn of the 20th century, the historical and beautiful sights of Paris and a well-developed central character.  If you like historical mysteries and reading about high fashion, this is a book you will most certainly enjoy.

Ms. McNamara does a good job introducing her primary character, Emily Cabot, and the story’s setting right from the start.  We learn about how Emily, and her family, have become a part of the American contingent to the Paris Exposition and how Emily hopes to use the opportunity for both work and a family learning experience.  Ms. McNamara does an excellent job describing the high fashion of the time, along with the behavior of her patron during this trip, Mrs. Palmer, the wife of a very wealthy and powerful Chicago businessman.  Mrs. Palmer is the only American “commissioner” at the Exposition and was determined to hire Emily to act as her “secretary” for both her social and “formal” engagements during their stay in Paris.  A good portion of the book is devoted to the descriptions of the gowns and sights seen from the time they arrive to when they depart to the U.S.

I liked Emily’s character almost right from the start but have to admit that it did take me a while to connect with her.  I believe this is partly because this is the first book I’ve read in this series and Emily’s character, and those of her husband and children, were already well established and also because the story’s pace was somewhat slow. As I became more accustomed to Ms. McNamara’s voice as an author, and the pace, I did enjoy how the story developed.  The secondary characters were colorful and very interesting, though Mrs. Palmer and another secondary character, trying to find a titled suiter for her daughter, both got on my nerves. 

There are actually two mysteries which Emily finds herself drawn into solving as the Exposition takes place; a series of jewel thefts and a murder which takes place during one of the fashion exhibits.  While the French police are involved, and we are introduced to an interesting inspector, Emily is pushed into the investigations when Mrs. Palmer’s son becomes a person of interest in both investigations.  While I was suspicious of one of the characters, who turned out to be involved, right from the start, I was surprised at the end when both mysteries are solved.  As I stated earlier, I did think the story’s pace was a little slow, perhaps a bit too much emphasis was placed on the fashion part of the story and not enough on the mystery aspect, but I did enjoy Ms. McNamara’s voice and her descriptions were very detailed.  You could tell she had done quite a bit of research and she did an excellent job discussing all of the couture houses in existence at the time. 

Will Emily discover who is stealing the priceless jewels at the exhibition before the thief strikes again?  And why did a milner get killed at one of the high fashion exhibits?  Are the two cases tied together?  You’ll have to read Death at the Paris Exhibition to find out, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of this author’s work.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 Crowns

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review, my review is entirely my opinion of the reading material provided.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your nice review. I guess historical mysteries do tend to be slower than other types of mysteries, living room for lots of descriptions of the historical background. Glad you want to read more about Emily. Emma at FBT