The Death of Colonel Mann
A Beacon Hill MysteryUnknown - 2000
Victorian Boston is the splendid setting for a deliciously scandalous murder in this seductive historical mystery. When Colonel William D'Arcy Mann is found shot dead in his Boston hotel suite, there are few to mourn him but many who will feel the repercussions of his untimely demise. Mann was the publisher of a scurrilous gossip rag in which he exposed the indiscretions, great and small, of Boston's highest caste--unless they paid the hush money he demanded. By discovering the body, Addington Ames, a resident of Louisburg Square, Beacon Hill, has violated at least two tenets of the Boston Brahmin code of behavior to which he was born--his name has appeared in the newspapers, and he has been questioned by the police. But it's his reason for visiting Colonel Mann in the first place that is by far Ames's greatest concern. His orphaned young cousin, Valentine, has made a most desirable match, but she has unfortunately been indiscreet, and the love letters she wrote during a failed summer romance have somehow fallen into Colonel Mann's hands. If her fiancé were to discover her indiscretion, he would break their engagement, so Ames must recover the letters to save Val from social ostracism. But the missives in question are not to be found in the inconveniently dead blackmailer's hotel room. Only by finding the killer will he be able to prevent Val's heartbreak and disgrace. Cynthia Peale, in this first book of her new mystery series, deftly evokes a richly textured portrait of Victorian Boston's high and low society. And she has created a memorable cast of characters. In addition to the dastardly colonel himself, there is the perfectly matched team of amateur sleuths--Addington Ames and his endearing strong-willed sister, Caroline--who are joined by their boarder and friend, Dr. John MacKenzie, an amiable and sharp-witted outsider (with a secret yearning for Caroline) who acts as Addington's Watson. The Death of Colonel Mannis a tale of passion and terror, a blend of charm, mystery, and suspense in a setting readers will want to return to again and again. Cynthia Peale, in this first book of her new mystery series, deftly evokes the atmosphere, both physical and social, of Victorian Boston's high and low society--the clatter of carriage traffic on fog-shrouded cobblestone streets, the venerable town houses of Beacon Hill, the conviviality and exclusivity of the private clubs, the strict codes of proper behavior. And she has created a perfectly matched team of amateur sleuths--Addington and his sister, Caroline Ames, whose impeccable pedigree allows them to live in reduced circumstances in their parents' Beacon Hill house without losing a bit of their social acceptance, and Dr. John MacKenzie, an amiable and sharp-witted outsider, who sees far more than he lets on and acts as Addington's Watson. -->
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2000.
Edition: 1st ed.
Branch Call Number: M Pea
Characteristics: 342 p. ; 22 cm.