Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Louisa and the Missing Heiress by Anna Maclean

Long before she became a famous author Louisa May Alcott spent her time writing "blood and thunder novels" and playing amateur sleuth for the Boston Watch and Police. Louisa's friend Dorothy Wortham has just returned from her European honeymoon and is set to host an afternoon tea. However the newlywed is no where to be found as guests start arriving at her house for tea. Dorothy finally shows up just as guests start to grow concerned however her disheveled appearance does little to ally Louisa's concerns. Nothing can prepare Louisa for the shocking news delivered by constable Cobban the following morning, Dorothy's lifeless body was found floating in the Boston harbor. The markings around her neck hint at foul play. Curious about the circumstances surrounding her friend's death, and lacking confidence in the police, Louisa traverses the streets of Boston in search of answers. Could Dorothy's greedy siblings who show a singular concern over Dorothy's fortune be involved in Dot's murder?  And what about the husband who Dorothy's family unanimously disliked? Could he have played a part in Dot's untimely demise?

Maclean delivers a fun lightweight period mystery steeped in historical facts about pre-civil war Boston and the Alcott family.  Fans of Little Women, like myself, will delight in revisiting Louisa in her formative years.

Looking for other period mysteries featuring real life literary authors?  Check out Susan Wittig Albert's Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series and Death of a School Girl by Joanna Campbell Slan.  For more background information on the Alcott family, check out Marmee & Louisa: the untold story of Louisa May Alcott and her mother by Eve LaPlante.    

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