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Publisher's Summary

Just beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned - and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note.

Desperate for answers and dreading her own engagement to a wealthy gentleman, Allene returns to her passion for scientific discovery and recruits her long-lost friends, Jasper and Birdie, for help. The investigation brings her closer to Jasper, an apprentice medical examiner at Bellevue Hospital who still holds her heart, and offers the delicate Birdie a last-ditch chance to find a safe haven before her fragile health fails.

As more of their friends and family die, alliances shift, lives become entangled, and the three begin to suspect everyone - even each other. As they race to find the culprit, Allene, Birdie, and Jasper must once again trust each other, before one of them becomes the next victim.

©2017 Lydia Kang (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Excerpt from “Two Fusiliers” by Robert Graves, from The Complete Poems Volume I, edited by Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward. Reprinted with kind permission of Carcanet Press Limited, Manchester, UK. © 1995 The Robert Graves Copyright Trust.

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  • Overall
  • Powell
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • 08-09-17

surprise surprise

Though this is so murder mystery it reads like a literary exploration of the complexities in relationships which cross class lines. War hovers in the bsckground leading the reader to expect the appearance of the flu plague as it appears and cuts a swarth through the population of New York city. Characters grow and change so that at the end the shallow gain depth and direction while the ones at the onset whom we deem as innocent and of good will are in the end capable of planned evil for unforeseen reasons. I love a surprise. This work has many surprises.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful Poison

This book is not the type I usually purchase but I was very happy I took a chance. excellent writing that kept me engaged. I recommend it to anyone.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Unexpectedly excellent!

I listened for free with Kindle Unlimited, which is often a crap shoot. Some books are awful beyond belief and some are excellent. This was the latter. I passed on it a zillion times because I’m not a big mystery/thriller fan on audio, but this was so much more than just a mystery.

The mystery was actually quite complex, and I had no clue “whodunit.” Beyond the solving the mystery aspect were the characters, all of whom were well done but the three main characters were written with such nuance. You root for all three of them—even the one woman who is rather selfish at the beginning of the story still has redeeming qualities. Each character grows as a person as they try to make good lives for themselves, which looks different for all three of them.

Loved the historical aspect—so well done—and loved the audio narrator.

I think this might be my favorite fiction read of the year.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Disturbing, dark & tragic, but excellent

This thriller was darkly disturbing but with a well written, unique approach. As the story unfolds later by shocking layer, one doesn't know whether to love or hate the main characters because of their quirks and how they treat one another. The happenings led me toward one suspect, but I was reeling with horrified surprise when the story twisted to its conclusion. Having recently learned about the sad history of the 'radium girls', I was pleasantly surprised to see it incorporated into this story line. Darkly tragic, well crafted, but the final chapter seems incongruous, even while leaving the reader with a sense of hope for the wounded survivors of the book's events. Perhaps the author felt it necessary to dispel some of the darkness created by the previous chapters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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excellent!!

This is unusual mystery, with people I got to know and love. A mystery that keeps you locked to your book, and a story that at times brought tears to my eyes. If you like history, this is a book you will love as well as a mystery, and a love story. Love that is about people who truly love and care for each other. The end was a total surprise for me, that doesn't happen to me. I totaly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Read!

I was thoroughly enthralled by this wonderful mystery. The characters were complicated and intriguing, as were their relationships. I was sure I had the murders solved and loved the shock as the real resolution played out! The reader did a superb job with the many voices as well!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lauren
  • Brookline, MA, United States
  • 08-07-17

Character driven historical medical mystery

At first I found the writing a bit too flowery, but as I got into it, the murders and plot twists pulled me in. The narrator was good, but I couldn't always tell one character from the other by voice alone. Overall, a good story and well worth a credit.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • sonia
  • Alexandria ,Virginia, United States
  • 08-05-17

Interesting, lovely story

It took a bit for the story to evolve but I would not call it a romance story.
Those were turbulent times in the US, World War I and the influenza epidemic.
There was a mystery, tragedy, death and yes a bit of romance. Not a complicated story, not a YA story, even though the characters were under 19.

There's no car chases, shoot outs, any whiz bang, just a basic historical mystery.

Saskia Maarleveld adds a great deal to the story. Even though it took me a while to figure out which male character is speaking, it took nothing away from the story or her performance. I find myself taking a chance on a new author, if the synopsis sounds interesting AND Ms. Maarleveld is reading.

A lot of chemistry talk, which to be honest, for me did not add or detract from the story, just a part of it.

If you like period/historical, low key mysteries, you surely will enjoy it thoroughly, I did.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Very well written, but...

just terribly depressing. I prefer to be at least marginally entertained by a novel, and as I read this, I felt as though I was being beaten about the head with a large, beautifully crafted stick.

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  • Story

not too enthused

struggled to get though it. skipped chapters might be better read than listened too. not good

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  • S. Rifflart
  • 11-10-17

Tragic part of history

WW1, radium poisoning, pandemic flu and a series of murders makes this a rather dark and dismal listen. Having said that I kept listening and the twists was there to improve things