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Publisher's Summary

As the Great Blizzard of 1888 cripples the vast machinery that is New York City, heiress Prudence MacKenzie sits anxiously within her palatial Fifth Avenue home waiting for her fiance's safe return. But the fearsome storm rages through the night. With daylight, more than 200 people are found to have perished in the icy winds and treacherous snowdrifts. Among them is Prudence's fiancé - his body frozen, his head crushed by a heavy branch, his fingers clutching a single playing card, the ace of spades.

Close on the heels of her father's untimely demise, Prudence is convinced Charles's death was no accident. The ace of spades was a code he shared with his school friend, Geoffrey Hunter, a former Pinkerton agent and attorney from the South. Wary of sinister forces closing in on her, Prudence turns to Geoffrey as her only hope in solving a murder not all believe in - and to help protect her inheritance from a stepmother who seems more interested in the family fortune than Prudence's wellbeing.

Filled with richly colorful characters, fascinating historical details, and thrilling moments of suspense, What the Dead Leave Behind is an exquisitely crafted mystery for the ages.

©2017 Rosemary Simpson (P)2017 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Heather
  • West Columbia, SC, United States
  • 01-19-18

Amazing story! I could not put it down!

I loved this book! I did not anticipate the many twists and turns! I couldn’t put it down! I can not wait to read the next “chapter!”

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

So frustrating!

Would you try another book from Rosemary Simpson and/or Sarah Zimmerman?

I don't think so. This could have been a great book. The story was good with an intriguing plot, some interesting characters, and setting in the Gilded Age, but the writing was tedious and repetitive, and the performance was monotonous and delivered in a sing-song voice.

What other book might you compare What the Dead Leave Behind to and why?

I liken it to Cinderella, with poor put-upon Miss Prudence having to live with her evil step-mother after her father's death, her evil step-uncle in place of the evil step-sisters, and Mr. Hunter as Prince Charming.

How could the performance have been better?

Get rid of the horrible sing-song delivery! It would also have been nice to have some emotional inflections and better distinction between character voices. It often felt like the narrator, as well as the characters, were sleep walking through the book.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Frustration and disappointment. So much of the book was just tedious and lengthy descriptions of things that added nothing to the story. And the repetitiousness was maddening! How many times do we need to hear that Easter was early that year on April 1st, especially when it did not advance the story and had nothing to do with the plot? Or that Miss Prudence is the most intelligent and bravest girl ever? And those are just a few examples. Whatever happened to "Show, Don't Tell"? After awhile it felt like the story was squandered and I just wanted it to be over. But I must remember to be careful what I wish for, because the neat and tidy ending of this book was truly unbelievable.

Any additional comments?

If Miss Prudence was so smart and brave and wonderful, why didn't she have any friends? Why did no one other than the doctor ever come to check on her or to visit? Not even her fiance's family bothered to call on her. You think they would have showed some concern, especially if they worried about her health. I think the lack of friends and visitors shows more about that character's personality than anything the author repeatedly told us about her.

I think a good editor could have made this book great. Tightening of language and tweaking the characters would have made a huge difference.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator very annoying

I found myself backing the recording up so I could figure out which character was speaking. There was very little discernment between the character’s voices. The story was fairly interesting to keep me listening.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful