Winner of the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Historical Fiction
This dazzling new Victorian mystery from USA Today bestselling author Karen Odden introduces readers to Nell Hallam, a determined young pianist who stumbles upon the operations of a notorious—and deadly—crime ring while illicitly working as the piano player in a Soho music hall. Perfect for readers of Tasha Alexander, Anne Perry, and Deanna Raybourn.
Nineteen-year-old Nell Hallam lives in a modest corner of Mayfair with her brother Matthew, an inspector at Scotland Yard. An exceptionally talented pianist, she aspires to attend the Royal Academy; but with tuition beyond their means, Nell sets out to earn the money herself—by playing piano in a popular Soho music hall. And the fact that she will have to disguise herself as a man and slip out at night to do it doesn’t deter her.
Spending evenings at the Octavian is like entering an alternate world, one of lively energy, fascinating performers, raucous patrons—and dark secrets. And when Nell stumbles upon the operations of an infamous crime ring working in the shadows of the music hall, she is drawn into a conspiracy that stretches the length of London. To further complicate matters, she has begun to fall for the hall owner's charismatic son, Jack, who has secrets of his own.
The more Nell becomes a part of the Octavian’s world, the more she risks the relationships with the people she loves. And when another performer is left for dead in an alley as a warning, she realizes her future could be in jeopardy in more ways than one.
Set in London in 1875, this well-researched novel from Odden (A Lady in the Smoke) offers plenty of period detail, a sweet love story, and a plucky heroine. Nineteen-year-old Nell Halloran, a gifted musician, has one clear goal: to be accepted to study piano at the prestigious (and expensive) Royal Academy. To afford tuition, she has taken a job as an accompanist at the Octavian Music Hall. This requires her to disguise herself as a man and to sneak out of the home she shares with her older brother, Matthew, a Scotland Yard detective, for her nightly escapades. Meanwhile, the family doctor, James Everett, is concerned that Nell may be too passionately involved in her music and fears for her mental health. Nell's bravery and resourcefulness are tested when she becomes aware of a criminal organization involved in robbery and murder. If that weren't enough to keep her on her toes, she's also falling in love with one of her music hall companions. Fans of mystery-tinged historical romances will be satisfied.)\n
Victorian Mystery at its finest
This book is beautifully written. The character of Nell Hallam draws you in as she sets out to solve a mystery. The mystery unfolds, leaving the reader unable to put the book down. The descriptions of the Victorian England are phenomenally well researched, and the character development is all nuanced and will leave you eagerly waiting for more from this talented writer. I like to this book so much I went back and read her first book, A Lady in the Smoke, which was equally brilliant.