A January 2023 Once Upon a Book Club Pick
"You'll get nothing done until you've reached the end of this excellent book." ―Lisa Regan, USA Today and WSJ bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series
"[A] riveting tale . . ." ―Library Journal
She wanted the truth. She should have known better.
When her sister is found dead in a Baltimore hotel room, reporter Val Ritter's world is turned upside down. An empty pill bottle at the scene leads the police to believe the cause of death is suicide. With little more than her own conviction, Val teams up with Terry Martin, a retired detective who has his own personal interest in the case, to prove that something more sinister is possible.
In 1921, Bridget Wallace, a guest on the brink of womanhood, is getting ready to marry an eligible older man. But what seems like a comfortable match soon takes a dark turn. Does the illustrious history of the stately Franklin hotel hide another, lesser known history of death?
This engrossing standalone from Murphy (the Detective Cancini mysteries) entwines two deaths a century apart. In the present, Val Ritter, a crime reporter for a Baltimore newspaper, is devastated by the death of her sister, Sylvia, who overdosed on drugs while staying at the Franklin Hotel, one of the city's oldest and finest establishments. The police are quick to rule the death a suicide and soon grow tired of Val's insistence that her sister was murdered. Her only ally in her quest for the truth is Terry Martin, a former police detective who now runs a private security firm. In 1921, Bridget Wallace is betrothed to Lawrence Hartwood, a wealthy older man who seemingly dotes on her but has a violent temper. Their honeymoon venue is the Franklin Hotel, where death will claim one of them. Murphy keeps the tension high by skillfully alternating chapters told from the points of view of Val, Terry, and Bridget. Their overlapping stories raise tantalizing questions: how are their lives connected, and might there be an evil spirit lurking on the Franklin Hotel's 13th floor? Readers will eagerly turn the pages to find out.