A Park Avenue princess discovers the dark side of 1930s New York when a debutante ball turns deadly in this gripping historical mystery for readers of Victoria Thompson, Susan Elia MacNeal, and Rhys Bowen.
Manhattan, 1938. Tired of being trapped in the gilded cage of her family’s expectations, Elizabeth Adams has done what no self-respecting socialite would think to do: She’s gotten herself a job. Although Elizabeth’s dream is to one day see her photographs on the front page of the Daily Trumpet, for now she’s working her way up as the newsroom’s gal Friday.
But fetching coffee isn’t exactly her idea of fun. So when veteran reporter Ralph Kaminsky needs a photographer to fill in for a last-minute assignment, Elizabeth jumps at the chance. At the Waldorf Hotel, Elizabeth is tasked with tracking down the season’s “It girl,” Gloria DeWitt, who will be making her society debut. Working her own connections to New York’s upper crust, Elizabeth manages to land an exclusive interview with Gloria.
Then Gloria’s stepmother is shot dead in a Waldorf bathroom, placing Elizabeth at the scene of a headline-worthy scandal: “Murder of a Society Dame.” Now Elizabeth will have to get the scoop on the killer before her good name gets dragged through the gossip columns—or worse. . . .
Elizabeth Adams will return in Murder, She Uncovered!
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A new cozy mystery series!
Murder, She Reported by Peg Cochran takes us back to 1938 in New York City. Elizabeth “Biz” Adams comes from a well-to-do family, but she is not content to follow in her mother’s footsteps (marriage and hosting charity events). Elizabeth obtained a job as a Gal Friday at the Daily Trumpet, but her goal is to have her photographs appear in the paper. On the night of Gloria DeWitt’s debut ball, reporter Ralph Kaminsky finds himself without a photographer and Elizabeth gets her break. Elizabeth (shortened to Biz by Ralph) goes searching for Gloria so Ralph can get an interview. She finds Gloria crying in the ladies’ room of the Waldorf Astoria over a fight with her stepmother and accidentally snaps a pic. Later in the evening, Gloria stumbles out of another ladies’ room with blood on her dress and her stepmother, Frances is dead inside. Ralph is thrilled at getting the scoop and Elizabeth’s picture of Gloria crying makes the front page (Biz promised not to use that one). Gloria wants Elizabeth to help prove her innocence or she will ruin her socially. Can Elizabeth get the scoop on Frances’ murder or will Kaminsky get an exclusive on her death?
Murder, She Reported is a delightful story. I was drawn into the book immediately and I did not wish it to end. Ms. Cochran set the stage for the era with her references to music (Andrew Sisters), books (Gone with the Wind), food, hats, buildings, dances, makeup, clothing, and the slang. It felt like 1938 in bustling Manhattan (great world building). I thought the story to be nicely written with good transitions. Biz Adams is a great character with her intelligence and go-getter attitude. Elizabeth finds herself straddling two worlds. She is a socialite, but she is also a working woman. Her social connections aid her in investigating the crime. Ralph Kaminsky was a fun character. He is a great counterpart to Elizabeth with his rough edges and he has a different outlook from Biz. Murder, She Reported has a steady pace and I enjoyed the authors writing style (conversational). The mystery was complex with misdirection and good clues to aid the reader in solving the whodunit. There are a few items that could have been handled better (reworked). When the mother breaks her leg and needs help (she is quite demanding), the younger daughter takes care of her until she falls ill with pneumonia. The housekeeper/cook tries to cater to the mother’s every whim, but she is soon run ragged. The father does not believe in spending money unnecessarily, but, in this case, a nurse should have been hired. Especially since Elizabeth had polio as a child which left her with a limp and she tires easily (and is in a great deal of pain). There was an incident with another photographer who threatened Elizabeth. As Elizabeth gets more photography work, I thought he would pop up again. Instead, they smile across the newsroom. A little polishing would have made this a five-star novel. I am looking forward to reading the next Biz Adams story.