By Kelly Bridgewater
Back Cover Copy:
The World’s Fair has introduced many new ideas to Chicago society—but can two individuals from very different backgrounds find love together?
It’s mid-September 1893 and Eloisa Carstairs is the reigning debutant of Gilded Age Chicago society. To outsiders she appears to have it all. But Eloisa is living with a dark secret. Several months ago, she endured a horrible assault at the hands of Douglass Sloane, heir to one of Chicago’s wealthiest families. Fearing the loss of her reputation, Eloisa confided in only one friend. That is, until she meets Detective Sean Ryan at a high-society ball.
Sean is on the fringes of the Chicago elite. Born into a poor Irish family, becoming a policeman was his best opportunity to ensure his future security. Despite social boundaries, he is enamored with Eloisa Carstairs. Sean will do anything to keep her safe—even if he can never earn her affections.
Eloisa longs to feel normal again, but a killer is on the loose. In the last month, three debutants have been accosted by an assailant wielding a knife, and Eloisa fears for her safety at every event she attends. As the danger in the city increases, and as the romance between Eloisa and Sean blossoms, they both realize they want to be seen as more than how the world views them. But will they catch the killer before all their hopes come crashing down?
I enjoy reading mysteries centered in the late Victorian Era. Even though most of the books I have read and heard of come from Victorian England, not in America. Sherlock Holmes. Jack the Ripper. But when I saw the notice for a mystery series surrounding around the World’s Fair in Chicago during the same time period, my interest was piqued. What was going on American during this time frame? I did not know, but I couldn’t wait to find out by reading this new mystery series by Shelley Gray.
The idea of a Society Slasher going around slashing woman to scar them and then up the dealings to murder later in the book reminded me a lot of Jack the Ripper who killed prostitutes. Deception on Sable Hill occurs five years after Jack the Ripper made his mark on the London community. While the identity of Jack the Ripper was never truly found, the identity of the Society Slasher does come to light at the end of the book. Gray did a good job at keeping the identity of the Slasher hidden. I kept believing the murder was someone. I followed all the clues, but even, I was proven wrong. That is the markings of a good story teller.
The characters make or break the book. Sean Ryan is an enjoyable hero because he wants to improve himself and rise above his humble beginnings. He worked his way up the chain of command in the police force and is respected by many. Eloisa Carstairs, our heroine, feels safe with Sean Ryan around, even so far enough to tell him the dark incident in her past. I enjoyed following Sean through the story, and Eloisa is an admirable heroine because she sees past the social status and views Sean for who he really is. A loving, caring man who will do anything to protect her.
Overall, Shelley Gray, in her second book of the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Series Deception on Sable Hill does a great job at recreating a Victorian mystery that will keep readers, either historical or mystery lovers, up all night, flipping through the pages hoping to find out who the Society Slasher is.
I received a complimentary copy from Zondervan through Netgalley and the opinions stated are all my own.
|From About Shelley on her personal Website|
Where to purchase her books:
Do you enjoy historical suspense fiction? What other authors have you found in this genre?