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An Untimely Frost

by Penny Richards

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lilly Long Mystery (1)

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405603,925 (4.44)12
Fiction. Literature. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML:For fans of HBO's The Gilded Age, explore the dazzling world of America's 19th century elite in this lush, page-turning saga...
In 1881 Chicago, the idea of a female detective is virtually unheard of. But when famed crime buster Allan Pinkerton opens his agency's doors to a handful of women, one intrepid actress with her own troubled past is driven to defy convention and take on a new and dangerous role. . .
Since the age of eleven, when her mother was murdered, the life of the theater is all Lilly Long has known. Now twenty-two, she has blossomed into an accomplished Shakespearean actress. But after her innocence‚??and her savings‚??are taken from her by a seductive scoundrel, Lilly vows to leave the stage, enter the real world, and save others from a similar fate. Following in the footsteps of the country's first female detective, Lilly persuades Allan Pinkerton to take her on.
Lilly's acting skills are a perfect fit for her real-life role as a Pinkerton operative. But her first case is a baptism by fire as she is sent to the small town of Vandalia to solve the mystery of a pastor who disappeared with his family‚??and the church's funds. When Lilly arrives, she finds the mere mention of the reverend's name provokes enmity or suspicious silence. Shadowed by a second Pinkerton agent with an agenda of his own, Lilly begins to uncover Vandalia's sordid secrets. But she'll have to deliver the performance of a lifetime to survive the final act of th
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Showing 5 of 5
This book was a pleasant surprise. With its feisty main character, Lilly Long, and several suspenseful plot twists, this was a great read!

In 1881, women were limited in their career choices. Actress Lilly Long feels looked down on by society because of her career on the stage. After all of her money is stolen by her abusive husband, she finds herself applying for yet another edgy career choice for a woman: detective. Desperate for money and wanting to move on with her life, she answers an advertisement placed by the Pinkerton Agency seeking female detectives. Using her acting skills and few well-told lies to secure the job, she soon finds her skills and intelligence put to the test as a Pinkerton Agent.

This is the first book in the Lilly Long series set in 1880s Chicago. The book is an intriguing historical mystery with just a hint of romance. The mystery portion of the plot was well-written with plenty of twists and suspense. I figured out some portions of the plot, but I have to say that the ending was a surprise.

I can't wait for the next book in this series! Readers who enjoy historical mysteries and historical romance will love this book!

This is the first mystery written by Penny Richards. She has published several romance novels including the Calloway Corners and the Wolf Creek series. She has also written romance books under the pseudonym Bay Matthews, and co-authored books as Sandi Shane with writer Sandra Canfield. ( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
This is an enjoyable mystery, that takes place in 1881. Lilly decides to become a detective after a bad breakup with her husband. She ends up working for the famed Pinkerton Detective Agency. I had heard of the Pinkerton agency, but really knew nothing about it. It was interesting to learn a little bit about the agency and it's detectives. The mystery Lilly investigates was interesting and came to a satisfying conclusion. I enjoyed her personality, except for the way she is so afraid of accepting assistance from Cade.

I received an ARC from NetGalley. ( )
  readingover50 | Jun 11, 2019 |
In the wake of discovering the duplicity of her new husband, Lilly Long decides she can use her life to help other women who are victims of unscrupulous men. She is hired, after some hesitation, by Allan Pinkerton and is off on her first assignment as an operative. Can this young, former actress handle the danger and mystery?

I wold say "poor Lilly" but this is not a character to pity. Despite the horrible things that have happened in her life, she keeps going and wants to help other women. She is clever, but emotional. Her reactions to the things she discovers are true to life and made me like her even more.

The mystery itself was well executed and kept me guessing. The reader is led along at just the right pace and the facts discovered in just the right way.

In short, this is a fantastic addition to historical fiction and I cannot wait to follow Lilly into more mysteries. ( )
  TheQuietReader | Jun 4, 2017 |
An Untimely Frost is the first book in the Lilly Long Mystery series. It is 1881 in Chicago, Illinois. Lilly Long is an actress with the Pierced Rose Theater Troupe. Lilly married Tim Warner a few months ago, but it has not been an ideal match. Tim is threatening Rose Wainwright. Rose and her husband, Pierce (manager of troupe) raised Lilly after her mother passed away. Rose has been keeping Lilly’s savings for her. Lilly made the unfortunate mistake of telling this little tidbit to Tim. Tim is a scoundrel, thief, liar, and philanderer. This incident propels Lilly to respond to a Pinkerton National Detective Agency. They are looking for female agents. Lilly meets all the qualifications except for her age (she is too young). Lilly schedules an interview anyway and hopes for the best. Lilly is interviewed by Allan Pinkerton’s sons, William and Robert. Robert is against hiring women, but William is opened minded (especially since his father ordered them to hire women). Lilly impresses William with her abilities/skills, but she is turned down for the position (age). She then proceeds to use her make-up and acting skills to interview as other women. One of them gets a call back (technically a letter for a second interview) and Allan Pinkerton himself is present for this interview. After Lilly reveals her deception (which outrages Robert), Lilly is hired. Lilly’s first assignment is to find the owner Heaven’s Gate (a house) in Vandalia, Illinois. Pastor Harold Purcell and his family disappeared twenty years ago (I sense a juicy scandal). Lilly is excited to start her first case (even if it is an easy one). After talking with a few people in Vandalia, Lilly finds out that there is nothing simple about this assignment. Join Lilly on her investigation in An Untimely Frost to see how she fares with the case of the missing pastor.

An Untimely Frost was an enjoyable historical mystery. I liked Lilly Long as a character. She may have been bamboozled, but she was not going to let this keep her down. Lilly took the experience and was using it to help others. The mystery in An Untimely Frost was very good (complex). I was able to figure out most of it, but there was one twist I did not see coming (I like to be surprised in a mystery). The book is well-written and easy to read (good pace). I love it when a villain gets his just desserts! I give An Untimely Frost 4.5 out of 5 stars (I more than liked it). You can tell when I enjoy a novel because I stay up late reading it (and I give it a good review). Penny Richards did a excellent job at capturing the era or time period portrayed in the book as well as the two cities. I will definitely be reading the next book in the Lilly Long Mystery series.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel. The comments and opinions expressed are strictly m own. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Jul 29, 2016 |
I received a free advance e-copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This was a fun read. Lilly is plucky, strong-willed, and a bit gullible. She never gives up. She is a young actress who is down on her luck and looking for something different. She answers a newspaper add for a female Pinkerton detective. When she is turned down she decides to use her ability as an actress and a little trickery in order to land the job. The story is full of twists and turns and danger as she searches for a missing preacher who apparently had a well-hidden problem with some of his young female parishioners. This is a well-written novel with a well-developed plot and good character development. I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more about Lilly Long in the future. ( )
  iadam | Jul 24, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Penny Richardsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Griffin, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Fiction. Literature. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML:For fans of HBO's The Gilded Age, explore the dazzling world of America's 19th century elite in this lush, page-turning saga...
In 1881 Chicago, the idea of a female detective is virtually unheard of. But when famed crime buster Allan Pinkerton opens his agency's doors to a handful of women, one intrepid actress with her own troubled past is driven to defy convention and take on a new and dangerous role. . .
Since the age of eleven, when her mother was murdered, the life of the theater is all Lilly Long has known. Now twenty-two, she has blossomed into an accomplished Shakespearean actress. But after her innocence‚??and her savings‚??are taken from her by a seductive scoundrel, Lilly vows to leave the stage, enter the real world, and save others from a similar fate. Following in the footsteps of the country's first female detective, Lilly persuades Allan Pinkerton to take her on.
Lilly's acting skills are a perfect fit for her real-life role as a Pinkerton operative. But her first case is a baptism by fire as she is sent to the small town of Vandalia to solve the mystery of a pastor who disappeared with his family‚??and the church's funds. When Lilly arrives, she finds the mere mention of the reverend's name provokes enmity or suspicious silence. Shadowed by a second Pinkerton agent with an agenda of his own, Lilly begins to uncover Vandalia's sordid secrets. But she'll have to deliver the performance of a lifetime to survive the final act of th

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