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A Death of No Importance: A Mystery by…
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A Death of No Importance: A Mystery (edition 2018)

by Mariah Fredericks (Author), Stephanie Willis (Narrator), MacMillan Audio (Publisher)

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134723,089 (5)2
Member:EdGoldberg
Title:A Death of No Importance: A Mystery
Authors:Mariah Fredericks (Author)
Other authors:Stephanie Willis (Narrator), MacMillan Audio (Publisher)
Info:Macmillan Audio (2018)
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:murder, New York, High Society, nouveau rich, Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, mining disaters, Schylkill, 1910

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A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks

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It is 1910. Much is going on in the world. Jane Prescott is a maid for the nouveau rich Benchleys. Charlotte, the younger daughter, just nabbed the handsome, old money, Robert Norrie Newsome, Jr. as a fiance, right from under Beatrice Tyler's nose. It was commonly assumed that Beatrice and Norrie would be married, so Charlotte's betrothal caused quite a stir.

The Newsomes were going to announce the engagement at their annual Christmas party but unfortunately Norrie was found bludgeoned to death in the home library. The possibilities of murderer are many. Charlotte and Beatrice? Anarchists--the Newsomes owned mines in which disasters occurred.

As a journalist is closing in on accusing Charlotte of the murder, Jane feels she must do what she can to help learn the truth, even if it means working with a scandal monger journalist.

Fredericks does a great job of describing early 1900s Manhattan and society, as well as bringing in the differences between the classes. Jane is a wonderful character. The setting and pace are great. This book is great for teens and adults. One of 2018's best books. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Apr 16, 2018 |
4.5 stars

I really enjoyed A Death of No Importance. Set in New York City in the early part of the 1900’s, the book follows Jane Prescott, a lady’s maid to a wealthy family trying to ingratiate themselves into New York City high society. Her mistress, Charlotte Benchley, claims she is engaged to a wealthy and sought after bachelor who is subsequently murdered on the night that Charlotte believes their engagement will be announced. Jane works with an enterprising reporter, Michael Behan, to solve the murder.

My favorite part of the book was Mariah Fredericks’ attention to detail with respect to both the characters and the setting. New York City comes alive as do the characters; Fredericks clearly did her research, and her efforts pay off significantly. My one small caveat is that the cover is terrible. Had I not had someone recommend this book to me, I would never have picked it up.

I highly recommend this entertaining read and hope there will be another book starring Jane Prescott. ( )
  cburnett5 | Apr 13, 2018 |
This is a great period mystery told by lady's maid Jane Prescott. She is the one who does the investigation into a murder. The story flowed and the characters were well developed. The reader also learns a bit about the behind the scenes life in a wealthy household.
There was a line from Jane that said she had more stories to tell. I'm hoping that it's the author's way of telling us there may be another book in the works. ( )
  bah195 | Mar 16, 2018 |
Jane Prescott has decided to write about the events that happened on Christmas Eve 1910 now that all of the relevant players have passed away. Jane was a lady's maid who worked for a newly rich family in New York City. She was hired to guide the daughters - Charlotte and Louise - as they took part in the annual husband hunt. Charlotte was the younger sister but was the one who attracted the men. She was pretty, bubbly, and very socially ambitious. Louise was awkward and shy but had a developing social conscience.

Charlotte manipulates her way into becoming engaged to Norrie Newsome, scion of a high class New York family but not a nice person. Their engagement is to be announced at the Christmas Eve ball hosted by Norrie's father and his new step-mother Rose who was a student with Louise at a prestigious girls' school. However, before the engagement can be announced, Norrie is found murdered in the family library.

Jane begins her investigation when it looks like Charlotte might be accused of the murder. After all, Charlotte railroaded Norrie into the engagement. She cut out the young lady "everyone" knew was his intended fiance and who isn't going away gracefully. Also, the senior Newsome has run afoul of anarchists since he owns a mine where more than 100 miners included eight boy under the age of 10 died in an accident. The company didn't attempt to rescue the boys because they thought it would be too dangerous. He has been receiving threatening notes vowing revenge. Jane's best friend has ties to the anarchists and to newly forming unions and Jane fears that she was somehow involved.

Jane herself was abandoned by her father on arrival in New York from Scotland when she was a small child. She was raised by her uncle who was a minister who ran a home for fallen women. She feels loyalty to the people she works for and has a unique perspective because her position makes her almost invisible to her employers.

I liked the way the story illustrates a turbulent time in US history with the rich desperately holding on to their power as it is being eroded by the rising working class. I liked that Jane figured out who committed the murder and what she decided to do about it. I am really curious about Jane's life between the events of 1910 and the time she wrote her memoirs sometime around 1980. She has a very distinct voice and sensibility. ( )
  kmartin802 | Feb 25, 2018 |
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