Death At The Falls

A Gilded Age Mystery Book 7

Rosemary Simpson

Kensington Books

Nov 29th, 2022

Death at the Falls by Rosemary Simpson is an historical mystery that brings to life the Gilded Age.  This time the main characters, Prudence MacKenzie and ex-Pinkerton Geoffrey Hunter, travel to Niagara Falls for a dangerous assignment.

I have been there twice.  I wanted to take Geoffrey and Prudence out of New York City.  I gave the characters the feelings I had of the mist in the air, leaning on the railings, with a titillating “what if.” It was a very famous vacation spot especially for celebrities. The Falls was making a transition from a touristy place to a center of hydroelectricity. It has always attracted oddities including those who wanted to be the first person to go over the Falls. This is where Crazy Louie came from.”

The mystery has a seventeen-year-old woman, Rowan Adderly, due to inherit millions when she turns eighteen.  Her father and mother disappeared seven years ago but before he went missing put valuable newly purchased land into a trust for Rowan.  The problem is that her grandmother, Myra, attempts to block the inheritance, claiming the girl’s mother was promiscuous and she’s another man’s child. Myra falsified documents and has threatened the lives of those close to Rowan, intending to prove her son and the mother of Rowan were never married.

Rowen’s life was like Cinderella. “Yes, she was, even though that image did not pop into my mind, the mean grandmother replaced the mean stepmom.  When I wrote this book and needed a character to center the attempted fraud, I thought of a young Irish soprano singing Irish ballads that I heard. She is composed, intelligent, too trusting, and feels she does not belong.” 

Newly minted lawyer Prudence and her partner Geoffrey are more private investigative agents then lawyers. They have been asked by Prudence’s Aunt Lady Rotherton to help her friend Lady Ernestine Hamilton who wants to protect Rowen. During their investigation, they try to connect the dots when a barrel sent over the Falls supposedly containing a sheep has a dead man inside, the corpse of a surveyor’s assistant who suspected collusion between corrupt government officials and those seeking profits from Niagara land. As Prudence and Geoffrey dig deeper into the region’s undercurrent of opportunistic greed, their investigation is impeded at every turn by murder and attempted murder. They will have to work quickly to solve a convoluted case before a determined killer sends one of them on a fatal plunge. Needing more help, they call their team to Niagara to help in the investigation. Amos Lang working undercover is tasked to sidle up to Crazy Louie to see if he was behind the assistant surveyor’s death. Josiah Gregory is in his element, acting as a cataloguer/archivist at the Hamilton estate, whose job is to find the records that Myra wants hidden. 

Historical descriptions of Niagara Falls are a treat. A book quote explains, “Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in America, established in 1885,” it’s like the wild, wild west. As they say, “There’s gold in them thar hills,” which translates to prescient folks realizing that harnessing the power of the awesome Falls will fuel hydro-electric plants.” Crazy Louie represents all those who went over the Falls in a barrel, trying to build barrels, hoping to become the first human to traverse Niagara Falls successfully.

The mystery was riveting with twists and turns. The characters and story were believable. The descriptions and historical events described in the book are very captivating that anyone who has not traveled there should want to go.



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.