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Murder at Bertram's Bower

Author: Peale, Cynthia Set In . . .
 North America, USA, Massachusetts, Boston
Genre: Historical Novel
Time Frame: 1800s
Published: 2001
Description: The brutal deaths of two young women raise some shocking questions about saints, sinners, and the power of prejudice in Cynthia Peale's second intriguing mystery set in Victorian Boston.

Agatha Montgomery, the proprietress and guiding spirit of Bertram's Bower, a home for "fallen women," is considered a saint by all who know her. Agatha's brother, the Reverend Randolph Montgomery, supports the home by lending his considerable reputation and fund-raising abilities to his sister's efforts. But when two residents of Bertram's Bower are brutally murdered on successive nights, it will take more than saintly reputations to save the Bower from scandal.

Agatha's childhood friend Caroline Ames gamely steps in, convincing her brother Addington to conduct an unofficial investigation. There are suspects aplenty: the cocky young typewriter salesman whose advances were rebuffed by the first victim; the young Irish lad-of-all-trades seen "having words" with the second; and even the Bower's Matron, who seems to hate the girls as much as she hates all men. The case becomes even more complicated when disturbing rumors begin to circulate about the reverend and, worse, word gets out that the infamous Jack the Ripper may have escaped to America.

As a wave of fear engulfs the city, Caroline and Addington come face-to-face with the deep-seated prejudices of Boston's upper class against the growing Irish population--a prejudice that may destroy the life of an innocent young man and puts the amateur sleuths themselves in mortal danger. With the talent for re-creating the atmosphere of Victorian Boston that she displayed in The Death of Colonel Mann, Cynthia Peale once again weaves an irresistible tale of passion, scandal--and murder.
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