Still Life with Murder

Still Life with MurderI was not entertained I wanted it to be over.If you like murder mysteries with the feel of a jigsaw puzzle, then you might like this I was not drawn to the characters or the events Part of the time I was angry at the accused guy for not defending himself or saying anything to anyone that could help him It s like he wanted to hang for murder There is a surprise at the end which should appeal to some.Viola is in a wheelchair Her son is accused of murder She asks Nell to take messages to her son and investigate the murder I enjoyed the first part of the story where Nell meets Viola and becomes her employee But after that, it turned into typical mystery conversations and eventual discovery of the truth I was impatient and trying to read fast.Some of the subject matter was depressing Two men were prisoners in Andersonville, Georgia, one of the worst prisons in history no food, no water, guards killed prisoners for fun The story takes place shortly after the civil war, but there are descriptions of things from Andersonville.This is the first book in the Nell Sweeney Mystery series I preferred two other books by this author Pure and Simple is mystery with romance Hale s Point is romance.DATA Narrative mode 3rd person Kindle count length 5,403 324 pages Swearing language moderate, including religious swear words Sexual content none, other than mentioning prostitutes with men Setting 1864 and 1868 Massachusetts Copyright 2003 Genre mystery. I have a REAL soft spot for historical mystery series, especially with a good romance subplot see Deanna Raybourn for my fave I picked up several 1s in some series, and this one was one of the most enjoyable of the batch.It s set in the post Civil War US, which I thought was interesting and non standard It s a BIT perplexing in that there are some modern sensibilities that don t feel 100% organic to the time, but I overlooked it because there were some fun characters and settings I really liked the lead character Nell, I enjoyed the family conflict, and even though I was one step ahead of the mystery, the research of the period really drew me through the book Quite enjoyed it, and will be reading the next one An Alternate Cover Edition Can Be Found HereBook Of PB Ryan S Bestselling Historical Mystery Series Featuring Boston Governess Nell Sweeney And Opium Smoking Former Battle Surgeon Will Hewitt Long Thought To Have Died During The Civil War, Will Is Arrested For Murder, And It S Up To Nell To Prove His Innocence This was a really good book, well written and descriptive of a time I don t often read about, 1860s Boston Nell is a girl with a past, who is hired to become governess to an adopted baby in a wealthy home The only thing her employer knows about her is that she was employed as a nurse of sorts and has a good head on her shoulders Three years later as Nell sets about to help her employer free a son of murder charges, Nell s past transgressions, now known only to Nell, are slowly revealed to the reader Her past and personality make her just a delightful character, a surprise to us around every corner with many tricks up her sleeves I look forward to reading by this author. Still Life with Murder4 StarsThree years after the end of the Civil War, Nell Sweeney, a young woman born into poverty, finds her way into the home of the Hewitts, a wealthy Bostonian family When William Hewitt, a former military surgeon and black sheep of the family, is accused of murder, his mother and Nell s benefactor, begs the young governess to help her eldest child To uncover the truth, Nell must delve deep into Boston s dark and dangerous underbelly, but the greatest threat might just come from the enigmatic William himself.Interesting historical setting, especially the details about Andersonville prison during the Civil War and in its aftermath The heroine is also very appealing, but the mystery is on the predictable side.Nell is a spirited yet practical heroine and there are just enough hints about her murky past to make her particularly intriguing William is similarly ambiguous He has obviously been traumatized by his experiences during the war, but there is also something fundamentally dark and ominous about him.The mystery is pretty straightforward and it is possible to guess the identity of the culprit quite easily Nevertheless, it is fun to follow along as Nell investigates, although she does get into some rather unrealistic situations that require a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief Some of the other twists and turns to do with the various characters are also obvious, but compelling enough to continue with the series.All in all, a promising start to an interesting series. NOTE This is definitely not cozy mystery and I ve seen people shelf this series as such Just a piece of warning because there is nothing cozy about this It is a dark historical tale with mystery elements and zero romance at least in the first book Some of the possible triggers are opium addiction, prostitution, abuse, PTSD after the American Civil War , depictions of horrors from Andersonville Prison, the corruption etc.With that being said, I still loved the story I was immediately drawn in by the storytelling and characters This is far from any historical romance and cozy mystery because it depicts the real horrors of the 19th century America and the consequences of the Civil War And most importantly nobody was able to escape it, both the rich and poor ended up as victims.Nell Sweeney is a poor governess with a tragic past who wants to lead a normal quiet life but ends up solving the mystery around her employers son William Hewitts It is obvious at the end that William will become a potential romantic candidate, but during the novel they are like colleagues turning into friends To be honest, I really loved William as a hero, because he managed to stay a good man even though he s been through shit and survived somehow Nell was okay ish, her martyr and always good and forgiving attitude annoyed me hence one star minus in the rating Both she and William reminded me of Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane from Silent in the Grave William is the same Byronic hero with a tragic past and mysterious present it is obvious that his story will be told in layers and he will pop out now and there to spice up the story However, Still Life with Murder is much darker and the characters are flawed aka realistic.It seems to me that P.B Ryan is better at developing characters than Deanna Raybourn and I m glad for that 4 5 great mystery, interesting and developed characters with enough historical background to keep it realistic and intense, recommended to the fans of dark historical mysteries. A typical murder mystery set in post Civil War Boston, with the protagonist being a young woman, Nell Sweeney, with a less than respectable past who becomes a governess in a wealthy family The book had all the right elements to be a great story, but totally fell down in my eyes The author spent pages and pages describing the technical aspects of how a man smoked opium I really didn t need all that detail the rich woman Nell worked for did things getting drunk, blabbering her family secrets to an employee that just seemed quite unlikely given the timeframe when the story is set and Nell convinced an investigator to let her tag along as he interviewed witnesses all this in the 1860 s when women were expected to be shielded from unsavory characters and to swoon if a bad word were uttered in their presence I don t think so I enjoyed the book when I used my speed reading skills so I didn t get into all the details that just didn t mesh with the setting I was disappointed in the writing, or perhaps it s the editing that was lacking So much of the dialog was He said, she said, then he said, then she said I was shocked when I saw just now that the book has so many high ratings So perhaps it s just me, but I don t think it deserves high marks at all. I love a good historical mystery with romantic elements It s pretty high on my list of favorite genres to read In Still Life With Murder it s setting is Boston, MA just after the end of the Civil War Typically the American Civil War is not one of my favorite time periods to read about but I had read some good reviews of the series and wanted to give it a try The mystery wasn t so much a traditional whodunit but the protagonist trying to get a man accused of murder away from the hangman s noose The characters were layered and the time period and setting felt well researched and described There is a building relationship by the end of the book between the two characters but it s only barely breaking the surface so expect a very slow burn to grow throughout the series If historical mysteries with female protagonists are something you like or would like to try this is worth checking out. Review written June 3, 20164 1 2 Stars A wonderful audiobook gem Still Life With Murder is the first book in the historical mystery serial, Nell Sweeney Mysteries with five books so far I had hopes for a good series start They are all fully met I listened to the 2 WSfV audiobook incl a freebie kindle 9 45 hours very well narrated by Leigh Ryan Boston 1868 Young Irish immigrant Nell Sweeney is governess for the adopted daughter of wealthy Bostonians Viola and August Hewitt Nell has become a favorite confidant of Viola The pair had four grown sons, the eldest two thought to have died in Andersonville during the Civil War I don t want to reveal too much about the plot I liked to be surprised than once and I honestly wasn t sure until the very end Some of the stories in this story truly touched me and I felt both the grieving horror from their old memories and those sweet moments here and now.So, if you like a good thoughtout historical mystery, a whodunnit with a bit of flair, a tiny splash of light romance, a wise and courageous young curious heroine, as well as some social realism the horrors of the civil war, the nasty prisoner camp, the problems with abuse of drugs and general living poverty 150 years ago then you might like this book as much as me Add a perfect narrator in Ms Ryan the author Still Life With Murder gets a big loud applause from me I am generous this beautiful early summer evening and rounds up to five brilliant stars I will absolutely continue this series I LIKE everything about this audiobookLearn about Andersonville Prison Camp, Georgia during the American Civil War, where 13.000 of 45.000 men died, here click Wikipedia I often read romances but this is not a romance with a HEA or steamy love scenes This book is a traditional whodunnit mystery with some light romantic elements. 3.25 would have been a solid four star had it not been for the seriously slow start along with those with tedious descriptions of imbibing opium and its after effects In hindsight I realise that the author was setting stage for the forthcoming sequels, which am definitely going to check out at the earliest.

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  • Kindle Edition
  • 320 pages
  • Still Life with Murder
  • P.B. Ryan
  • English
  • 21 June 2019

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