Friday, 9 September 2016

Union Street Boarding House: An Edwardian Mystery - Jamie Michele

Union Street Boarding House: An Edwardian Mystery
Jamie Michele 

Once a fine debutant, Mrs. Peterson capsized her own life with an unsanctioned marriage, tossing her adrift from the vaulted ceilings and expansive drawing rooms of her youth. When widowhood brings her back to Pittsburgh, she stays afloat with the running of a respectable Union Street boarding house.

Deep in water, mire, and a mystery.

A famous boarder has gone missing during the flood of 1907, and all clues point to murder. A half heard conversation, a broken knife, cut rope, a missing Onyx clock, and blood that can’t be explained. Mrs. Peterson fears the truth, yet as the waters rise, they dredge up her past, challenge her present, and force her to consider a new future.

An unlikely pair.

Mr. Graham rows in at precisely the right moment; an older, dabbling detective with a pragmatic approach to everything he does. The two join forces and, despite a string of hilarious mishaps, commit themselves to a common goal: To solve the mystery of Anna Baker.

Set during the Pittsburgh flood of 1907, Union Street Boarding House: An Edwardian Mystery is a reworking of the 1913 novel The Case of Jennie Brice by Mary Roberts Rinehart.

Please Pass The Books Review:

This was a really wonderful, lighthearted, and entertaining read for me on my first two mornings of post-summer solitude (thank you, back to school!). Mrs. Peterson is a supremely lovable and hilarious character. She's an upstanding member of her community, having plummeted to the lower-middle class rungs of Edwardian Pittsburgh society after a marriage that her first-tier family didn't approve of.

The mystery itself involves Anna Baker/Mrs. Lawrence and her husband, and Mrs. Peterson is partnered by the much older Mr. Graham to find out what happened to her boarder. There are clues throughout, and plenty of twists, turns, and laughs to keep the story engaging and fun. The ending is fair and perfectly executed, with no annoying loose ends—and a surprise, to boot.

Cozy mysteries are what I turn to when I don't want to work too hard but still want to be pulled in. Union Street Boarding House ticked all the boxes for me, bringing to life a time and a setting in US history that I knew very little about. The writing is clean, tight, and engrossing, and the characters are layered and well developed.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a hankerin' to buy a rowboat.

I'd like to thank the publisher, Vintage Volumes, for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which this certainly is.


Jamie Michele is a San Francisco born author who fell in love with a Londoner and promptly moved to England. When not writing, she can usually be found on a picnic blanket in Bath, reading on the lawn out front of the Royal Crescent.

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