cover image What the Dead Leave Behind

What the Dead Leave Behind

Rosemary Simpson. Kensington, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0908-0

The Great Blizzard of March 1888 provides the backdrop for Simpson’s richly plotted series launch set in Gilded Age Manhattan. Wealthy 19-year-old Prudence MacKenzie is stunned by the death of her father, judge Thomas MacKenzie, who trained her in logic and deduction after her mother’s early demise. Three months after her father’s funeral, she anxiously scans Fifth Avenue for signs of her fiancé, Charles Linwood, amid the massive snowstorm paralyzing the city. Instead, he’s counted among those who perished in the blizzard, despite an unlikely wound and the playing card clutched in his hand. Under her father’s will, Charles’s death puts Prudence and her inheritance under the control of her malicious young stepmother, Victoria. With Charles’s friend, former Pinkerton agent Geoffrey Hunter, Prudence investigates Victoria’s checkered past, seeking information she hopes will free her from her stepmother. Simpson (Dreams and Shadows) anchors an appealing detective duo in a colorful and well-researched depiction of period settings and personalities. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds Literary Agency. (May)