cover image A Death of No Importance

A Death of No Importance

Mariah Fredericks. Minotaur, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-15297-8

YA author Fredericks (Season of the Witch) makes her adult debut with a sparkling mystery set in 1910 Manhattan. Lady’s maid Jane Prescott works for the Benchleys, who have the money but not the sophistication to be part of elite society. When the Benchleys’ daughter Charlotte falls for Robert “Norrie” Newsome, the playboy heir to a mining fortune, drama ensues. At the Christmas Eve ball Norrie’s parents reluctantly hold to announce his engagement to Charlotte, he’s found dead, his eyes gouged out. Charlotte, the young woman Norrie jilted when he took up with her, and their families all have motives, as do local anarchists with a history of violent protest and the families of those killed in a recent Newsome mine disaster. Concerned for her employers, Jane looks into the murder with help from an attractive reporter and a chemist knowledgeable about emerging forensic techniques. The novel’s voice, plotting, pace, characterization, and historical background are all expertly crafted, while the resolution—which feels both surprising and convincing—will leave readers hungry for more. [em]Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary. (Apr.) [/em]