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Deception on Sable Hill

Deception on Sable Hill

4.9 28
by Shelley Gray

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The World’s Fair has introduced many new ideas to Chicago society—but can two individuals from very different backgrounds find love together?

It’s mid-September 1893 and Eloisa Carstairs is the reigning debutant of Gilded Age Chicago society. To outsiders she appears to have it all. But Eloisa is living with a dark secret.


The World’s Fair has introduced many new ideas to Chicago society—but can two individuals from very different backgrounds find love together?

It’s mid-September 1893 and Eloisa Carstairs is the reigning debutant of Gilded Age Chicago society. To outsiders she appears to have it all. But Eloisa is living with a dark secret. Several months ago, she endured a horrible assault at the hands of Douglass Sloane, heir to one of Chicago’s wealthiest families. Fearing the loss of her reputation, Eloisa confided in only one friend. That is, until she meets Detective Sean Ryan at a high-society ball.

Sean is on the fringes of the Chicago elite. Born into a poor Irish family, becoming a policeman was his best chance to ensure security. Despite social boundaries, he is enamored with Eloisa Carstairs. Sean will do anything to keep her safe—even if he can never earn her affections.

Eloisa longs to feel normal again, but a killer is on the loose. In the last month, three debutants have been accosted by an assailant wielding a knife, and Eloisa fears for her safety at every event she attends. As the danger in the city increases, and as the romance between Eloisa and Sean blossoms, they both realize they want to be seen as more than how the world views them. But will they catch the killer before all their hopes come crashing down?

Editorial Reviews

RT Book Reviews
“Full of vivid descriptions and beautiful prose, Gray has a way of making readers feel like they are actually in Chicago during the World’s Fair. … the mystery surrounding the ‘Slasher’ keeps the reader engaged throughout.” --- 4 star review
Library Journal
Eloisa Carstairs is a beautiful and desirable young woman with a terrible secret. Although she moves in Gilded Age Chicago's high society, she eschews male attention, scarred by her recent trauma. That is, until she meets handsome Det. Sean Ryan. Their mutual attraction is instant, but their unequal social standing is an obstacle. However, Eloisa soon confides in Ryan about the assault she endured, and he swears to protect her at all costs. His faith in Jesus and the power of prayer strikes a chord in Eloisa, but a serial killer targeting society women puts their romance on hold. VERDICT Fans of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City will note that Gray's (Secrets of Sloane House) suspenseful historical draws on the same case of the serial killer who preyed on young women during the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. The author also evokes the hierarchical social lines and the difficulties of relationships among different classes. Still, love blooms in the most unlikely hearts. A wise choice for readers who enjoy their historicals with a thrilling touch of suspense and romance.

Product Details

Publication date:
The Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Read an Excerpt

Deception on Sable Hill

By Shelley Gray


Copyright © 2015 Shelley Gray
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-33850-5



Don't keep me in the dark for another second, Eloisa," Quentin Gardner teased as they waltzed across the gleaming parquet floor of his family's crowded ballroom. "Where have you been? No one has seen you in what seems like ages. You've missed quite a few of the events around the fair."

"I've been the same places you have," she replied, taking care to keep her voice light and steady. "Though to be honest, it would be a wonder if you were able to spy me among this year's debutantes clamoring for your attention."

He chuckled. "I've hardly been that in demand."

"The Tribune did just list you as one of society's most eligible bachelors."

She raised an eyebrow, half expecting him to act surprised. Quentin enjoyed pretending he was above such things as the society pages.

He didn't deny the article. Instead, his cheeks flushed. "I was only on that list because of my family's money."

"And perhaps your good looks too." She tapped his shoulder lightly with her gloved hand. "I've been told that blue eyes and coal-black hair are an irresistible combination."

"You and I both know that article was mere gossip."

"One that has a shred of truth, though."

"Even if I was surrounded by a bevy of young ladies—which I most definitely was not—I would have noticed if you were in our midst. You have not been out, Miss Carstairs."

With effort she kept her expression impassive. "You sound so sure about that."

"That's because I am."

Just as she was formulating a reply, Quentin twirled her around. Then, as she chuckled at his exuberance, he eased her a bit closer. "I've missed your company, Eloisa. What made you decide to suddenly be so elusive?"

She had a very good reason. A very good reason that only a handful of people knew about. It was imperative that she keep it that way.

As she felt his warm breath brush against her neck, her unease returned. Pressing on his shoulder, she attempted to regain some space between them. "Quentin, there's no need to hold me so close."

Something flashed in his eyes before they filled with hurt. Anger? Frustration?

"I'm not doing anything inappropriate. I simply want to talk to you without having to raise my voice."

She tried to pull away again, but his arm around her waist was very strong. "The way you are holding me is rather improper."

"Hardly that. Besides, I can promise that no one is paying the slightest attention to us. It's a veritable crush here. I think my mother's guest list included every dignitary associated with the fair."

He was, of course, talking about the fair to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America, the World's Columbian Exposition. Though some were still scratching their heads, wondering about the need to celebrate such a thing in such a grand fashion, no one could deny that the World's Fair of 1893 had certainly made Chicago feel as if it were the center of the universe.

The excitement surrounding the fair had been exhilarating, wondrous—and exhausting. Every dignitary and society matron had used the event as an excuse to hold a soiree, dinner party, gala, or ball. And because her mother was intent on Eloisa marrying well, she'd encouraged her daughter to attend as many events as she could.

The only excuse she would hear of for Eloisa to decline was a migraine headache. Therefore, Eloisa had made sure she'd had as many such headaches as possible.

When Quentin twirled her again, Eloisa tried to relax. Tried to remind herself he was doing nothing but dancing with her—in plain sight of everyone. "Soon all the visitors will go back to their homes and Chicago will seem almost empty."

"Yes, the fairgrounds will close on All Hallow's Eve, you know."

"I'll be glad when it's over."

Quentin nodded. "As will I. Our city feels filled to the brim with miscreants and vagabonds." Tilting his head back so their eyes met, he added, "I know how independent you are. I hope you are taking care when you go out. It's no longer safe for young ladies to go anywhere unescorted."

"It hasn't been for some time."

Regret filled his clear blue eyes. "Forgive me for frightening you. I imagine you're still reeling over the news about Douglass Sloane's death. It has been only two weeks."

She nearly stumbled. "Yes. His death has been something of a shock. I can still hardly believe the news is true."

"I'm still trying to figure out why he decided to go boating in September. It isn't quite the thing, you know. He was never one I would call a friend, but still ... drowning in Lake Michigan? That's a terrible way to go."

Hardly able to even think about Douglass, she nodded and prayed for their dance to be over soon. Or, at the very least, for Quentin to change the subject.

And as if on cue, he did just that. "Now, of course we have even more to worry about, what with the recent string of attacks on women of substance."

"Indeed. It, uh, is a wonder any of us ever leaves the house."

"How many women have been attacked with a stiletto knife now?"

"I don't recall," she lied. However, she knew the number as well as she knew the number of faint scars on her own body. Three. Three acquaintances of hers had found themselves at the mercy of a crazed madman intent on ruining their looks.

"You're looking pale, dear. Forgive me. I'm not usually such a clumsy conversationalist."

"I am perfectly fine." She attempted to smile while peeking over Quentin's shoulder at the orchestra. Would this waltz never end? When it did, if the friends who accompanied her were ready to leave as well, she could quietly make her escape with them and return to the sanctity of her bedroom at home on Sable Hill. Leaving it had been a mistake.

The faint wrinkle that had been marring Quentin's perfect features smoothed. "Please don't be concerned about your safety, dear Eloisa. I'll look after you. This Slasher cannot get to you here."

"That is very kind, but people will talk if I monopolize all of your attention."

He laughed. "I don't care. Actually, my mother would practically start crowing if everyone believed you and I had formed an alliance. I might be this week's most eligible bachelor, but you, Eloisa, have been the focus of every man's attention between the age of eighteen and eighty since you made your debut two years ago."

"You flatter me."

"It's the truth. You are the object of many a man's attentions. Believe me, I've heard."

She shuddered. "Your observation doesn't make me feel any safer."

"How about this, then? My father hired two off-duty policemen to keep watch over tonight's event. I promise, all evening you've been closely guarded—though I would have preferred that they had stayed outside."

"Truly?" She looked around the room.

"Yes. They're right here with us. In the ballroom. One is Detective Owen Howard. You know Owen, of course."

She relaxed. "Of course. Though he is several years older than I am, I've known him for ages." Just like the rest of them had. Though everyone in their circle stayed the same, only growing older year after year, Owen was the exception. He'd reinvented himself, deciding to join the force when most men in their world elected to spend their days in far less demanding pursuits. Owen's decision made her admire him all the more.

"He is a good man, to be sure, though I have to admit to still being somewhat shocked by his chosen profession. He could have done much better."

"Perhaps he enjoys the work?"

"That would be doubtful. His father, after all, is a banker."

"Perhaps banking isn't for everyone."

"Well, he is a third son. With no chance of inheriting much, I understand why he might elect to go into the police business." After a pause, his tone turned haughty. "It's his partner who looks a bit more ... swarthy. His name is Sean Ryan."

"Sounds Irish."

"Trust me, he's as Irish as a four-leaf clover. He has also been lurking about in an ill-fitting tuxedo. I don't know if the poor fit is from an inferior tailor, a weapon, or the fact that he likely borrowed it from some unfortunate soul."

As Quentin guided her across the marble floor, she scanned the crowd. "I don't see him."

"You will. I promise, once you start looking, you won't miss him. He sticks out like a sore thumb! However, Owen has vouched for his character, which is the only reason my parents allowed him to be in our midst." He leaned closer to drawl into her ear. "So don't worry about a thing, Eloisa. As long as they're here, everything is going to be just fine. As far as I'm concerned, they're worth every penny of their exorbitant fee. If they keep you safe, it will be money well spent."

It took a lot of effort to pretend she believed him. But what Quentin didn't realize was that it wasn't only the threat of being attacked by a stranger that frightened her.

It was the knowledge that much worse than a threat could happen with someone she knew.

* * *

"You're staring again," Owen Howard blurted as he reached Sean's side. "If you're not careful, someone besides me is going to notice."

"I'm merely scanning the area," Sean lied. Only through careful effort was he able to refrain from flushing. "There are a lot of people here, you know. Hundreds."

"Yes, but only one Eloisa Carstairs."

"I'm sure I don't know to whom you are referring."

"Of course you do," Owen countered with a wink. "But don't be embarrassed, chap. You aren't doing anything the rest of us haven't done a time or two. Or ten. Eloisa is pure golden-haired perfection. Angelic even."

Sean raised his eyebrows at the descriptor. At times like these he truly wondered why Owen had elected to join the police force. Though he wasn't quite as high in the instep as the majority of the gentlemen and ladies in attendance, he was certainly far and above Sean's social standing.

In addition, Sean was fairly certain if he, like Owen, had made such a social stumble like joining the police force, he certainly wouldn't be showing up at society functions like this. It seemed an odd choice.

Sean, however, was making a small fortune for Hope House this evening. That was what he needed to focus on. His fee would cover the expenses of the women and children who lived there for almost a month. That was reason alone to be standing around in an ill-fitting, borrowed tuxedo, attempting to look vigilant.

"Ready to split up again?" Sean asked. "I'll check the balconies and alcoves while you check the perimeter grounds."

Owen pulled out his silver timepiece. "That suits me fine. Meet back here in an hour?"

As the set ended and the men escorted their partners off the dance floor, Sean watched Owen walk in the direction of the balcony and the outdoor steps that led down to the patio and garden. The patio was decorated with a flurry of white candles.

Then, unable to help himself, he looked for her pale lace gown the color of spring grass. He exhaled as he saw Eloisa being escorted off the floor and toward one of the private rooms off to the side. She was in Quentin Gardner's company, which was reason enough for Sean to pretend he didn't see her. Quentin's father was not only paying his fee, the family was also believed to be above reproach. In short, Quentin was everything Sean was not. He was exactly the type of gentleman Eloisa should be near.

But then Sean noticed her expression had become strained, and she seemed to be trying to pull her arm from Quentin's grip. Her eyes were darting around the room, as if she were looking for anyone to give her assistance.

He stilled and stared at her hard, not caring if his attention was garnering notice.

He knew the exact moment she recognized him—from when they had previously met or merely a fish-out-of-water policeman, he didn't know. He didn't care. Her lips parted. Her pleading look told him everything he needed to know.

It didn't matter who she was or whom she was with. Eloisa Carstairs was looking to him for help.

And he would do almost anything to go to her assistance.


Only with the greatest effort was Eloisa able to keep from crying out. "Quentin, where are you taking me?"

"Nowhere special. Only to one of my mother's quiet seating areas." He stopped in front of a pair of ornately carved chairs framed by heavy velvet curtains. "I never understood why she'd been so intent on designing the perfect alcove. Now I have a very good idea. We'll be able to rest here as long as we like without being disturbed."

When she saw him start to pull the drapery closed, she pulled free from his firm grip at last and stepped away. "I'd rather not sit here."

"Why? I assure you it's nothing no one here hasn't done a time or two." He grinned, but that grin slowly faded as he stared at her intently. "Eloisa? Dearest, you're deathly pale." He reached for her gloved hand and tugged her toward the chairs. "Sit down. Relax. You look as if you're about to faint."

Fearing he was correct, she sat. However, she was very far from relaxing. That same old fear gripped her as she scanned the area. Hoping for someone to come upon them soon. Praying for help. Perhaps the man whose eyes had just met hers.

"D-don't pull the curtains shut. Please."

Immediately, he pushed them back against the wall. As she tried to catch her breath, he knelt at her feet. "Shall I get you a glass of water? Lemonade?"

"I-I don't know."

Concern crossed his face as he picked up one of her gloved hands. "Why not?"

She didn't have an answer for that. Her mouth went dry as she attempted to think of something to say. Of any excuse to explain her skittishness.

But nothing was coming to mind.

Suddenly, the man in the ill-fitting tuxedo—the one who must indeed be Mr. Ryan—appeared. "Miss Carstairs, are you all right?"

Quentin scowled as he got to his feet. "Detective, be off. This is a private conversation."

After looking at her for a long moment, the detective turned to Quentin and replied, "I beg your pardon, sir, but your father was asking for you. I told him I'd find you."

"What did he want?"

"I couldn't say, sir. Only that I told him I'd convey his message." Looking then directly at her, Detective Ryan said, "Sir, it appears Miss Carstairs has gotten overheated. Since you are needed elsewhere, I'll escort her outside."

Quentin eyed him with a decidedly haughty glare. "Detective, you seem to be mistaken about your assigned duties here. My father hired you to make sure the women are safe here, not to interfere in my business."

"I understand exactly what my duties are. Sir." To Eloisa's surprise, the detective didn't look cowed in the slightest. Instead, he looked relaxed, almost at ease. But his eyes never left hers. "Miss Carstairs, would you care to take a breath of fresh air?"

Feeling both men's gazes, Eloisa knew there was only one real choice. The proper, correct thing to do would be to stay with Quentin. She'd known him for years, he was hosting the party, and nothing would make her parents happier than for her to spend time with him.

If she left with the detective, eyebrows would be raised and questions would be asked.

However, she had recently learned that the best decision wasn't always the obvious one. She had also learned that feeling safe was something not to be taken for granted.

Therefore, she stood as gracefully as she could on unsteady feet. "Thank you so much, Detective. I would enjoy taking a turn outside, especially since Quentin has been called away."

Quentin edged forward, just as if he feared she would actually make a social faux pas and take the policeman's arm. "Eloisa, I will escort you wherever you wish."

She inched closer to the detective. "Please don't trouble yourself."

"It would be no trouble." His speech was clipped, his tone hard.

Almost frightening.

With effort she kept her smile in place. "But I would feel terrible if I monopolized your company, especially since your father summoned you." Before Quentin could say another word, she turned to Detective Ryan. "Are you sure you don't mind escorting me out to one of the balconies? I really am in need of some fresh air."

"I don't mind at all."

Then, before Quentin could protest again, she wrapped a hand around the policeman's forearm as he led the way out of the alcove.

Quentin was most likely sputtering behind them, but she didn't care. All that mattered was that she felt safe with this man. And, with luck, he would even find a way for her to get home before she burst into tears.

When they were halfway to the balcony doors, the detective looked down at her. "By the way, my name is Lieutenant Detective Sean Ryan, miss. We've met before."

Though she had already recognized him, his words brought back a rush of memories she had tried very hard to forget. "Yes. Um, I remember. The Sloane ... matter. You were one of the officers who asked me questions about the family." Smoothing a faltering smile, she said, "Would you mind terribly if I acted like I know you better than I do? I don't want anyone to suspect that we're not acquainted."


Excerpted from Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray. Copyright © 2015 Shelley Gray. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio. Visit her website at www.shelleyshepardgray.com Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray Twitter: @ShelleySGray

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Deception on Sable Hill 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
inkwellreviews 7 days ago
Review from inkwellreviews.com (Christian book review site) After reading Secrets of Sloane House I was really looking forward to reading the second one in the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series.  This book definitely exceeded my expectations. If you read the first one, you will be familiar with the character Eloisa Carstairs. I think this helped tremendously with the character development of her in this book.  The characters were also very life-like and relatable.  Sometimes it’s frustrating to read about a young lady who is perfect, flawless, because no one would ever measure up to that expectation.   Also, behind good character development is good writing.  To my knowledge, Shelley Gray is an accomplished and veteran writer and it really showed though in this book.   Similar to the first one in this series, there was little talk or mention of God in this book. By no means did this book have anything inappropriate, but I don’t ever recall Eloisa saying that she was a Christian.  I may be wrong, and if so I do apologize.   I can’t leave out the mystery aspect of this book. It was very well done. With twist and turns this book will leave you breathless until the very last page. Do to some events in this book I would not recommend this book for anyone younger than 15 years of age but perhaps more mature readers.   I enjoyed Secrets of Sloane House, but I loved Deception on Sable Hill. Hope you will too!  
jacksonmomLV More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this middle book in Shelley Gray's series on the Chicago World's Fair. I read them out of order when given the last book first by the publisher, but even that didn't diminish the satisfaction. Had a bit of "Downton Abbey meets the Midwest" feel for me, except this pretty rich girl was an only child, and she fell for an Irish cop, not an Irish chauffeur. Beautiful Eloisa Carstairs is trapped by the expectations of her social standing and doting parents. She is also at risk, like many young women, from the "Society Slasher" who is targeting the cream of Chicago's debutantes. This madman is somehow disfiguring (and eventually, even killing) eligible young women of the upper class. Eloisa's mother comments that such injuries inflicted upon one of her acquaintances are "unfortunate. They'll ruin her chances for an engagement this season." With such a callous comment, Eloisa realizes anew that she can never share her own secret scars - having been raped by Douglass Sloan (who subsequently took his own life), she feels tainted and unworthy of a high-society marriage. But there is someone who knows her secrets and loves her all the more for it - the up and coming young detective, Sean Ryan. He, too, is a social outcast because of his Irish ancestry and working class job, and carries his own particular scars. But this diamond-in-the-rough is steadily being polished by his partner on the police force, gentleman detective Owen Howard. When Owen is suddenly the object of the Slasher's violent hatred, the stakes - and pace - go up a notch. I was drawn to this book by its historical setting and the writing style of Shelley Gray. Neither disappointed, and I also enjoyed a pair of tender, unpredictable romances, and a twist in the plot...just when I thought I knew who the Slasher was! I recommend this book and the whole series to anyone who is interested in the changing social order of the late 19th century. While the culture and prejudices of this time are nothing like our world today, I think you'll find that hearts haven't changed at all.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this mysterious and suspenseful story! The author did a great job of crafting a tale that kept me guessing till the very end. Deception on Sable Hill is book two in the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series. It can definitely stand alone, however, Eloisa Carstairs is the heroine in this novel and is first introduced in book one, Secrets of Sloane House. I would recommend book one because it makes Eloisa’s tale in book two even more meaningful. The cover is very eye catching and adds to the mystery of the story. My husband even commented on what an interesting cover this book has. I definitely agree with him. The story inside is even more interesting. A distinct class system existed back in 1893 Chicago. The way upper crust society viewed the lower classes and vice versa was an integral part of this book. I enjoyed seeing the hero, Detective Sean Ryan, as he had to navigate through that society. It was also interesting to watch as Detective Owen Howard, a man born into society, lived his life as a police officer. There is a central romance and a side romance to follow throughout the book. I really enjoyed watching the development of both of these relationships. Both of them added so much to the story. The mystery and constant threat of danger in The Deception on Sable Hill kept me intrigued from cover to cover. I definitely recommend this to fans of mystery and suspense. I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sadhvi Dash More than 1 year ago
This book is the first of what I have taken from BookLookBloggers.And I didn’t know that it was second in series.So I went wiki and read about the 1st book and started with the 2nd one.And I finished it in 3 hours!-Such a good read! This book-in whole what I felt is that it defines you.And if something had happened in the past or anything,then that doesn’t give you an identity in the future.And that is what you want to know and do.It feels so good and you can relate it,too. The Author,Shelley Gray,is such a deep and good writer.Because I didn’t read the first book completely and yet I was able to catch up with it so beautifully that it became clear what the write wants us to know. I definitely recommend it and it you haven’t read the first book,it’s totally fine because you won’t feel lost. Though,I guess in some parts it did feel a little bit unrealistic,I know it’s fiction,but it still did.And it even goes slow in some part,but still you should continue :) Excited for the 3rd book!
SweetPea_3 More than 1 year ago
This is a light romantic suspense that was a joy to read. I loved this book from beginning to end, the characters and setting really keeping my focus and attention. This is historical fiction with enough detail to put you in the time and place but it doesn't bog down the suspense and action. This is one case where the mysterious circumstances were carried over from the first book - who is slashing, and in some cases murdering, rich young heiresses? The romance is clean, I'm happy to report, and the writer did a fair job of dealing with the fact that they are of different classes That is something that would not have been overlooked at the time and place.  I don't want to give too much away so I'll end here but this is a well written, completely enjoyable historical romance with suspense and romance thrown in the mix. I highly recommend this one for your summer reading list! I received this book from BookLook and Zondervan for the purpose of an honest review. My opinion is my own. Thank you Zondervan!
AnnetteE More than 1 year ago
Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray Normally, this reader does not do mysteries/murders. However, as one of my favorite authors was writing a series, I decided to try the genre. As Always, Shelley Gray delivered her magic and captured my attention! Deception on Sable Hill is set around the World’s Fair in Chicago; two totally different people collide on a pathway that leads to intrigue and mystery. As the plot evolved, I kept getting drawn into their lives. Frankly, I felt that I knew who the “Slasher” was from the beginning, but was fooled. This book, which is part of a series (The Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Series), is worth your time and attention!
Superlibrarian More than 1 year ago
This is the second novel in the "Chicago World's Fair Mystery" series. This series primarily focuses on Miss Eloisa Carstairs who was a character in the first book. At yet another high society gathering she makes the acquaintance of Lieutenant Sean Ryan of the Chicago Police Force. They come from from  two very different worlds but are inexplicably drawn to each other, much to her mother's dismay. Sean is investigating the Society Slasher attacks and murders. Can he keep Eloisa safe from a man with the intention of slashing his victims faces, necks and chests so they are marked forever? We also meet Sean's family including his baby sister Katie who develops a relationship with Sean's partner Owen Howard, a gentleman detective. I enjoyed this novel because it really showed the class distinction that  was all too real at the time of the Chicago's World's Fair. All the characters were very developed and it was fascinating to meet the "real" Eloisa who is so much more than a pretty face. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. I received a copy of this book as part of Shelley Gray's Buggy Bunch but I also purchased another copy.   
Pamela_W More than 1 year ago
Deception on Sable Hill is the second in the Chicago World's Fair Mystery series by Shelly Gray. In this story, set in 1893, Eloisa Carstairs, a debutante of Chicago society, is hiding a terrible secret - several months ago she was assaulted by Douglass Sloane, heir to one of Chicago's wealthiest families. Understandably, Eloisa is reluctant to share her secret, feeling that sharing will result in the loss of her reputation. When she meets Detective Sean Ryan, she wonders if she can trust him with her secret. She fears for her safety as another assailant has begun threatening the lives of Chicago debutantes. Sean seeks to keep Eloisa safe as their relationship begins to blossom. Fans will not be disappointed by the second installment of this fantastic series! I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair review.
Baranski1987 More than 1 year ago
Deception on Sable Hill, By: Shelley Gray, (The Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Series Book 2) This book drew me in like a moth drawn to a flame! Wow, I couldn't get enough of it. So be prepared to take an exciting trip through time to Chicago. I felt like I was part of this story, it was so well written! This is a book that will leave you craving more and more all the way through it. I had such a hard time putting this book down! Lots of twists, turns, suspense and mystery that will leave you guessing right up until the very end. Be sure to get your copy of the outstanding book today! 5 stars!
MIBookLover More than 1 year ago
An amazing historical book with both romance and suspense.  Deception on Sable Hill is the second in the Chicago World’s Fair mystery series.  It was a wonderful follow up to Secrets of Sloane House.  Shelley Gray, once again, weaves a fabulous tale.  It’s September 1893, the World’s Fair is coming to a close, and Eloisa Carstairs is a debutante in Chicago society.  Eloisa is keeping a secret that could drastically change her future.  Sean Ryan, a policeman, meets Eloisa while he is working security at a society ball.  They come from vastly different backgrounds.   While there is a mystery to solve, Eloisa and Sean are falling in love.  They also face another problem, which many don’t think of in today’s world.  They are in total different social classes.  In 1893, social class is a major consideration.  Shelley Gray does an amazing job of painting of picture of the time period.  I loved the dialog and the setting; it was an incredible trip back in time. This suspense in this book will keep you turning the pages.  I can’t wait to read the next in this series when it is released this fall.
stevecSC More than 1 year ago
The much anticipated second book in a Chicago World's Fair Mystery. Mystery, intrigue and romance, this book has it all and is just one more example of why I'm a huge fan of Shelley Gray. The relationship between Eloisa Carstairs and Detective Sean Ryan is multifaceted. There's the attraction, the forbidden aspect of their attraction due to their stations in society and the genuine love between them. This story has subplots that are equally as interesting and very well written. Ms. Gray has an amazing talent for creating characters that you genuinely care about. In this book, she's at her finest with the dialog between the characters, the vivid descriptions of their surroundings and as always she keeps the reader interested from beginning to end and leaves you wanting more.
Robinhb More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. From the first paragraph, I was pulled into this story and when the end came, I wasn't ready. The World's Fair as the backdrop, the Irish, and a mystery.... What a combination. As the story flowed, I really thought I knew who did it. Didn't see that coming. Well written, excellent historical information, and super characters makes for one fine read. I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair review. I highly recommend this book.
ChasRay0 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVE this series by Shelley Gray! I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book and devoured it immediately. This is the 2nd book in the Chicago World's Fair Mystery series. It picks up with Elosia Carstairs and how she is coping with what happened to her in the first book. Along comes Detective Sean Ryan. I found myself hating him at first. He kinda reminded me of Eyeore or Charlie Brown. "Woe is me. We are from different classes so we can't be friends. etc" Then I remembered, this was set in 1893 and people did put a ton of emphasis on class. Once I reconciled that, I found my self championing Ryan and his efforts to be Miss Carstairs friend and help her cope with her past. The two seem to find trouble more often than not and with the "society slasher" on the loose that's not a good thing. Ryan makes it his personal duty to protect Miss Carstairs, he is a detective after all. It was a WONDERFUL book! It will keep you guessing until the end, trying to figure out who the slasher is. This is one which I will read again and again and I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.
moonlilly More than 1 year ago
Deception on Sable Hill is the second book in Shelley Gray's The Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series. I totally loved it! I was immediately whisked away into another time another place. This novel far exceeded my expectations. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. From the moment I opened this book I was on the edge of my seat. Sean Ryan is part of the Irish police force and the upper society doesn't even want to associate with him because he is considered lower class. Then poor Eloisa has her own secret that haunts her very soul and she is trying to act as if everything is peachy, but then Mrs. Gray throws in a society slasher. Lots of twists and turns, and I was kept guessing until the end on who the slasher was. I love it when a book keeps me guessing like that. When it comes to romance in this one I was so caught up in Eloisa and Sean's story. She is upper society and he is part of the lower class. He wants to protect her and she needs his strength. I felt the tension between them from the start. In conclusion Shelley Gray has written a most intriguing historical romance, that had me on the edge. It was a most captivating read. I was sad to see it end actually. I am actually glad how things worked out in the end. No matter a person's station in life they deserve to not be judged by just their cover. It was a very heartfelt romance between the main characters. This one hits home with me. I really enjoyed reading Deception on Sable Hill and I highly recommend this book.
KMorgan73 More than 1 year ago
Fantastic reads come to those who wait. I know because I have been waiting for this book since July 2014. After reading it I can say the wait was SO worth it. Deception on Sable Hill, the second book in the Chicago World's Fair Mystery series, is just as great as the first.  Shelley Gray whisks us away to 1893 Chicago in the first line of the book as we are waltzing across parquet ballroom floors with the high society people of Chicago. Set against the backdrop of the Chicago World's Fair, this book has just the right amount of mystery, suspense and romance. All three elements are perfectly woven together with great descriptions to keep the reader intrigued and engaged from beginning to end.  I really liked the two main characters in this book. They were authentic and honest and the complex nature of their relationship made them seem real. I enjoyed reading about Chicago and the World's Fair. Once again the descriptions Shelley wrote brought the city alive and it was so easy to imagine being there instead of just reading about it.  This is a must read book for anyone who likes historical fiction, suspense, mystery, or romance. A wonderful way to spend the day reading!
faithsnana More than 1 year ago
In this second book of the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series, we travel back to September 1893.  The fair is coming to a close and many celebrations are taking place.  Through it all, the police are kept busy looking for the person known as the “Society Slasher” who is going around cutting the faces of “ladies”…..those of the upper class...those fortunate enough to have been born to money.    Eloise Carstairs is a very beautiful young lady with a dark secret that keeps her hidden at home on Sable Hill.  When she finally does go to a social event, she meets Lieutenant Detective Sean Ryan.  Sean is an Irish policeman…both identify him as lower class.  Also there to protect the ladies is Detective Owen Howard.  Owen is from the upper class but, having joined the police force, he fits in in both “worlds”.   Eloise and Sean develop a friendship much to the dismay of some.  As do Owen and Sean’s youngest sister Katie.  What will come from these friendships?  Can they break the social barriers?  Will the Society Slasher ever be apprehended?  Will he be one of the many visitors that came to Chicago to visit the fair?  Will he be one of Chicago’s own?  Once you start reading this book, you won’t want to put it down!  Thank you Shelley Gray for another great read!  
cfernstaedt2 More than 1 year ago
Deception on Sable Hill by renowned author Shelley Gray keeps her readers riveted to each page.As we enter the elaborate ballroom mansion on the first page, we are brought into the life of Eloisa Carstairs. While Eloisa is carrying out her duties as the daughter of a wealthy family, she is also struggling with a painful secret; a secret which could stain her satin pure reputation. At her side is Quentin Gardner. Young, handsome and a fine gentleman as defined by the standards of wealth at the time; Quentin has dared to step outside of those well-defined boundaries and became a police officer. Social divisions, secrets, the longing to find one's true place in life and their spiritual truth is the underlying message in Deception on Sable Hill. Shelley has intricately woven these messages in the lives of Eloisa and Quentin when Sean Ryan  enters the room. Sean, Quentin's partner on the police force has worked hard to remove himself from the life of suffering, injustice and staleness he watched his father and neighbors endure as Irish immigrants. He and Quentin are assigned the task of protecting the young ladies of society from and stopping the "Slasher"; who appears to be bent on scarring maidens of society. Katie, Detective Ryan's spirited 19 year old sister, also has taken an interest in the "Slasher" after reading about it in the Chicago Tribune. A task, while common to women of today, was unheard of during this time. As the reader of Deception on Sable Hill, we will murmur in awe at the beauty of wealth, cry at the pain of immigrants, become angered at the social injustices of the time. And the "Slasher"?  While I knew he was lurking in the midst, waiting on edge for his next attack, hoping for his capture; I was so mesmerized with the 4 main characters daily lives and their reliance on faith, I wasn't overcome with the typical "who did it" feel of other mysteries. Personally, I am not drawn to mysteries..yet Shelley does such a wonderful job of having the element of mystery in the Chicago World's Fair Mystery series, as an underlying plot...I find myself totally mesmerized. 
TheAvidReader_KA More than 1 year ago
Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray is a lovely historical Christian mystery. It is the second book in the Chicago World’s Fair series. It is September 1893 in Chicago, Illinois. The World’s Fair is in Chicago and will be closing at the end of October. Eloisa Carstairs has been “out” for two years (as a debutante). Her mother is determined to marry her off and always want her to look “perfect”. Eloisa suffered horribly at the hands of Douglass Sloane and is still having trouble going out. Eloisa wants more in her life. She wants to help people. Unfortunately, the Society Slasher is attacking young ladies at society functions. Lt. Detective Sean Ryan and his partner, Detective Owen Howard are on the case. Owen Howard is called the gentleman detective because he comes from a rich, high class family (and wears custom made suits). Owen, though, is the third son and will not inherit and he wants to make a difference. Sean Ryan comes from a large, poor, Irish family. He is scorned by most people in his neighborhood for becoming a police officer. Sean Ryan is a good detective and he is determined to find the Society Slasher and stop him. Eloisa is at an event when the slasher strikes again. Sean was on the scene and he comforts her. Sean and Eloisa are attracted to each other, but they each know that they cannot be together (because Eloisa is from the upper classes and Sean comes from a poor family). During the course of the investigation, Sean and Eloisa get to know each other better. At the same time, Owen is interested in Sean’s younger sister, Katie. Owen does not care about the difference in their stations. Read Deception on Sable Hill to see Sean and Owen catch the Society Slasher and how love can cross the divide of social classes. I give Deception on Sable Hill 4.5 out of 5. It is a lovely romance and mystery novel. You also get to catch glimpses of the Chicago World’s Fair. I look forward to reading the next book in this series by Shelley Gray. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.
Wilani More than 1 year ago
Suspense writing at its finest.  A true page turner.  Loved this book.  It is the second book in a series. It can stand alone because the author has written it well, but it would be helpful to read them in order, I fell in love with these characters and can’t wait until the next book.  I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
I have so enjoyed experiencing the Chicago’s World Fair, back in 1893, and getting to know the layout and the buildings. With this story the Fair is getting ready to close, and we attend a fabulous gala with quite a send off. We have a clash of social status here, and this book does carry on from where we left off in The Secrets of Slone House, which I recommend you read, but is not necessary to know what is happening here. This book is Eloisa Carstairs story, and there is a refresher as to what horrible thing happened to her in the previous book. She has confided in one person and that is Police Detective Sean Ryan, and this is where we go from upper to lower classes. Where Eloisa has had her every whim taken care of her whole life, born with a silver spoon, and richer than most of her friends, a privileged life. On the other hand Detective Ryan, was born in a very poor Irish family and lived in the other side of town. Will it be possible to break down barriers and social status for these two to have a relationship? Also there is danger surrounding both of these people, one because she is a debutant and the other because of his job. You will think you know who is the culprit, but I changed my mind a few times. Come along and enjoy the mystery and intrigue that happen during the fleeting moments of this historical event, and walk in the shoes of these characters, I for one hate these stories to end. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Zondervan, and was not required to give a positive review.
CindyLinth More than 1 year ago
Deception and romance play a major part in Shelley Gray's second book in her Chicago World's Fair Mystery series, Deception on Sable Hill. Eloisa Carstairs has a secret, and she's deceiving others by keeping that secret and putting on a happy face when around her family and her fellow debutantes. But she also has a huge heart and shows us that while helping out at Hope House with the less fortunate. The Society Slasher deceives everyone until the very end with his identity. The story kept me guessing of his identity up until his reveal - I had three people in mind. I think one of my favorite parts is the relationship between the beautiful, rich debutante and the lower class Irish Lt. Sean Ryan. Watching him figure out how to treat a lady with all of his fumblings is quite cute and makes you laugh. The first description of him in the tuxedo gave me quite a chuckle. I love how Sean's family members popped in and out of the story as well. Shelley's descriptions of the areas in Chicago make you feel like you are actually there in that era. Another great read - looking forward to Book #3 this fall
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As much as I loved the first book in this series, I think this second one may be even better! I love a good historical novel, especially when the history is intertwined seamlessly as it is in Shelley Gray's novels. I never feel like I'm reading a textbook as I do with some author's and I'm always drawn to learn more about he time period presented.  Intrigue, romance, and faith are woven together into a beautiful novel. I had to force myself to set this aside and not simply read it in one setting. Although I love to read, there have been few books in recent memory which have captivated me as Shelly Gray's have. I hope there are more novels to come in this excellent series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The much anticipated second book in a Chicago World's Fair Mystery. Mystery, intrigue and romance, this book has it all and is just one more example of why I'm a huge fan of Shelley Gray. The relationship between Eloisa Carstairs and Detective Sean Ryan is multifaceted. There's the attraction, the forbidden aspect of their attraction due to their stations in society and the genuine love between them. This story has subplots that are equally as interesting and very well written. Ms. Gray has an amazing talent for creating characters that you genuinely care about. In this book, she's at her finest with the dialog between the characters, the vivid descriptions of their surroundings and as always she keeps the reader interested from beginning to end and leaves you wanting more.
AnnKietzman More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the new series by Shelley Gray and it doesn't disappoint. Set in one of my favorite cities (Chicago) at the turn of the century, it has everything a person could want in a mystery. I love the Irish detective character. I wish she would write more about his family in future books. All in all, you won't be disappointed if you pick up this book.