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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Murder: A Revolutionary War Mystery [NOOK Book]


A tavern mistress in 1777 unravels a puzzle that involves stolen diplomatic letters, spies and avaricious traitors, while trying to find the killer of an overnight guest.
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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Murder: A Revolutionary War Mystery

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A tavern mistress in 1777 unravels a puzzle that involves stolen diplomatic letters, spies and avaricious traitors, while trying to find the killer of an overnight guest.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
The divided loyalties and secret schemes of the Revolutionary War era make an exciting backdrop for Karen Swee's historical mystery Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Murder. It's February 1777, and New Brunswick, New Jersey, is an occupied town. British troops have settled in for the winter, and revolutionary soldiers are doing their best to make the Redcoats' stay as uncomfortable as possible. Widowed innkeeper Abigail Lawrence may secretly sympathize with the revolutionary cause, but her priority is to protect her family and the Raritan Tavern, which is their legacy. She can't afford openly to oppose the British officers billeted on her property, but she's more than willing to help her uncle in revolutionary mischief by passing on any useful information she overhears from her unwelcome guests. When a wealthy Philadelphia businessman is murdered in one of her private guest rooms, she needs to see the matter resolved quickly -- before the British can use the crime as an excuse to take over her property completely. But when the military authorities seem eager to claim that the disappearance of the man's wife proves the murder was merely a marital dispute, Abigail suspects the British know more about the matter than they'll admit. The curious widow has always been fond of puzzles and eager for adventure, but she soon finds that investigating treason, scandal, and espionage is as dangerous as it is exciting -- and that this game is one that she cannot afford to lose. Sue Stone
Publishers Weekly
In Swee's engaging first novel, set in British-occupied New Jersey in 1777, the widow Abigail Lawrence is trying to raise a teenage daughter and operate a busy tavern amid the tumult of the American Revolution. When Abigail finds the body of a guest pinned to the floor of his room with a British army sword, she's not too stunned to note that the bloodstains on the weapon are inconsistent with the wound having been the cause of death. The local English officers take a keen interest in the murder after Abigail discovers that the dead man was carrying letters addressed to none other than George Washington and John Hancock. With a minimum of historical detail, the author nicely evokes the period. While readers will probably put the pieces of the puzzle together long before the heroine does, no doubt Abigail will hone her sleuthing skills in later installments of what promises to be a fine series. (Jan. 1) Forecast: The novel setting (the publisher claims to have found no other mystery set during the Revolution in America), blurbs from Miriam Grace Manfredo and Ann McMillan (both authors of Civil War mysteries), and an author tour focused on mid-Atlantic Revolution sites should draw an army of historical mystery fans. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In the winter of 1777, British forces have occupied New Brunswick, New Jersey, placing officers at the Raritan Tavern. The locals who support General Washington's Continental Army are frightened and worried, especially the tavern mistress, widow Abigail Lawrence. She must placate the British lodged at her tavern and shield her teenage daughter, Elizabeth, from the "fascinating" officers, while communicating to the patriots any bits of information that might prove useful. Her task becomes much more difficult when the murdered body of a tavern guest is found pinned to the floor of his room with a sword. Haughty Captain Phillips only seems interested in blaming either Abigail or her uncle, Samuel, as an excuse for commandeering the tavern for the Crown. Abigail must, within the limits set by colonial society and an occupying force of hostile combatants, discover the murderer or lose all that she holds dear. Abigail is a spunky, endearing character whose sensibilities seem quite modern, even as she acknowledges the facts of life for women in the 1700s. Teen readers, especially girls, will find her and her daughter especially appealing. Advertised as the first mystery set during the War for Independence, this fun and entertaining story will attract both mystery fans and readers of historical fiction. It can be recommended to those who enjoyed the Dear America books set during the Revolutionary War. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, Bridge Works, 305p., Ages 15 to Adult.
—Joanna Morrison
Library Journal
Occupation by British troops in 1777 has disrupted life in New Brunswick, NJ, where tavern mistress Abigail Lawrence holds her own by renting to and feeding the redcoats. After a wealthy businessman is murdered in her inn during the night, however, at least one British officer shows too much interest and spurs Abigail to start snooping. Several anomalies arise, not the least of which are a disappeared "wife," a lost Arabian horse, and a mysterious traveling provisioner. A compelling plot, a plucky heroine, and the rousing sounds of war make this a stirring debut. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It's 1777. Tavernmistress Abigail Lawrence, of New Brunswick, New Jersey, balances the needs of occupying redcoats and revolutionary spies as deftly as a tray full of brimming tankards. The British Army has taken over most of the rooms in Abigail's tavern, and the soldiers bring the results of their foraging missions, armed raids on neighboring farms, to her kitchen for cooking. Though she strives to maintain an appearance of neutrality, her beloved uncle, flamboyant scamp Samuel Holt, sympathizes with the rebels, and her teenage daughter Beth flirts dangerously with British officers. Then George Fenton Lee, a wealthy Philadelphia merchant, is found murdered in his room, a British officer's sword pinning him to the floor, and Abigail's balancing act gets more dangerous. The British take a mysterious interest in the man but refuse to help the American constable investigate. The woman Lee spent the night with, supposedly his wife, has disappeared with their two horses. When one of the horses returns, riderless, Abigail pockets the documents she finds in the saddlebags. Two of them, letters addressed to General George Washington, are promptly stolen from her. After the British, flailing, arrest Uncle Samuel for Lee's murder, Abigail must find the missing letters to save her uncle and, it turns out, shield the real murderer. Solid work in a debut better than the cutesy title suggests. Author tour
The Tampa Tribune
Entertaining...Swee evokes the bitterness of a Northern winter during a time of great turmoil and danger when everyone is suspect and conflicting loyalties can turn a world upside down. A very credible debut.
The Historical Novels Review
The details and manners are accurate...Thos of us who love this period rejoice that an author chooses it for a good mystery.
Dallas Morning News
Ms. Swee has created a formidable heroine in Abigail, who has both the courage and the intelligence to pursue her investigation to its locial ends. She is one of the most attractive and enterprising detectives to date in the genre of historical mysteries.
Deft..Solid work in a debut better than the cutesy title suggests.
Home News Tribune
The solution is staisfying, the chracters interesting, and the intrigue-laced wekk conceived.
Portsmouth Herald Sunday
A fine, tense portrait of the times...[with] an appealing, intelligent heroine.
Lima News
Authentically detailed whodunit [and] feisty heroine.
Miriam Grace Monfredo
This is an impressive debut. An imaginative plot, compelling central character, and lucid prose should place it in the top ranks of the year's best historical mysteries. Bravo, Ms. Swee!
Ann McMillan
In tavernmistress Abigail Lawerence, karen Swee creates a heroine as warm and piquant as mulled wine. But watch out—she packs a wallop!
Robin Hathaway
Karen Swee has created a perfect blend of history and mystery! The American Revolution has never seemed so personal oor entertaining. Abigail, Mistress of Raritan Tavern, is such an endearing character, readers are sure to demand encores.
Jonathan Gash
I liked this story. Read it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781461623403
  • Publisher: Bridgeworks
  • Publication date: 11/10/2003
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 2 MB

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