Midnight Fires: A Mystery with Mary Wollstonecraft

Overview

Mitchelstown Castle in County Cork, seat of the notorious Anglo-Irish Kingsborough family, fairly hums with intrigue. The new young governess, Mary Wollstonecraft, witnesses a stabbing and attends a pagan bonfire at which an illegitimate sprig of the nobility is killed. When the young Irishman Liam Donovan, who hated the aristocratic rogue for seducing his niece, becomes the prime suspect for his murder, Mary—ever a champion of the oppressed, and susceptible to Liam's charm— ...

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Midnight Fires: A Mystery with Mary Wollstonecraft

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Overview

Mitchelstown Castle in County Cork, seat of the notorious Anglo-Irish Kingsborough family, fairly hums with intrigue. The new young governess, Mary Wollstonecraft, witnesses a stabbing and attends a pagan bonfire at which an illegitimate sprig of the nobility is killed. When the young Irishman Liam Donovan, who hated the aristocratic rogue for seducing his niece, becomes the prime suspect for his murder, Mary—ever a champion of the oppressed, and susceptible to Liam's charm— determines to prove him innocent.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of this captivating historical set in 1786, Mary Wollstonecraft is on her way to Ireland to become a governess, “that most humiliating of occupations.” At Mitchelstown Castle in County Cork, headstrong Mary, the future mother of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, and future women's rights advocate, is determined to pen a novel and remain above the fray of castle politics while schooling Lord and Lady Kingsborough's daughters. Three suspicious deaths, however, compel Mary to seek justice for a poor young sailor, the family's troubled former governess, and even an aristocrat. It appears everyone from poet George Ogle, Lady K's new flirt, to a land tenant or two has a motive in one or more of these tangled deaths. As Mary snoops around in search of the culprit, she is bound not to lose herself to the mystery, her job, or the charms of any man. Wright (Mad Season and four other Ruth Wilmarth mysteries) deftly illuminates 18th-century class tensions. (Apr.)
Library Journal
An impoverished Mary Wollstonecraft (yes, the future author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women and the mother of Frankenstein novelist Mary Shelley) goes to be a governess in remote County Cork, Ireland, where she witnesses a stabbing at a pagan bonfire. VERDICT This gothic mystery featuring an inquisitive young woman who steps into a vipers' nest is reminiscent of works by Daphne DuMaurier, Mary Stewart, and Joan Aiken. It will also appeal to readers who like their sleuths to be actual historical or literary figures (see, e.g., Gyles Brandeth's Oscar Wilde series).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564744883
  • Publisher: Daniel, John & Company, Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/10/2010
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 15

I A Most Humiliating Occupation 19

II Pandemonium—and a Missing Letter 26

III The Room Humming with Intrigue 33

IV Blue-eyed Lad with a Bogged Cow 44

V Midnight Murder 52

VI Rebel on the Run 64

VII Without Doubt a Man of Genius 79

VIII Witches—and a Cave after Nightfall 88

IX A Fatal Leap and a Late Night Visitor 105

X Surprise Encounter at the Scene of the Crime 116

XI A Found Journal and a Failed Escape 124

XII Dublin: No Cure for a Broken Heart 138

XIII A Most Compromising Posture 148

XIV A Seduction and a Crooked Scar 160

XV An Interrupted Rendezvous 169

XVI Revelations of a Cutterby Cousin 182

XVII Dead as a Doorstop 194

XVIII Masquerade: Don Quixote Meets his Match 206

XIX To be Hanged by ye Neck at Dawn 217

XX A Compromise, an Unexpected Gift, and Liberty for (almost) All 230

Afterword 241

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    an excellent historical mystery starring a superb heroine.

    In 1786 Mary Wollstonecraft assumes life for her could not get any lower as she accepts humiliating work in County Cork, Ireland as a governess to the daughters of Lord and Lady Kingsboroug. Still, one must eat aand single women have few options. Thus Mary plans to make the best of her stay at Mitchelstown Castle.

    Mary has given herself two rules to abide by. First she plans to write a novel. Second and foremost she is determined to stay out of the castle political squabbles. However, her resolve vanishes with the deaths of a sailor, the former governess, and an aristocrat. She believes a serial killer is on the loose and investigates seeking the link only to find several people with motives, but none with reasoning to kill the trio.

    This is a terrific Georgian mystery with Mary Wollstonecraft starring as an amateur sleuth. Her investigation is clever as it enhances the overall theme of class and gender differences. Mary is the perfect guide for readers to look at the great divides in the late eighteenth century Ireland as she will one day soon write her famous manifesto. Nancy Means Wright provides an excellent historical mystery starring a superb heroine.

    Harriet Klausner

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