The Riddle of the River: Vanessa Weatherburn

Overview

The 19th century is drawing to a close and women's roles-and their clothes-seem to have gotten less constricting. Vanessa Weatherburn's passion for science and mathematics, once an embarrassing oddity, is now quite nearly fashionable, and she has been asked to help the police in their inquiries in her capacity as a private investigator. The enquiry in question concerns the identity of a pretty young woman found drowned in the river like the lovelorn Ophelia. Vanessa suspects she may have been an actress; not so ...

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Overview

The 19th century is drawing to a close and women's roles-and their clothes-seem to have gotten less constricting. Vanessa Weatherburn's passion for science and mathematics, once an embarrassing oddity, is now quite nearly fashionable, and she has been asked to help the police in their inquiries in her capacity as a private investigator. The enquiry in question concerns the identity of a pretty young woman found drowned in the river like the lovelorn Ophelia. Vanessa suspects she may have been an actress; not so long ago, 'actress' was synonymous with 'a woman with a past.' Have notions of respectability changed enough? Or are the newfound female freedoms merely a thin veneer on the same old societal expectations?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A rock solid plot and an intriguing backstory lift British author Shaw's fourth historical to feature Cambridge amateur sleuth Vanessa Weatherburn (after 2008's The Library Paradox). In the summer of 1898, Vanessa, now blessed with a baby boy and a supportive husband, looks into the death of a beautiful young woman found floating Ophelia-like in the river Cam. Actress Ivy Elliott, as she's later identified, proves to have been a victim of foul play. When a married gentleman admits to a dalliance with Elliott, Vanessa determines to see the case through. She attends a séance and poses as a single woman of easy virtue, walking a fine line between her traditional mores and whatever is necessary to ferret out a killer. After drawing some very wrong conclusions, Vanessa discovers that goodness and love can be found in the most unexpected of places. A number of real-life notables, in particular radio developer Guglielmo Marconi, play supporting roles. (July)

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Library Journal
It is difficult to believe that any husband in 1898 would allow his wife to traipse around England acting as a private detective. But Vanessa Weatherburn (The Library Paradox) does just that when she is hired to find the murderer of a young actress/prostitute found in the River Cam. VERDICT Victorian mystery buffs might enjoy, but Deanna Rayburn's series is superior.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934609330
  • Publisher: Felony & Mayhem, LLC
  • Publication date: 7/25/2009
  • Series: Vanessa Weatherburn Series , #4
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Shaw is an academic. She has previously written three conundrum-packed mysteries featuring her heroine Vanessa Duncan.
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