Set in 1888 New York City, Belli’s underwhelming debut and series launch introduces Genevieve Stewart, a reporter for the New York City Globe. Genevieve is on the trail of a vigilante criminal known as Robin Hood, who has committed three burglaries and then written to the Globe explaining why his victims were selected. In addition to their greed, Robin Hood has targeted them for such additional sins as, in the case of a railroad magnate, running a prostitution ring. Genevieve’s digging takes her to the Bowery, where she encounters “one of the most handsome men she’d ever seen” in suspicious proximity to a corpse. She later learns that the hunk is Daniel McCaffrey, heir to a vast fortune and the focal point of numerous rumors. Genevieve’s search for evidence that Daniel might be Robin Hood unfolds predictably, as does her attraction to him, and in general Belli telegraphs major plot developments. Those seeking a more plausible female sleuth in the same place and period should check out Lawrence H. Levy’s Mary Handley mysteries. Agent: Danielle Egan-Miller, Browne and Miller Literary Assoc. (Oct.)
Praise for Deception by Gaslight:
“This first in a promising series drops readers right into the dirty, cutthroat streets of a bygone Gotham, introduces a couple whose fortunes they’ll wish to follow, and makes a great recommendation for fans of Mariah Fredericks.”
—Booklist, starred review
“[A] riveting, carefully researched, [and] well-plotted mystery.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“Gilded Age romance and complex crimes produce welcome surprises in the first of a new series.”
“A definite adventure in the Gilded Age, full of scandals of the elite and crimes of the nondescript.”
—New York Journal of Books
“A fantastic debut novel...I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical mysteries.”
—Seattle Book Review
“The characters are really well-written and the story and time setting work perfectly.”
—Red Carpet Crash
"Creative and unexpected plot twists impel the story... an interesting American addition to the Victorian mystery subgenre."
—Historical Novel Society
"Belli's captivating debut is a delicious blend of mystery, romance and historical intrigue. The evocative, Gilded-Age setting and richly-drawn characters make this the kind of book you sink into and don't want to leave. I'm already looking forward to Genevieve and Daniel's next adventure!" —Elizabeth Blackwell, author of Red Mistress and On a Cold Dark Sea
"From Fifth Avenue mansions to back alley pubs, a gutsy female reporter and a rags-to-riches millionaire take on societal intrigue and political double-dealing in this entertaining and romantic tale of Gilded Age New York."
—Alyssa Maxwell, author of the Gilded Newport mysteries
"[A] complex conspiracy, exciting action, and the allure of a contradictory romance makes this debut novel a page-turner."
—Rosemary Simpson, author of the Gilded Age mysteries
Under the guise of Polly Palmer, a journalist for the Globe in New York City in 1888, Genevieve Stewart is an intrepid investigator. Still, she's uneasy when she follows several men down an alley in Five Points. She's hoping to uncover information about a thief known as Robin Hood who robs the rich and claims to give the proceeds to the poor. As part of Mrs. Astor's 400, Genevieve knows some of the thief's victims. She feels ridiculed, though, when she runs into one of the men from the alley at an exclusive party. Daniel McCaffrey, who inherited the Van Joost fortune, swears he's not Robin Hood, and he wasn't slumming. He's after bigger game. If they have to pretend to be courting to find the truth about an influential group formed for housing reform, Genevieve and Daniel can set aside their mutual distrust. Neither expects Genevieve to be attacked, physically and in print, as they close in on the answers. VERDICT The riveting, carefully researched, well-plotted mystery introduces two well-developed characters, one determined to succeed despite her social position and the other determined on reform. Fans of Alyssa Maxwell's "Gilded Newport" mysteries will appreciate the historical, social, and political aspects of this debut.—Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh P.L., IN
In 1888 New York, a society woman’s quest for recognition as a reporter leads her to a case of murder.
Despite their eccentric reputation, Genevieve Stewart’s family is part of Mrs. Astor’s exclusive Four Hundred. After having been jilted at the last moment, Genevieve works as a reporter, though she’s not writing the kind of stories that would seem to suit her talents. A thief known as Robin Hood is robbing the rich and sending letters to the press highlighting their sins. Hot on his trail on the Lower East Side, Genevieve is saved from a dangerous encounter in a sordid alley by an exceedingly handsome man. Spotting her rescuer at a ball a few days later, she learns that he’s wealthy Daniel McCaffrey, whose past is shrouded in mystery. Daniel’s best friend, Rupert Milton, is an impoverished English nobleman who’s about to become engaged to Esmerelda Bradley, the daughter of a wealthy family. Suspecting Daniel of being Robin Hood, Genevieve begins to investigate only to find herself drawn to him. Although he does his best to keep his past a secret, his budding trust in Genevieve allows him to open up to her. When Esmerelda's mother is murdered, Genevieve and Daniel investigate a case that involves dirty politics and a scheme to squeeze the poor. Genevieve’s sleuthing makes her a target for men from both sides of the tracks who will stop at nothing to advance their schemes. Although the daring duo bring murder and dishonesty to light, their own relationship is threatened by misunderstandings.
Gilded Age romance and complex crimes produce welcome surprises in the first of a new series.