The third book in Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series is a Gothic-inspired mystery set against the glamorous backdrop of trans-Atlantic sea travel. Seventeen-year-old forensic student Audrey Rose travels to New York from Liverpool with her fellow apprentice (and secret fiancé) Thomas and her Uncle Jonathan, a physician under whom both study. Just as the cruise gets underway, privileged young woman passengers begin dying—and the deaths seem connected to the chilling, tarot card–based Moonlight Carnival entertaining guests on the cruise. As her cohort autopsies the women, and Audrey Rose investigates, she’s pulled into the world of the mysterious masked carnival ringmaster Mephistopheles and a performed sleight of hand that defies scientific explanation. With only days at sea, she must quickly discover the women’s causes of death—and whodunit—before she becomes the next victim. Blending old-fashioned sensibilities with a classic mystery, Maniscalco skillfully delivers social commentary to top off a gripping, detailed suspense story. Ages 15–up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary. (Sept.)
Praise for Escaping from Houdini:
"Audrey Rose is a witty, resourceful feminist who refuses to bow to Victorian-era gender norms. This dark, gothic landscape is peopled with nuanced, diverse characters who keep readers enthralled. A gripping mystery with a compelling heroine and just the right touch of romance."Kirkus
"Every sentence of this novel drips with decadence. The settings and Midnight Carnival performances are lush yet dangerous, beautiful yet terrifying. It was easy to understand just how Audrey Rose comes to be so enthralled with the Midnight Carnival and the performers because, as readers, we're put under the same exact spell.... Masterfully crafted."Hypable
"Maniscalco's winning combinations of historical fiction, romance, forensics, and a feisty heroine will attract historical-fiction and romance readers....Well-placed hooks advance the plot and sustain the swift pace."Booklist
"Displaying her usual fierce determination and progressive ideals, Audrey Rose is once again a compelling protagonist. Another delightfully mysterious addition to the series."School Library Journal
"Young adult readers of crime novels will thrill to Maniscalco's labyrinthine plot and the gruesome secrets it reveals. And yet Escaping from Houdini is also a love story, one in which Audrey Rose's love for the charming and stalwart Thomas is tested by the exhilarating freedom represented by Mephistopheles's unorthodox lifestyle. As one member of the Moonlight Carnival muses, 'Normal is boring. Extraordinary is memorable.' Like-minded readers will find Maniscalco's latest foray into nineteenth-century forensic investigation anything but boring."Chapter16.org
Praise for Stalking Jack the Ripper:
A #1 New York Times Bestseller from its first week!
"An entertaining debut full of twists and turns, perfect for fans of historical fiction and mystery."
School Library Journal
"Maniscalco has created a serious, sharp-minded, and forward-thinking protagonist in Audrey Rose, whose fearlessness will endear her to readers looking for an engaging historical thriller. Abundant red herrings and a dash of romance round out this gruesome but engrossing story."
*"This audiobook has everything: a true-life tale that has intrigued readers for 100-plus years, a young woman who balks at the constraints put upon women during the Victorian era, a marvelous yet somewhat gruesome mystery, and a narrator who brings you down into Spitalfields as Jack the Ripper earns his name. A must-have."
School Library Journal (*starred review*)
"Audrey Rose Wadsworth prefers breeches to ball gowns, autopsies to afternoon tea, and scalpels to knitting needles. Though her father, Lord Edmund, has forbidden it, Audrey covertly studies forensic medicine...while "the Ripper" remains two steps ahead, lurking where Audrey least expects....Maniscalco's portrayal of scientific invention in a newly industrial era will serve as a fine first foray into Victorian classics."
"Audrey is a young woman eager to use her brains and willing to flaunt society's rules....This mystery pays homage to classics like Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein [and] will satisfy those readers looking for historical mystery, a witty heroine, and a little romance."
School Library Connection
Praise for Hunting Prince Dracula:
A New York Times bestseller!
"Audrey Rose is a smart, fearless, and progressive heroine. Plenty of red herrings, a conspicuous absence of blood, and a developing romance make this a must-read."
School Library Journal
"Readers of the previous mystery will be thrilled to have more of this likable duo. [A] delightful romp into an 1888 Gothic mystery with a hint of romance."
School Library Connection
"There are plenty of suspects and red herrings as well as tense escalations....A scenic, twisty mystery."
Gr 9 Up—Fresh from attending a forensics school housed in the castle once home to Vlad the Impaler, Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her soon-to-be betrothed, Thomas Cresswell, have set sail on a luxury cruise to America. The ship's entertainment, the Moonlight Carnival, boasts illusions, acrobatics, fire-eating, swordplay, and more, and is led by a promising young escape artist. But when a pattern of deaths begins to emerge, each with a tarot card left at the scene, Audrey Rose and Cresswell start to wonder if the Ringmaster of the Carnival may be involved. The pair launches into an investigation, but the Ringmaster's obvious interest in Audrey Rose, coupled with a midnight bargain, complicates that plan. Unlike the previous two works of the series, the cruise ship Etruria offers a more intimate setting. Period images of carnival life set the scene at the beginning of each chapter and vivid descriptions of the various parts of the vessel allow readers to easily imagine the different locations onboard. Displaying her usual fierce determination and progressive ideals, Audrey Rose is once again a compelling protagonist; her lingering distress over the previous cases of Jack the Ripper and Vlad the Impaler, along with her relationship with the Ringmaster muddling her formerly solid bond with Cresswell, serves to successfully develop her character arc across the three works of the series even further. VERDICT Another delightfully mysterious addition to the series. A strong choice for YA shelves.—Maggie Mason Smith, Clemson University, SC
In the winter of 1889, a luxury cruise liner leaves Liverpool, England, with a murderer on board.When forensic scientist-in-training Audrey Rose Wadsworth boards the luxurious Etruria, she anticipates a much-needed vacation before joining a criminal investigation in New York. But a young woman is murdered, setting off a string of killings that forces Audrey Rose to practice her autopsy skills under the guidance of her uncle, a renowned forensic scientist, and in partnership with Thomas Creswell, her fellow apprentice and, she hopes, future husband. As the body count mounts, Audrey Rose goes undercover to investigate the onboard carnival helmed by a mysterious ringmaster, Mephistopheles. The deeper she goes, the more confused she becomes about the killer—and her own desires. Audrey Rose is a witty, resourceful feminist who refuses to bow to Victorian-era gender norms. The book's love triangle provides a steamy, consensual romance that refreshingly positions her as the arbiter of her own fate. Given the paucity of strong, biracial female characters, it is disappointing that no mention is made (as in a previous entry) of the fact that Audrey Rose has an Indian mother and a white father. The end reveal unsatisfyingly fails to fully describe her epiphany. Overall, though, this dark, gothic landscape is peopled with nuanced, diverse characters who keep readers enthralled.A gripping mystery with a compelling heroine and just the right touch of romance (Mystery. 15-adult)