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Death at the Fair

Death at the Fair [Kindle Edition]

Frances McNamara

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Product Description

Product Description

The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition provides a vibrant backdrop for this exciting new mystery. Emily Cabot is one of the first women graduate students at the University of Chicago, eager to prove herself in the new field of sociology. While she is busy exploring the Exposition with her family and friends, her colleague, Dr. Stephen Chapman, is accused of murder. Emily sets out to search for the truth behind the crime, but is thwarted by the thieves, corrupt politicians, and gamblers who are ever-present in Chicago. A lynching that occurred in the dead man’s past leads Emily to seek the assistance of the black activist Ida B. Wells. Rich with historical details that bring turn-of-the-century Chicago to life, this novel will appeal equally to history buffs and mystery fans.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 287 KB
  • Print Length: 230 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Allium Press of Chicago; Revised edition (4 May 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003KVL2IA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #912,726 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful description, great research, good read 19 Jan 2009
By Ellen R. Caplan - Published on
Two things before I begin. First, I have never commented on a book in this kind of venue. Second, I have known Frances McNamara for over 20 years. However, I do not think knowing Frances for all these years affected what I thought about this novel.

Frances definitely captured the essence of the time in her descriptions and in the language her characters used. Without this I think it would be hard to understand the plot as it unfolded. I did not find it slow going in the beginning. In fact I think the descriptions gave life and color to the time period and made it easy to understand why the characters acted as they did. I agree with one of the other reviewers about the main character, Emily Cabot. I am glad she was a 19th century character and not one from our action-packed 21st. My one criticism, albeit very minor, concerned the role Emily's mother played. I would have liked more of her in the story. There was the implication that she was fairly progressive in her views and it would have been interesting to have had her play a more active role.

I really enjoyed reading this novel and am definitely looking forward to the next one Frances writes.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 10 Sep 2009
By D. F. Illk - Published on
This is a great book! I don't read mystery novels, in fact I read little fiction, but this book kept my interest and made me want to read more. I have a few pages left, but I don't want it to end! The tension and pace pick up gradually, but as a fan of history, I appreciated that and savored the details about Chicago and the Fair. It's well worth reading. I look forward to more books with Emily Cabot and the other characters.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chicago, 1893 14 July 2009
By Lyn Reese - Published on
World fairs were immensely popular events in the19th and 20th centuries. Chicago's "World's Columbia Exposition of 1893" wowed its visitors with its dazzling technology displays and promotion of American business and products. In McNamara's story, its aim to promote Chicago is thwarted when a potential investor who would have funded the fair for another year is found murdered in one of the pavilions. Emily Cabot's friend and teacher at the University of Chicago becomes murder suspect number one, and it is up to Emily to clear his name.

Emily represents one of the first American women able to complete a college degree and do some postgraduate research. As spunky and fearless as she seems, she is constantly frustrated by the limits her society places on her, and the obstacles mounted against her by resentful male colleagues and members of the police. Emily's views supporting female suffrage are particularly suspect.

McNamara leads us on a colorful tour of the "White City," as the fair was called. Not ignored is its seamy side, the illegal traveling card games, police graft, midway toughs, and assassination of Chicago's mayor in the fair's final days. Reference is made to the Haymarket affair, the establishment's fear of "foreign anarchists," and the powerful Chicago political machine. Most interesting is the story's pivotal role given to the tireless crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Wells-Barnett was at the fair to promote her pamphlet protesting the fair's exclusion of blacks. Her exposé of the lynching of blacks in the South, and the uncovering of other repressive racial attitudes, are key plot points.

Author's Note offers books, helpful websites, and works consulted.
Discussion Group questions are included.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical winner 13 Nov 2008
By Dorothy A. Farrell - Published on
Death at the Fair is a page turner. I am not a die-hard fan of the historical mystery (I read at least one mystery a week) because often the prose bogs down in exposition of extraneous detail. However, McNamara has crafted an intricate plot, believable and engaging characters in a time period and place about which I knew little. The Chicago Columbian Exhibition of 1893 turns out to be a wonderful window on major themes of the post civil war late nineteenth century. Emily Cabot is a sleuth/heroine of her own time, and not a twenty-first century woman anachronistically tossed back in time. This was the most refreshing of finds: a very well plotted mystery with believable and very human characters in a fascinating setting. In spite of myself, this story gave me a textured view of a period I had considered dull! I highly recommend this and await more Emily Cabot mysteries.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fair Description, Good Grasp of the Time Period 6 Feb 2008
By Laura T. - Published on
The author was born to write period novels, as her grasp of the culture and language is impeccable. However, I felt that the beginning of DEATH AT THE FAIR was far too languid--too much description and back story. I'd rather be plunged into the thick of things, leaving the description for later in the script.

There were a few mechanical errors that detracted from the overall prose, but it is generally a well-written piece. I thought that the dialogue with Dr. Chapman went on a bit too long, again establishing back story, and I would have been preferred to be introduced later on.

This piece definitely has potential, but the pace needs to be increased if it is supposed to fall into the myster/suspense/thriller genre.
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