Learn more Shop now Shop now</arg> Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
103
4.1 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 17 December 2011
I really loved this book. As someone fully enthralled with the Victorian era, I really was not disappointed. Ms. Ryan has certainly done her research. Nell may have some modern sensibilities, but I didn't think they were out of place here. Considering her background, her unique situation, she might very well have been one of the women (a few decades later) to bring about reforms for women. The dark horse, a flawed hero if ever there was one (or is he a hero at all?) is an accomplishment in characterisation. Complicated, dark, brooding, an addict, and yet we root for him as if he were one of our nearest and dearest. I found the solution to the mystery completely unexpected, the twists and turns breathtaking. I'm looking forward to reading all the books in this series. I haven't been able to put them down since I started just a few days ago. It's been a long time since I was hooked like this. Well done, Ms. Ryan! You have a fan in me.
0Comment| 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 June 2011
Downloaded this for free and really enjoyed it. This is an American light thriller set in 1800 and has a very strong female lead character which is rare for the era. Nell Sweeny moves from a doctor's assistant to a governess for a very wealthy family because she assist the doctor in delivering a maids baby and then onto investigating for the families matriarch. The household is full of scandal ie wealthy family has gambling, opium addicted, womanizing sons - the usual things aristocracy spends thousands to hide! Story is very believable and has a few twists. This is the first in a series and the first P B Ryan book I have read. I intend to read others.
0Comment| 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 May 2012
I've been trying to read a lot more widely recently and I picked up this one because of it's great reviews on Amazon.com. It's an unusual murder mystery, partly because the detective is female - although that's not such a big deal these days - but it's combined with a period setting in post-Civil War Boston. I've spent a little time in that city and it's a great place, and I'd love to return having read Still Life.

I thought this was a great read, kept me guessing till the end with a fine central protagonist in Nell Sweeney, and an intriguing central relationship with the good doctor. There are five more of these I think, and they will all be in my TBR pile.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 December 2014
This doesn't have a particularly original plot, and there is nothing in there, no character or setting that hasn't been done before. Originality does not necessarily make a good book - good writing does. From the highly respectable and rich side of 19th century of Boston life, to the horrors of opium dens on the other side of town, this book excels at drawing you in, and keep you reading. Really, society hasn't changed much, apart from the players and the drugs. It may have added to the story to point out that the origins of Boston money are probably far from decent, but both sides of society are described vividly. Maybe - as criticism - a little too much. The dialogues in places went on for far too long, without the characters moving on the story too much. Yes, you have to suspend disbelief in places, as various revelations and co-incidences come out, this is a mystery novel and you expect as such. I never guessed who the murderer was, this came as a bit of a shock, so predictable it isn't - although the writer makes you think that it should have been obvious from the beginning.

I've read a few of the blurbs of books later in the series, and am pleased to see that it seems you don't have to read this one in order to enjoy later ones, as different characters and mysteries are used.

I've been put off reading crime novels, desperately trying to find diamonds amongst the novels that are anything from dross to hohum, and seem to try to follow some ridiculous fashion of type or setting. This one has restored my enthusiasm for the genre.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 January 2013
This book is well enough written. I enjoy a good murder mystery and must admit that a hint of romance is well received by me. Having read the teaser for the follow on book, I am interested and want to know what happens in this story,which I am happy to note, is not immediately obvious or predictable. I think those who enjoy reading for a bit of light entertainment will enjoy this book...and the next!
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 April 2015
Book 1, in the Nell Sweeney Historical Mysteries

This is a murder mystery with an historical flavor to it is set in the post-Civil War era of the 1868, in the affluent society circles of Boston. This novel is wonderful combination of murder mystery, history and romance and one that transports us into the Gilded Age with accuracy and timely details.

From the start I was captured by the main character of Nell Sweeney, a doctor’s apprentice turned high-society governess. Working for a wealthy family Nell soon becomes entangled in family secrets and must find out the truth in order to clear Will, the eldest son, from a murder charge.

Although the outcome is quite predictable, the twists and turns are compelling and the situations the heroine gets herself into certainly adds to the excitement. While Nell investigates clues we travel with her to brothels, opium den and gambling halls and we learn along the way more about the kind of men she has to deal with. This is the first installment so not all is revealed about the strength of her character. We are told just enough to pique our interest. The novel is full of details about the wealthy Bostonians’ life as well as the one of poor people living in the rougher parts of the city. The story also brings graphically details of the Civil War prison camp’s life and the treatment of its prisoners.

This story is smooth in tone and pacing, it sparkles with chemistry and sharp dialogue and provides hours of entertainment.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 June 2012
This was a light read and I enjoyed the twists and turns . It flowed along nicely and I will be getting the next one.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 November 2012
It was very easy reading... I read it while travelling on holiday it was easy to pick up and put down....
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 July 2013
A fair read in a romantic type of murder. The heroine, Nell, however, doesn't fall in love at first sight, but tries to untangle the evidence of an unlawful killing. The reader is left with the knowledge of a romantic understanding as the male character walks off into the wintry sun.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 October 2014
One of my writing friends recommended this series, and I'm so glad she did. I wouldn't have come across it, I don't think, and even if I had, I doubt I'd have bought it because I don't generally like American historicals, but this series has loads of my favourite things.

It's a crime. It has a female protagonist who comes from the wrong side of the tracks and has a pretty questionable and pretty fascinating past that I really hope to read more of. It is set in Boston in the post-Civil War years, but it shows a Boston we rarely see - the back streets, the opium dens, the slums and the prostitutes. A sleazy, seamy Boston, that is contrasted brilliantly with the upper-class Boston we know from the likes of Henry James. It has a great selection of characters, all flawed. And it has, slow-burning in the background, a bit of romance.

So many times I pick up a new-to-me author who writes books full of my favourite ingredients, and I'm disappointed. Not this time. This story kept me turning the pages when I should have been writing or sleeping. It didn't matter that I guessed some of the plot, because it wasn't primarily the plot (good as it was) which kept me going, it was the characters Nell is fab - did I say that? Will is fab. Boston is a star in it's own right, gliterry and gaudy and sleazy as it is. It was - well, fab. I've already downloaded the next one. Highly recommended, and probably more 4.5 stars than 4, which is a lot for me!(
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse