When I was asked to give the perfect set of circumstances for a historical mystery, I didn’t have to think long. It’s just like putting together a perfect recipe.
A Golden Cage, A Newport Gilded Age Mystery.
Take one opulent era of history. Mark Twain called it The Gilded Age and it ran from around 1870 to 1900. It was an era of serious social problems masked by a thin veneer of gold. A time of industrialization, huge growth, incredible wealth and wide spread corruption. A time of power struggles in commerce, justice and morality. A time of conspicuous consumption by the haves and poverty and hard work by the have nots.
Add in one seaside Resort town. Newport Rhode Island in 1895. Where the nation’s wealthiest families summered in sumptuous mansions they called “cottages”.
Add a dollop of family. The wife and daughter of a prominent well respected judge threw him a huge birthday fete and invited all the richest families (among them, the Vanderbilts, the Astors, the Oelrich’s and the Fishes), mayhem ensued.
Mix with a professional theatrical troupe. Hired away from their theater for the evening to present a play called The Sphinx.
Stir in one ingénue who ran away from a rich and respectable family to seek her fortune behind the footlights.
Add spice with a handsome young actor who takes the town by storm.
Whisk all ingredients with a young debutante named Deanna Randolph, her maid Elspeth and her former fiancé Joe until the culprit is brought to justice.
Arrange on a bed of secrets and scandals, bicycles and tennis matches, zealot moralists and Women’s suffragettes.
Garnish with quirky local residents and extravagant fashions and serve in A Golden Cage.
All that is left is to enjoy!
A Golden Cage, A Newport Gilded Age Mystery by Shelley Freydont, paperback
Shelley Freydont is the author of several mystery series, including the Newport Gilded Age Mysteries (beginning with A Gilded Grave) and the Celebration Bay Mysteries, as well as those featuring Lindy Haggerty and Katie McDonald. She is also the author of several novels under the name Shelley Noble, and her books have been translated into seven languages.