A Guest Blog Post By Sheila Connolly
I love Philadelphia. I spent part of my childhood living in its suburbs, and my husband and I moved back to the area when our daughter was two, so she could know her grandparents. I held a variety of jobs in the city, including a couple at museums. What’s more, I worked for the city for a few years, and knew several of the mayors.
As a writer I knew I had to use all that inside information about the city, but that includes both the good and the bad. Philadelphia is rich in culture and history—it has great museums and famous sites like Independence Hall. There’s even a new historical museum opening soon. It has a thriving and vital cultural community.
But there’s a dark side: those parts of the city that tourists will never see (if they’re lucky), that dwindled away as the old industries dried up or went overseas, and the void was filled with violence and crime. Not pretty.
I wanted my protagonist in the Museum Mysteries, Nell Pratt, to look at both sides in Dead End Street. She’s President of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society, and she feels she has a responsibility to the city to keep the good memories alive—and to try and fix what’s wrong now, if she can. And to her own surprise she does find a way to take action, with help from her friends and others who sincerely care about the city.
The challenges that Philadelphia faces are not unique among cities, but good people can make a difference. That’s what I wanted to show in Dead End Street.
Sheila Connolly is the New York Times bestselling author and Agatha Award–nominated writer of the Museum Mysteries, the Orchard Mysteries, and the County Cork Mysteries. She has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several nonprofit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company, providing genealogical research services. In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations. She is married and has one daughter and three cats.
Dead End Street: A Museum Mystery
Written by Sheila Connolly
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publishing Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 311 with chapter preview