Whispers of Warning
By Jessica Estevao
A Change of Fortune Mystery – book 2
Berkley Prime Crime – Historical
Trade paperback, 323 pages
setting: Old Orchard Maine – a seaside community
In “Whispers of Warning,” Ruby Proulx and her aunt Honoria attend an outdoor speaking engagement of the very outspoken Sophronia Foster Eldridge. The Suffrage rally is guaranteed to attract the heated attention of husbands and businessmen who forbid their wives to have voices and to be employed. Sophronia is a guest at Honoria’s hotel and she’s determined to see that women of her generation, and those in the future, have a right to vote. Adding to the flames of unwanted change, her speech also addresses the corrupt men that hold positions of power who have secret dealings. She further states that she has written a book exposing corruption having been guided by a spirit. Chaos breaks out and the authorities are forced to step in. Among them is Officer Yancy.
If that wasn’t enough to stir up trouble and anger when the new pier is opening, a Suffrage march will surely do the job. Sophronia asks for the assistance of Officer Yancy’s sister, the impressionable and often non-conforming Miss Lucy, to assist her. While Ruby is on her way in town to purchase a new feather duster, she witnesses Sophronia speaking in the alley with the Congressman who was protesting her actions at the rally. Ruby sees him shove Sophronia into a brick wall, but saw that she was able to walk away with little signs of injury.
Shortly after, Sophronia is found at the bottom of a nearby hotel pool. Though she is silenced forever, Ruby is determined to assist in the investigation, to learn who killed her and if her manuscript was responsible for her murder.
I love historical mysteries as well as romance. There’s so much you can learn about how people lived during a specific time period, about their issues, their social interactions, gender rights or lack of. Not only does Estevao transport you to that era, she shows how hostile it was to dare to speak up for women’s rights. She reminds us how men believed that society would crumble if women were given opportunities to do more than organize a household and have children. What makes the book even more interesting is Honoria’s hotel is staffed by people with skills that allow them to speak with those who have passed on, etc. Combine the suffrage rally and those with Spiritualists and you have a lot of conflict. Hope to see Ruby and Officer Yancy become a couple in book three. If not, I’m going to have to pay Yancy a visit.
Four manuscripts out of five
Dec. 31, 2017