Publication: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Minotaur Books
In 1917, Jessie Carr, fourteen years old and sole heiress to her family’s vast fortune, disappeared without a trace. Now, years later, her uncle Oliver Beckett thinks he’s found her: a young actress in a vaudeville playhouse is a dead ringer for his missing niece. But when Oliver confronts the girl, he learns he’s wrong. Orphaned young, Leah’s been acting since she was a toddler.
Oliver, never one to miss an opportunity, makes a proposition—with his coaching, Leah can impersonate Jessie, claim the fortune, and split it with him. The role of a lifetime, he says. A one-way ticket to Sing Sing, she hears. But when she’s let go from her job, Oliver’s offer looks a lot more appealing. Leah agrees to the con, but secretly promises herself to try and find out what happened to the real Jessie. There’s only one problem: Leah’s act won’t fool the one person who knows the truth about Jessie’s disappearance.
Set against a Prohibition-era backdrop of speakeasies and vaudeville houses, Mary Miley’s Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition winner The Impersonator will delight readers with its elaborate mystery and lively prose.
The Impersonator has just about everything that I enjoy in a good historical mystery novel. And it happens during one of my very favorite time periods; the 1920’s.
All her life, Leah has been involved in show business. Left alone in the world after her mother’s death at a young age, she’s called Vaudeville her home.
Until one night when a man named Oliver Beckett spots her on stage and offers her a job that would very much test her acting skills. After losing her job and having no other viable options, she agrees to what Oliver has planned.
She and Oliver set off to the Carr mansion in Oregon. Where if she succeeds in proving to the Carr family and the trustees of the estate, that she really is Jessie, a nice sizable fortune awaits her and Uncle Oliver.
Learning all about Jessie might be as easy to Leah as learning new lines in a script, but there is something mysterious and possibly dangerous about the Carr family.
And the further she slips into Jessie’s world, the more curious and determined Leah becomes in finding out the truth behind Jessie’s disappearance. A truth that could jeopardize Leah’s life. Especially when she discovers information about other young women in the area being murdered…
The Impersonator was an engaging and original story that quickly captured my attention and imagination. Lies, booze, betrayal, and murder. This book had just the right amount of those items to make this story very fun to read. The pace was great, writing was fluid, and the details and descriptions of everything seemed to make Leah’s world be interesting to discover.
A fan of all things 1920? Love a good murder mystery set in the past? Then I would recommend that you check this one out.
RATING: 4 out of 5.
** I received this book on behalf of the Publisher in exchange for nothing, but my honest opinion. Thank you. **
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