With her mother in Europe, Deanna is staying with the Ballard family, who agree to chaperone her through the summer season and guide her toward an advantageous marriage proposal—or so her mother hopes. Relishing her new freedom, Deanna is more interested in buying one of the fashionable new bathing costumes, joining a ladies’ bicycling club, and befriending an actress named Amabelle Deeks, all of which would scandalize her mother.
Far more scandalous is the discovery of a young man bludgeoned to death on the conservatory floor at Bonheur, the Ballards’ sumptuous “cottage.” Deanna recognizes him as an actor who performed at the birthday fete for a prominent judge the night before. But why was he at Bonheur? And where is Amabelle?
Concerned her new friend may be in danger—or worse—Deanna enlists the help of her intrepid maid, Elspeth, and her former beau, Joe Ballard, to find Amabelle before the villain of this drama demands an encore.
Q: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself–maybe something readers might not guess? My name is Deanna Randolph, I’m eighteen, I live in Newport Island in 1895. Everyone thinks my sister is perfect (except that she gets the migraine). I love her and I guess that it’s good that everyone pays attention to her, because I get more freedom than I should. That’s okay. Because I like to do things that young ladies are not supposed to do.
Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best? Why?ˆ I get along with my maid Elspeth. She’s kind of my best friend because we spend so much time together, and she doesn’t let me get away with stuff and she helps me to stay brave. Plus she loves the dime novel detective stories we read on the sly. Nobody understand me like Elspeth does.
Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with? Why? Joe Ballard and I have lots of “misunderstandings.” He just doesn’t want me to do things, he’s worried about my reputation. I don’t know why. He and I were supposed to get married. And then he left society to work on his inventions. How’s that for my reputation. Our fathers planned it, and I didn’t want to get married, but it was a little humiliating. I want to see the world and learn new things, and not be tied down to society’s demands until I’m older. If even then.
Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author? She is such stickler. Has to research everything. I’m all ready to jump into some adventure and she leaves me mid-sentence, to check if it would really happen that way. I guess that’s okay because I wouldn’t want to be an anachronism, but it is really annoying.
Q: What’s next for you? In the next Newport Gilded Age Mystery, my friend Herbert comes to town with a new motor car that he’s testing for the first motor car race in America in Chicago. It riles some of the horse people and a murder leads to the people who run the races and threatens Herbert’s future and maybe even his life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shelley Freydont is the author of the Liv Montgomery Celebration Bay Mysteries, the Newport Gilded Age Mysteries, beginning with A Gilded Grave, as well as the Kate MacDonald Sudoku Mysteries and the Lindy Haggerty dance company mysteries.
As Shelley Noble, she is a NYTimes Bestselling author of women’s fiction, most recently, Whisper Beach.
A former professional dancer and choreographer, she most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. Shelley lives at the Jersey shore and loves puzzles, light houses and antique carousels. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.
For more about Shelley, please visit her website http://www.shelleyfreydont.com.
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