Motherless Jane Prescott arrives in New York from Scotland with her
father who promptly abandons her. Jane is brought up by her uncle, a
minister who runs a home for fallen women. Through her uncle's
benefactors, Jane is able to make a living working for New York's upper
class and working her way up to be the ladies maid to the daughters of
the wealthy Benchley family. Considered new money, the Benchley
family is still learning how to become a part of New York's elite society.
Pretty and sophisticated Charlotte Benchley is a recent debutante and
has her heart set on marrying handsome bad-boy "Norrie" Newsome,
Jr., the sole heir to his father's fortune. As Charlotte pushes for a ring,
Norrie promises her it will happen at his father and stepmother's ball on
Christmas Eve. Everyone knows, even Jane, that Norrie was promised
to Beatrice Tyler, but neither of them seems to care about that...
Shy and unattractive Louise Benchley always listens to their mother,
loves her dolls, and misses the quiet life she had in Scarsdale before
her family moves to the big city. Jane wants to help Louise learn to be
more outgoing and comfortable, and try to update her style, which
leads to Jane and Louise becoming friends.
The night of the ball arrives and just before midnight, Norrie is brutally
murdered. Jane discovers the bloody, mutilated body, and the search is
on to find the murderer. An attractive reporter, Behan, joins forces with
Jane to rule out suspects and pool their suspicions...
A DEATH OF NO IMPORTANCE is a
debut historical mystery from author Mariah Fredericks, featuring a
colorful era with delightful details into New York's upper crust in 1910
and those that served them. Our heroine, Jane Prescott, tells her story
about wealthy families, a handsome couple, and murder. It is a book
that you will find hard to put down. My theories were incorrect and
what a super-surprise ending! I believe there will be a sequel (or two)
to A DEATH OF NO IMPORTANCE,
and I look forward to continuing any future adventures told by Mariah
Fredericks. A great read!
Through her exquisite prose, sharp observation and deft plotting, Mariah Fredericks invites us into the heart of a changing New York in her remarkable debut adult novel, A Death of No Importance. New York City, 1910. Invisible until she’s needed, Jane Prescott has perfected the art of serving as a ladies’ maid to the city’s upper echelons. When she takes up a position with the Benchley family, dismissed by the city’s elite as “new money”, Jane realizes that while she may not have financial privilege, she has a power they do not—she understands the rules of high society. The Benchleys cause further outrage when their daughter Charlotte becomes engaged to notorious playboy Norrie, the son of the eminent Newsome family. But when Norrie is found murdered at a party, Jane discovers she is uniquely positioned—she’s a woman no one sees, but who witnesses everything; who possesses no social power, but that of fierce intellect— and therefore has the tools to solve his murder. There are many with grudges to bear: from the family Norrie was supposed to marry into, to the survivors of a tragic accident in a mine owned by the Newsomes, to the rising anarchists who are sick of those born into wealth getting away with anything they want. Jane also knows that in both high society and the city’s underbelly, morals can become cheap in the wrong hands: scandal and violence simmer just beneath the surface—and can break out at any time.