Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Secrets of Sloane House: A Chicago World's Fair Mystery by Shelley Gray

SloaneHouse_300Shelley Gray's first Chicago World's Fair mystery is set in the lavish home of the wealthy Sloanes.
Every aspect of the gilded mansion from its delicate bone china tea cups to the elaborate nightly parties is overwhelming for the newest maid, Rosalind Perry, straight from Wisconsin's farmland. Trying to understand the workings of the house is challenge enough, but soon Rosalind realizes that Vericona Sloane feels maids are about socially equal to a stray cat, and her brother Douglass's interactions with the young women of the staff is a mixture of disdain and inappropriate attention.  
What the other staff or the Sloanes do not know is that Rosalind is really the sister of a former maid who has disappeared without a trace, and her real purpose in coming to Chicago is to find answers.
At first Rosalind fears trusting anyone with her story, but eventually it is to Reid Armstrong, a friend of Douglass, that Rosalind turns.

If you like Downton Abbey or late 19th Century period pieces, you will like this story.  Gray captured the inner workings of the house and even the atmosphere of the streets surrounding the wealthy neighborhood.  The book does tie into the World's Fair, but that is not the predominate setting. I don't think anybody will top THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY for bringing the fair to life.  But this is a different type of book and it is well done. Gray keeps the intrigue and mystery under close wraps.  I had several theories about what happened to Rosalind's sister, and although one theory was close, it was not correct. While it is great to figure out a mystery before the end, being surprised with a believable ending you had never considered is a great surprise.  I am looking forward to the second book in the series DECEPTION AT SABLE HALL which releases this spring. I think this is the first book by Gray that I have read and from her website, it appears most of her books are Amish romances, so this historical themed book is new ground for her.  I obtained a copy of SECRETS OF SLOANE HOUSE through the Winnefox Library System.

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