FALLEN WOMEN by Sandra Dallas

fallenPUBLISHING INFO: St. Martin’s Press, 10/2013
GENRE: Historical Mystery
SETTING: Colorado, USA, 1885
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

From Publisher: It is the spring of 1885 and wealthy New York socialite Beret Osmundsen has been estranged from her younger sister, Lillie, for a year when she gets word from her aunt and uncle that Lillie has died suddenly in Denver. What they do not tell her is that Lillie had become a prostitute and was brutally murdered in the brothel where she had been living. When Beret discovers the sordid truth of Lillie’s death, she makes her way to Denver, determined to find her sister’s murderer. Detective Mick McCauley may not want her involved in the case, but Beret is determined, and the investigation soon takes her from the dangerous, seedy underworld of Denver’s tenderloin to the highest levels of Denver society. Along the way, Beret not only learns the depths of Lillie’s depravity, but also exposes the sinister side of Gilded Age ambition in the process.

MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed this. It’s a rare occurrence that I’m anxious to continue reading a book after I’ve put it down temporarily but that’s what happened every time I put the book down to take a break from reading. For me it was a true page-turner.

This was an interesting whodunit. We’re given plenty of suspects, some of which I wouldn’t have suspected of the murders. Was it someone’s ex-husband or possibly a father-son duo? The coachman or the butler? Or none of them? Someone close to her or a stranger? Lillie had been involved with many men and the killer could have been any one of them. I like William, the uptight butler, and would like to see him in a future novel. At one point I was wondering if it was him who’d done the killings. I was only slightly surprised to find out who the real killer was. When you read a book like this you suspect everyone at one point.

I don’t like the heroine, Beret, at all. She’s cold and a bit curt with most people. She loves yet hates Lillie, who at twenty-two is ten years younger than herself. They’re the opposite appearance-wise and perhaps Beret is a touch jealous. I didn’t have an opinion about Beret early on. I began to dislike her strongly when I got to the part when she thinks to herself that she ‘hated’ Lillie and she ‘deserved’ to die, presumably for being a prostitute. Then I learned about where some of her dislike for her came from and how Lillie came to live, at first with their aunt and uncle in Denver, then the brothel, and I understood some of her hatred but not her thinking Lillie deserved to die. She also thought Jonas, the seventeen-ish coachman, was ‘ugly’ which made me uncomfortable since he’s got something physically wrong with him. When she learned Mick came from money she asked him why he worked. That irritated me and made me think she was an idiot for asking such a stupid question. But of course she’s not an idiot.

I like the detective, Mick, a lot and like how his part in the story ends. I hope this story turns into a series. It reminds me a bit of the Deadly series by Brenda Joyce, what with the rich heroine helping the detective hero, and the reporter who’s out to pester them. I’d really like to read about them working together some more.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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