The Conjurer

The Martha Beale Mysteries

Book 1
Open Road Media
4
Free sample

An heiress breaks free of social conventions and attempts to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance in 1842 Philadelphia in Cordelia Frances Biddle’s first Martha Beale mystery

When her father fails to appear for lunch at their country estate, Martha Beale knows something is wrong. The family’s faithful dogs discover Lemuel Beale’s hunting rifle by the river, but there is no sign of the millionaire financier. Refusing to believe he is dead, his daughter—and sole heir—begins a discreet investigation with the help of the mayor’s aide, Thomas Kelman.

But Philadelphia in 1842 is a dangerous place for a female, especially a twenty-six-year-old single woman. Martha’s quest for answers takes her from the pinnacle of high society, which is abuzz about a visiting European conjurer who communicates with the dead, to the city’s tragic slums where a brutal killer is targeting young prostitutes—and through it all Martha will confront the most ruthless aspects of human nature.

In a story deeply rooted in time and place and brimming with atmosphere and suspense, Cordelia Frances Biddle conjures a mesmerizing world of intrigue and hidden desires.
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About the author

Cordelia Frances Biddle is the author of the Martha Beale Mystery series. A member of one of Philadelphia’s oldest families, she uses many of her actual ancestors as characters in her historical mysteries. She also cowrote the Nero Blanc Crossword Mystery series with her husband, Steve Zettler, with whom she lives in Philadelphia. Her website is www.cordeliafrancesbiddle.com.
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3.5
4 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Jun 17, 2014
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Pages
309
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ISBN
9781480490642
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Three mysteries set in nineteenth-century Philadelphia: From elegant drawing rooms to tragic slums, an heiress investigates a string of shocking crimes.

The first three instalments in the acclaimed Martha Beale Mystery series are “a feast for those fans who enjoy engaging characters and . . . readers who loved Caleb Carr’s attention to detail in The Alienist and Jacqueline Winspear’s appealing sleuth, Maisie Dobbs” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
 
The Conjurer: When Martha’s father disappears from the family’s country estate, she begins an investigation that takes her from the pinnacle of society—abuzz with the arrival of a European conjurer who communicates with the dead—to the city’s poorest neighborhoods where a killer is targeting prostitutes.
 
“Biddle wonderfully evokes the color and culture of the time.” —Publishers Weekly
 
Deception’s Daughter: Now the guardian of two young children, Martha returns to Philadelphia to find it torn apart by the disappearance of a young heiress and a succession of unsolved robberies. Martha acts as liaison between the mayor’s aide and the missing girl’s parents, but the investigation takes a darker turn as rich and poor alike face a deadly threat.
 
“A good read . . . skillfully evokes the elegant society salons and grubby streets of 1842 Philadelphia.” —Philadelphia Magazine
 
Without Fear: When a mill worker’s corpse is found on an estate outside Philadelphia, Martha joins the investigation. But a friend also needs help escaping her abusive socialite husband. As Martha navigates the growing divide between classes, she comes face-to-face with an evil that touches everyone, including her own adopted daughter.
 
“The setting is unfolded as vividly as the characters. . . . A fine mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist
 
Soon to be a major motion picture from Lionsgate starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively and Henry Golding, and directed by Paul Feig

"Riveting and brilliantly structured, A Simple Favor is an edge-of-your seat domestic thriller about a missing wife and mother that relies on a rotating cast of unreliable narrators to ingeniously examine the cost of competitive mom-friends, the toll of ordinary marital discontent and the fallacy of the picture-perfect, suburban family."—Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author

She’s your best friend.

She knows all your secrets.

That’s why she’s so dangerous.

A single mother's life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.

But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.

Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.

A Simple Favor is a remarkable tale of psychological suspense—a clever and twisting free-fall of a ride filled with betrayals and reversals, twists and turns, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge. Darcey Bell masterfully ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing story that holds you in its grip until the final page.

Three mysteries set in nineteenth-century Philadelphia: From elegant drawing rooms to tragic slums, an heiress investigates a string of shocking crimes.

The first three instalments in the acclaimed Martha Beale Mystery series are “a feast for those fans who enjoy engaging characters and . . . readers who loved Caleb Carr’s attention to detail in The Alienist and Jacqueline Winspear’s appealing sleuth, Maisie Dobbs” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
 
The Conjurer: When Martha’s father disappears from the family’s country estate, she begins an investigation that takes her from the pinnacle of society—abuzz with the arrival of a European conjurer who communicates with the dead—to the city’s poorest neighborhoods where a killer is targeting prostitutes.
 
“Biddle wonderfully evokes the color and culture of the time.” —Publishers Weekly
 
Deception’s Daughter: Now the guardian of two young children, Martha returns to Philadelphia to find it torn apart by the disappearance of a young heiress and a succession of unsolved robberies. Martha acts as liaison between the mayor’s aide and the missing girl’s parents, but the investigation takes a darker turn as rich and poor alike face a deadly threat.
 
“A good read . . . skillfully evokes the elegant society salons and grubby streets of 1842 Philadelphia.” —Philadelphia Magazine
 
Without Fear: When a mill worker’s corpse is found on an estate outside Philadelphia, Martha joins the investigation. But a friend also needs help escaping her abusive socialite husband. As Martha navigates the growing divide between classes, she comes face-to-face with an evil that touches everyone, including her own adopted daughter.
 
“The setting is unfolded as vividly as the characters. . . . A fine mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist
 
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