BY STACIE MURPHY
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Genre: Historical Mystery
A historical mystery in the vein of The Alienist, in which a young woman in Gilded Age New York must use a special talent to unravel a deadly conspiracy.
Amelia Matthew has done the all-but-impossible, especially for an orphan in Gilded Age New York City. Along with her foster brother Jonas, she has parleyed her modest psychic talent into a safe and comfortable life. But safety and comfort vanish when a head injury leaves Amelia with a dramatically-expanded gift. After she publicly channels an angry spirit, she finds herself imprisoned in the notorious insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. As Jonas searches for a way to free her, Amelia struggles to control her disturbing new abilities and survive a place where cruelty and despair threaten her sanity.
Andrew Cavanaugh is familiar with despair. In the wake of a devastating loss, he abandons a promising medical career—and his place in Philadelphia society—to devote himself to the study and treatment of mental disease. Miss Amelia Matthew is just another patient—until she channels a spirit in front of him and proves her gift is real.
When a distraught mother comes to Andrew searching for her missing daughter—a daughter she believes is being hidden at the asylum—he turns to Amelia. Together, they uncover evidence of a deadly conspiracy, and then it’s no longer just Amelia’s sanity and freedom at stake. Amelia must master her gift and use it to catch a killer—or risk becoming the next victim.
AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | INDIEBOUND
Advance Praise for A Deadly Fortune
“The 1893 world of the infamous lunatic asylum on Blackwell’s Island comes alive in frightening and horrific detail as a string of murders for profit is discovered when a young woman with a gift for contacting the dead becomes an accidental patient. She must fight for her life as well as her freedom in this engrossing mystery that reveals that all was not golden in Gilded Age New York.” —Rosemary Simpson, author of Death Brings a Shadow: A Gilded Age Mystery
“This engrossing mystery, rich in period detail, probes the dark side of Gilded Age New York and the even darker side of life at the insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. Plucky Amelia Matthew rises to the considerable challenges that surround her, uncovering increasingly dangerous secrets that point to the presence of a murderer in the asylum. Amelia has a special gift that both helps and complicates her search for the truth, making her a unique heroine. A Deadly Fortune builds to a satisfying conclusion that will whet the reader’s appetite for more of Amelia’s adventures!” —Clarissa Harwood, author of Impossible Saints and Bear No Malice
“Stacie Murphy proves herself to be a masterful storyteller with A Deadly Fortune—an elegantly written, fast-paced mystery that blends the dark side of the Gilded Age, great characters, and a paranormal twist. Impossible to put down.” —Julie McElwain, author of the Kendra Donovan Mystery Series
“Murphy serves up a dark side of the Gilded Age with intrigue, historical detail, and captivating characters. This is a mystery to savor!” —Dianne Freeman, award winning author of the Countess of Harleigh mysteries.
After a head injury Amelia Matthew's minimal psychic ability manifests into being able to see the dead as well as see a person's possible future death upon contact with them. Before Amelia can figure out what is happening, she has an incident in public and is taken to the asylum on Blackwell Island. Dr. Andrew Cavanaugh has had a falling out with society and has taken an upon position on Blackwell Island. He wants to know more about mental illness and women after a personal tragedy. When Amelia and Dr. Cavanaugh meet, a touch channels a spirit through Amelia that forces Dr. Cavanaugh to reexamine what he knows. Meanwhile, Amelia's friend Jonas is desperately trying to locate her and Dr. Cavanaugh's friend believes his sister has been taken against her will to Blackwell Island.
A Deadly Fortune is a riveting historical mystery set in New York's Gilded Age. With magic, suspense and historical detail, I was pulled onto Blackwell Island. The book jumps right into the action and at first, I had trouble placing when and where the story took place; however, once Amelia was taken to the infamous Blackwell Island, the setting fell into place. The treatment of Blackwell's patients was researched well and there was a lot of time given to life inside of the asylum and the condition of the women who were there. The mystery picked up halfway through the story as the characters realize even darker proceedings on the island. In addition, the characters were all very well developed. From Amelia, Jonas and Dr. Cavanaugh to the ladies on the island, each character was thought out. At first, I thought I was missing something with Amelia and Jonas' backstory, but it was revealed later in the story. I was also glad that Amelia and Dr. Cavanaugh's relationship did not take the forefront of the story, but there is definitely more to develop there. Overall, an engrossing historical mystery.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Stacie Murphy grew up near Nashville, TN. She began writing A Deadly Fortune in 2017 as a way to force herself to stay off Twitter in the evenings. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and the worst cat in the world.
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