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Museum Mysteries Books In Order

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Publication Order of Museum Mysteries Books

Fundraising the Dead (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Let's Play Dead (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fire Engine Dead (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Monument to the Dead (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Razing the Dead (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Privy to the Dead (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dead End Street (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Digging Up History (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Museum Mysteries Short Stories/Novellas

American mystery novelist Sheila Connolly has been writing her Museum Mysteries for some time now to a warm reception both critically as well as commercially, gaining a large audience worldwide. Going under her pen-name of Sarah Atwell, she was previously responsible to the Glassblowing Mystery series which received a lot of praise during its initial run. This then led up to her writing the Museum Mysteries series which was to also become a well-regarded series over the many years that were to follow. Set within the heart of Philadelphia, America, this collection of mystery stories features Nell Pratt as its central key protagonist, driving the action forwards. Working as a fundraiser for the museum there, she has a keen interest in history in what she feels is going to be normal peaceful career tending to the needs of the museum. Things change though after a body is discovered and she takes it upon herself to use her learning to and wealth of knowledge to get to the bottom of the case and stop the killer in their tracks.

As a genre there are many well worn conventions and this is a series that knows them well and plays with them as the books progress. The Museum Mysteries are novels that utilize their location well, as Connolly is a confident author with a keen sense of plot and character. With more books planned for release on the horizon, it appears she wont be stopping any time soon either.

Fundraising the Dead

Initially published on the 11th of September, 2010, this was the book that managed to establish the original premise of the series for its entire run. Setting up the location and the central protagonist, it set the tone for much of what was to come over the duration of the rest of the books. With its primary mystery as well, it managed to provide an idea of what style to expect too, creating a well rounded plot in the process.

Eleanor ‘Nell’ Pratt is an educated woman who values learning and book-smarts, but is also resourceful and astute, always able to spot a clue from afar and put together all the pieces before anyone else. She is also altruistic in nature and always willing to do the right thing, whatever the cost of that might be, and whatever the truth of the situation turns out to be. With a strong interest in history she has a vast wealth of knowledge and a keen eye for the finer details, always able to read between the lines of any case. The Pennsylvania town in which they reside also contains more than initially meets the eye as there’s always some nefarious deed just waiting to be uncovered by Nell as she’s made to put her skills to the test. With the relationships with those around her as well, she constantly finds herself coming to blows as the case progresses, especially her boss who she appears to be having an on and off relationship with.

As the chief fundraiser assigned to the Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques in Philadelphia, she must attend to any mishaps that might happen to them whilst there. Then the worst happens as a large collection of George Washington’s letters have gone missing, as well as an archivist who is coincidentally found dead just around the same time. This leads Nell to suspect the worst and it is up to her to get to the bottom of the case and find out what really happened here, and what the truth of the matter is. Will she be able to find the letters along with the killer, or will they strike again stealing more valuable exhibits in the process? Can she survive herself, or is her life under threat from someone who really doesn’t want to be found? What will become of her as she goes about fundraising the dead?

Let’s Play Dead

Continuing the Museum Mystery series on the 7th of June, 2011, this followed on directly from the first with another mystery to be solved. Keeping in with the same tone as the original, it was able to jump straight into the story this time having already established who the key protagonist is. Managing to retain much of the elements, it builds upon the environment of the museum as before, almost making it a character in its own right.

Still working in the museum, Nell this time must attend to a new exhibit there, one that’s displaying rather troublesome and ultimately fatal tendencies that could become problematic for any visitors. As one of the installers of a new display in the ‘Let’s Play’ exhibit is fatally zapped by an electric current, it is all down to Nell once again as she goes about finding out who’s responsible for this deadly children’s exhibition. Putting her detective skills to the ultimate test, she must find out what’s caused this catastrophe before it’s too late and it happens again. Will she be able to find out why this happened or will she be too late? Can she learn about who, if anybody, is behind this and why? What will become of her as she finds there are those in the museum that really aren’t playing dead?

The Museum Mysteries Series

Whilst they may appear to be basic light-hearted mysteries on the surface, they’re deceptively so, as there’s more to these books than initially meets the eye. With a greater level of depth to the material, Connolly uses the conventions of the genre to her advantage, providing something that’s been previously unseen. The locations are homely and comfortable, but just underneath the surface is an underworld brimming just waiting to break out. It is this unflinching aspect to her work that, whilst keeping it easily accessible, has managed to ensure readers keep coming back for more. The locations themselves are also well researched thanks to Connolly’s extensive knowledge of the area, giving them a sense of realism. This is something that appears to be set to continue for some time yet, as more books in the Museum Mysteries series are planned for the future.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Museum Mysteries

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