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Rosemary Simpson Books In Order

Publication Order of Gilded Age Mystery Books

What the Dead Leave Behind (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lies That Comfort and Betray (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Rosemary Simpson is an American author best known for writing a series of historical contemporary romance and whodunit mysteries set in New York City. Simpson was born in New York and right from a very young age was introduced to a wander lust inherent in her family. By the time she was in college, she had travelled through most parts of the US, South East Asia, japan, Europe before she settled down in France. After a few years living in France she moved back to the States for an undergraduate degree and finally a master in French Literature and language. As a child, she was always beholden to reading and would read historical works of fiction. She particularly loved “Katherine” the classic work by Anya Seton, which she read and reread tens of times throughout her childhood.

The fascination in Rosemary Simpson’s works is the inherent conflict between historical reality and the gaping and often frequent holes in history, which she so excellently showcases. According to Simpson, history can only provide so much verifiable facts through which we can recreate the past and tell a story. As such, she writes the novels to ensure that she tells the story without violating the historical integrity while making up what cannot be proven. In this endeavor, Rosemary Simpson’s exploration of the far east Europe and the US have proved valuable. They provide the backstory for the wanderings thought the most wonderful, obscure and frightening geography and byways of time. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and spends much of her time writing her novels.

Before she decided to become a historical mystery novel writer, Simpson was a writer of pure historical fiction. Her debut novel was ”The Seven Hills of Paradise” a novel based on the Fourth Crusade to the Holy Land. The novel is told from the perspectives of two men that were among the survivors of the 1204 sack of Constantinople that came back home to France to tell their story. Robert de Clari was among the poorest of the noblemen that embarked on the crusades, while his counterpart was Geoffrei de Villehardouin a leader of noblemen, and a very rich man. The novel has variously been compared to the works of Zoe Oldenbourg and Maurice Druon given its highly accurate, graphic, convincing, and absorbing nature. Simpson followed up her debut with “Dreams and Shadows”, a historical novel that is set in 1920s New York, colonial Morocco, and Nazi occupied Paris. Similar to her first novel, it tells the story from multiple perspectives told by the persons that were in Paris during the war years. A story that combines fiction and fact it brims with realism, intensity, and Rosemary’s telltale dignified and hauntingly graceful prose.

Rosemary Simpson’s first historical Mystery was the critically acclaimed title “What the Dead Leave Behind”, a novel set in New York City’s Gilded Age. The series starts out with the death of a seemingly insignificant person in the 1888 “Great Blizzard” and ends with a promise of better days for the unconventional heroine who comes into wealth and independence. With real life historical figures populating its pages the series is laden with a sense of familiarity and authenticity and the widespread political corruption and extravagant wealth typical of the period. In the second novel, “Lies That Comfort and Betray”, Rosemary Simpson goes into the dank and dark underbelly of the society to unearth the rot underneath the glittering façade of the society.

“What the Dead Leave Behind” is Simpson’s debut novel that made her name as one of the best historical fiction authors in the US. The lead character in the series is Prudence MacKenzie, a wealthy 19 year old daughter of a judge who has just died. The death of Thomas Mackenzie her father has left her stunned, even though he has left her something very valuable; training in deduction and logic after the early death of her mother. Three months after burying her father finds her on Fifth Avenue anxiously scanning the streets for Charles Linwood her fiancé, in the snowstorm of the season. After waiting in vain for Charles, she learns that he had been one of the casualties of the blizzard after he was involved in a freaking accident. However, the man was found clutching a playing card and with an unlikely wound that made MacKenzie doubt the official story. Given that her father had put Charles next in line to inherit his estate and her evil stepmother third, Prudence finds herself in a bind. She teams up with Geoffrey Hunter, a former Pinkerton agent that had also been fast friends with Charles to investigate the mysterious deaths. “Dreams and Shadows” is a compelling narrative with a well-researched history and a colorful detective duo.

“Lies that Comfort and Betray” is the second novel in the series that sees Prudence, a judge’s daughter turned amateur detective and her unlikely partner team up to find America’s version of Jack the Ripper. For the elite of New York, New York is in the Gilded Age of prosperity twenty three years after the Civil War. But for Prudence MacKenzie, she has the experience that most women from well-bred society never have to go through. She is recovering from the double death of her father and confidante, and that of her fiancé. She also tries to recover from an addiction to Laudanum that had been introduced into her system by her evil stepmother. Even as she is mentally and physically fragile, she would never allow Geoffrey Hunter her partner in their investigative law firm to prevent her from doing her job. Nora Kenny her childhood friend and servant had her throat slit and her body dumped on Fifth Avenue. Despite the police’s determination to paint Nora’s fiancé as the killer, Geoffrey and Prudence vow to find the real killer. It is not long before two more murders confirm that a serial killer might be on the loose. A few days of investigations reveal a common aspect of all deaths thus far reported: the St Anselm’s church. Prudence’s quest for justice for her best friend Nora and the other victims of the Ripper see her confront a wealthy heir a mysterious French nobleman, and a priest that is too handsome for his own good. “Lies that Comfort and Betray” is the ultimate narrative full of twists, turns and danger that make for a thrilling adventure.

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