An Untimely Frost (Lilly Long #1)
by Penny Richards
published by Kensington
expected release date: July 26, 2016
genre: Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction
**Received e-galley from netGalley and publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Summary (Goodreads): In 1881 Chicago, the idea of a female detective is virtually unheard of. But when famed crime buster Allan Pinkerton opens his agency's doors to a handful of women, one intrepid actress with her own troubled past is driven to defy convention and take on a new and dangerous role. . .
Since the age of eleven, when her mother was murdered, the life of the theater is all Lilly Long has known. Now twenty-two, she has blossomed into an accomplished Shakespearean actress. But after her innocence--and her savings--are taken from her by a seductive scoundrel, Lilly vows to leave the stage, enter the real world, and save others from a similar fate. Following in the footsteps of the country's first female detective, Lilly persuades Allan Pinkerton to take her on.
Lilly's acting skills are a perfect fit for her real-life role as a Pinkerton operative. But her first case is a baptism by fire as she is sent to the small town of Vandalia to solve the mystery of a pastor who disappeared with his family--and the church's funds. When Lilly arrives, she finds the mere mention of the reverend's name provokes enmity or suspicious silence. Shadowed by a second Pinkerton agent with an agenda of his own, Lilly begins to uncover Vandalia's sordid secrets. But she'll have to deliver the performance of a lifetime to survive the final act of this drama.
My Thoughts: This is our introduction to Lilly Long. The newest agent for the famous Pinkerton Agency. Lilly decides to pursue this job after her husband's true nature is thrown in her face. Using her acting skills, she convinces (sorta) the Pinkerton brothers that she is the one they want.
The first assignment in Vandalia is not as easy as it would appear. Stories about a pastor with ulterior motives, missing money, and a haunted house greet Lilly once she arrives in town. I liked Lilly's ability to kept moving forward with her inquiries not matter how off putting the locals are. This did lead to some rather uncomfortable situations where Lilly ended up needing rescuing, usually by the mysterious boxer that Lilly keeps running into.
There were enough surprises and twists to keep you reading to find out what was going to happen next. Added into the mix is Lilly's memories of her mother's murder that tied in to the current story while also setting up for future books. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more.