Hi, Mary Ellis here. Today I’m reviewing a book I had the pleasure to read this past summer. Smoke and Mirrors, A Miss Barnum Mystery, by Casey Daniels is set in September, 1842, in New York City. Check out the opening line: They came in droves, the gullible and the curious, the naïve and the trusting and those who wanted so badly to believe they were willing to deny their suspicions and abandon their common sense. (Used by permission, copyright 2017, Connie Laux, Severn House Publishers) Yes, the story is set inside Phineas T. Barnum’s American Museum, a showplace of curiosities that was recently made into a film titled, The American Showman, staring Hugh Jackman. Please note: Daniels’s book predates the screenplay and movie by a wide margin.
Here’s the inside book jacket of Smoke and Mirrors: Evie Barnum is in the employ of her brother, Phineas T. Barnum, at his American Museum—a place teeming with curious scientific specimens and human wonders. In her unique workplace, Evie hopes she can bury her secrets. So when Andrew Emerson, an old friend, shows up at the museum, begging for her help, Evie does all she can to stay away. The next time she sees Andrew, he’s dead in front of the exhibit of the Feejee Mermaid. Suspicion for the murder falls on Jeffrey Hollister, also known as the Lizard Man of Borneo. But Jeffrey goes missing, and Evie is determined to solve the mystery of her friend’s murder, even if it brings her face-to-face with her past…
My conclusion? If you like tautly paced, historically accurate whodunits with fascinating characters along with a touch of romance, Smoke and Mirrors should be at the top of your to-be-read pile! I did not figure out the ending and found the story enjoyable from start to finish.
You can buy it on sale in Kindle at Amazon.
It's also available in library edition hardcover or in paperback. Thanks for dropping by Suspense Sisters today, readers! Mary Ellis