A Golden Grave
In A Golden Grave, Erin Lindsey has crafted a novel that is mystery, romance, paranormal, and history lesson all in one. A few months before the story begins, Rose Gallagher was a poor Irish maid in the household of Thomas Wiltshire. After helping to solve the mystery of Thomas’ kidnap in the previous novel, Rose is now a Pinkerton Agent in a special branch dealing with supernatural occurrences, and her sleuthing partner is her former employer (and secret desire) Thomas Wiltshire.
Rose and Thomas are tasked with solving a puzzling crime. Six delegates at the 1886 Republican mayoral convention have been murdered, seemingly by the touch of a hand. The police department has covered up the murders, claiming that the victims died of a new form of typhoid. But it is obvious to Rose and Thomas that something else is afoot, perhaps something supernatural, and they plan to do their best to protect the Republican candidate, Theodore Roosevelt.
Without the aid of the police, Rose and Thomas start their investigation by visiting their friends who have ‘luck’:
“It’s a form of what’s called luck,” I explained, “which is just a broad term for any sort of extraordinary ability we don’t really understand… less than one percent of the population is lucky but it’s hereditary, so families with luck do tend to end up moving in the same circles.”
One friend’s luck means that she can smell where people have been, another’s that he can tell what someone has ingested in the last few days; another has a photographic memory, and Rose can sense the presence of a ghost. Using the talents of their friends, Rose and Thomas start to put together the picture of a criminal intent on harming the upper echelons of society and giving the common man a chance to rise to power. Now it’s a race to find this man who can seemingly kill by touch, and protect Theodore Roosevelt and his supporters from harm.
The mystery in A Golden Grave is well done and believable (if you can accept the paranormal activities) with everything being nicely tied up in the end – something I am coming to appreciate more and more. Rose is an interesting heroine. She is completely out of her league in the ballrooms of New York and has the added problem of an Irish accent at a time when the Irish were disdained. Rose is in the process of discovering her own worth, and is desperately trying to fit in with the Pinkertons but to not lose herself or her history along the way. It was harder to get to know Thomas as the book is written from Rose’s point of view. This is the second book in the series and, not having read the first, I may have missed out on learning more about him.
The romance was a little disappointing. There is some sexual tension between Rose and Thomas running through the book and there is one romantic encounter, but I wish Ms. Lindsey had notched the tension up a little. It would have been nice to have more casual touches or longing looks – things that would have added to the sense of a developing romance between the pair. I would have also liked more insight into what Thomas was thinking – it’s not until this delightful scene near the end of the book that we are given a glimpse of his thoughts and a hope that there may be more romance in the future.
“Watching you develop as an agent has been my singular pleasure…But it comes at a cost, as has been made vividly clear to me this week…And so I must ask myself, is it a cost I can bear? Do I have the strength to fear for you? Or, God forbid, to lose you? If the answer is no, what does that mean for our future as partners?”
My heart was beating fast now, the blood rushing to my face. He’d opened the door. It was time to walk through. “And what about our future as Thomas and Rose?”
I’m not sure what I expected, but I was completely unprepared for the look of quiet torment that flickered through his eyes. “There the dilemma is no less real, as you must know.”
Ms. Lindsey does a wonderful job bringing the charm and shadiness of the Gilded Age of New York City to life – from the corruption of the police force and Tammany Hall to the Fifth Avenue ballrooms to the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. She also peppers the mystery with famous people from history – Roosevelt, Nikola Tesla, Mark Twain, brilliantly using Tesla to craft all sorts of amazing devices to help find the criminals. It’s very entertaining to watch her weave real life events and friendships into the mystery. I commend all her homework!
The second book’s mystery can stand on its own but reading the first book in the series, Murder on Millionaire’s Row, may help the reader understand Rose and Thomas more. If you enjoy some history in your mystery, with the addition of some supernatural elements, you will want to add A Golden Grave to your TBR pile.