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    A delightful historical mystery book.

    Review of an Advanced Reader Copy. The fourth Hattie Davish mystery is an absolutely delightful book. Readers of historical fiction and mystery will love this addition to the series. When the father of an old friend dies, Hattie travels to her old hometown of St. Joseph Missouri to attend the funeral. There she meets her old friend and former colleagues and instructors from her secretarial college alma mater. The funeral, however, raises more questions that it answers. As Hattie walks the streets of her old hometown, the author paints a vivid picture of not only the city, but also of the era. The historical detail of this book is vivid and the mysteries are reviting. Mix in a touch of nostalgia and intrigue about the "Wild West" and you have an entertaining, captivating and enthralling book.
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    Best of the series

    I have really been enjoying this series and this was my favorite. I really liked learning more about Hattie's background and her Father's death. Hattie returns to St. Joe for a funeral of her best friend's father and the mysteries begin right away. Hattie is of course determined to solve them all. This series should be read in order. Enjoy
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    The mystery is a cinch to solve!

    A Deceptive Homecoming by Anna Loan-Wilsey is the fourth book in the Hattie Davish Mystery series. Hattie Davish has returned to her home town of St. Joseph, Missouri for the funeral of her best friend’s father. Virginia “Ginny” Hayward and Hattie went to school together at Mrs. Chaplin’s School for Women. Hattie was devastated when she lost her father and wanted to be there for Ginny. Hattie is a traveling secretary to Sir Arthur Windom-Greene and will return to Newport, Rhode Island after the funeral. When Hattie sees the body of Frank Hayward, she knows that it is not Frank. She tries to tell Ginny, but she refuses to listen (she is also very cold and distant towards Hattie). Then Hattie receives an anonymous note written in an outdated shorthand. It asks Hattie to help. Hattie knows it is about Mrs. Chaplin’s school. There have been several incidents at the school and no one seems to know who is behind them. Someone set a fire, stole pages from textbooks, destroyed champagne at a party, and embezzled money from the school (these are just a few of the incidents). Hattie wants to help Mrs. Chaplin find the culprit behind these occurrences. Then Hattie happens upon Mrs. Bertha Yardley. She is looking for her husband, Levi. When Hattie sees a picture of Levi Yardley, she notices that he could be Frank Hayward’s twin (except for the nose). Hattie could see how Levi could have been mistaken for Frank since the face had been damaged in the accident. Looking for Levi leads Hattie to the State Lunatic Asylum (the last place Hattie wants to visit). Hattie’s father died in the asylum and it brings back bad memories for her. Dr. Cyrus Hillman (who also treated Hattie’s father) was Levi’s doctor. He claims that Levi escaped from the asylum and has not been found. Dr. Hillman is not being completely forthright with Hattie and Mrs. Yardley. Hattie is determined to find out who was in the coffin and what Dr. Hillman is hiding. Hattie believes that Dr. Hillman contributed to her father’s death and the truth will be beneficial to Hattie (she will be free to move on with her life). Hattie’s employer, Sir Arthur has asked Hattie to do a little research while she is in town (it’s not like she is doing anything else), and her beau, Walter (a doctor) would like a souvenir from the Jesse James’s house (where he was shot). Hattie is going to be very busy while in St. Joseph. She will have to keep her wits about her to solve the crimes (especially since someone seems to be following her). A Deceptive Homecoming can be read without reading the first three books in the series, but there are references to incidents and people (from the other books) that are not completely explained. Hattie’s beau, Walter is mentioned several times throughout the book, but we never get his last name or other details about him (except he is a doctor). I found Hattie to be a contradictory character. One minute she is strong, nosy, and determined, and then she is fainting, scared, and wanting to go home. We are also never told what year it is in the book. I am guessing it is around 1890 or later from the descriptions of clothing, hat, behavior, etc. I give A Deceptive Homecoming 3 out of 5 stars. I think there is too much in this book. The mysteries were child’s play to solve. All the mysteries relate to each other, but it can get very confusing (with all the people and details). I received a complimentary copy of A Deceptive Homecoming from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
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    Home Isn't Always What You Remember

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review. A historical mystery set during the Gilded Age, A Deceptive Homecoming by Anna Loan-Wilsey is the fourth installment in her Hattie Davish Mystery series. A well-developed female sleuth, colorful secondary characters, a good mystery and plenty of action kept me turning the pages to discover what would happen next. If you like a strong heroine, a good mystery and learning about social behavior in America’s past, this is a book you’ll want to pick up. Also, don't worry if you haven't read the previous books in the series as each book can be read and enjoyed on its own. Having already established Hattie Davish as a well-trained and educated traveling secretary, Ms. Loan-Wilsey brings her main character home to St. Joseph, Missouri for her best friend Virginia Hayward father’s funeral. Arriving just in the nick of time for the funeral itself, Hattie knows something isn’t right but can’t quite figure it out. At least not until she gets a good luck at the man in the casket and realizes he doesn’t have the distinguishing scar that should be over his right eye. When her friend insists Hattie is wrong and questions why Hattie has bothered to come home, Hattie begins to think she’s made a terrible mistake but as she spends more time at “home”, she realizes nothing is quite as it seems. Having read the previous book in this series, A Sense of Entitlement, I already felt as if I had an old friendship with Hattie’s character and this installment simply deepened our friendship. I admire her determination to be a self-supporting and independent woman at a time when the average woman was more concerned with finding a husband to take care of them. While Hattie is romantically involved with someone, who was introduced in a previous book, she doesn’t make him the center of her world and can easily fend for herself. I especially enjoyed this installment as we get to know more about where Hattie grew up and how she became who she is. The secondary characters were well developed and very interesting. I understood Hattie’s dismay when her friend Virginia acted strangely towards her and was determined to keep her at arms-length. I also enjoyed getting to meet the women at Mrs. Chaplin’s School for Women, where Hattie obtained her secretarial training and learned to rely on her education for her future. All of the teachers where quite colorful, as are the current students they are training. Especially since the young women consider Hattie somewhat of a celebrity due to her “crime solving” skills. The mystery is well written, takes several twists and turns and is tied to Mrs. Chaplin’s school and its finances. It’s also tied to Virginia’s father Frank Hayward, since he was in charge of the school’s finances. As Hattie investigates the strange behavior of her best friend, the curious situation at her alma-matter and her own emotions regarding her former home, her search for the truth takes her from the streets of St. Joseph to an insane asylum. It also puts her on a collision course with a murderer who has no qualms about disposing of anyone who gets in the way. Will Hattie discover the real identity of the man in the casket? Will she figure out what her friend Virginia is hiding and be able to save her friend from a terrible mistake? Will Hattie be able to discover the truth before anyone else gets hurt? You’ll have to read A Deceptive Homecoming to find out. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next book in this series.
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