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  • Gilded Age Meets Belle Epoque

    <a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="Death at the Paris Exposition" src="" /></a><a href="">Death at the Paris Exposition</a> by <a href="">Frances McNamara</a><br/> My rating: <a href="">5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br /> Death at the Paris Exposition is the latest entry in the Emily Cabot Mysteries by Frances McNamara.<br>When Chicago socialite, Bertha Palmer, is named as US commissioner to the Paris Exposition of 1900, she employs Emily Cabot as her secretary. Paris means Fashion! Mrs. Palmer must have a suitable wardrobe for her upcoming social engagements and who better to fulfill her needs, but the iconic House of Worth! As assistant to the society doyenne, Emily is treated to a new outfit, suitable to her position.During a fitting for her new ball gown, Bertha Palmer's famous pearl necklace is stolen. The next, in a string of thefts of famous jewels, is the Cartier sapphire wedding gift to the daughter of Charles Worth. In the ensuing investigation, murder, deception, secrets and tangled love affairs lead to an exciting conclusion, when Emily sets a trap, which involves the famous Burmese ruby of Consuela Vanderbilt, the Duchess of Marlborough.<br>Through her extensive research, Frances McNamara has brought to life the periods of the Gilded Age and the Belle Epoque, when wealthy Americans brought their daughters to the continent to find noble and hopefully royal husbands. I loved all the description of the House of Worth, one of my favourites. Did this fashion house ever have a bad design? As Emily enters the House, we see everything, that her eyes see. The descriptions of the rooms, the exotic materials, the models and the clients make us wish, that we, too, were there! My sole tiny criticism is, that I wish she did the same justice to Cartier's too! How lucky were those, who were part of this world!<br>The description of the actual exhibition brought to mind, my own reminisces of an exhibition, that I visited as a young girl. How exciting it must have been, to see all the modern inventions of the time!<br>This is an author, who is new to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this entry in the Emily Cabot series and I will be sure to search out other titles by Frances McNamara.<br>I was given a copy by the author to review.<br><br>To be entered into a giveaway for a copy of this book see Words In Peace France Book Tours.<br>here is the code:<br><div> <a href="" target="_BLANK2" rel="nofollow">Entry</a> <a href="" target="_BLANK2" rel="nofollow">-Form</a> </div><br><br>= Global giveaway open to US residents:<br> 1 participant will win a print copy of this book<br><br> <br/><br/> <a href="">View all my reviews</a>

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  • Enjoyable 6th Entry in Historical Mystery Series

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. High society, a Paris setting and murder take center stage in Frances McNamara’s Death at the Paris Exposition, the sixth book in her Emily Cabot Mystery series. Taking place during the Paris Exposition of 1900, Ms. McNamara’s book is filled with colorful descriptions of haute couture at the turn of the 20th century, the historical and beautiful sights of Paris and a well-developed central character. If you like historical mysteries and reading about high fashion, this is a book you will most certainly enjoy. Ms. McNamara does a good job introducing her primary character, Emily Cabot, and the story’s setting right from the start. We learn about how Emily, and her family, have become a part of the American contingent to the Paris Exposition and how Emily hopes to use the opportunity for both work and a family learning experience. Ms. McNamara does an excellent job describing the high fashion of the time, along with the behavior of her patron during this trip, Mrs. Palmer, the wife of a very wealthy and powerful Chicago businessman. Mrs. Palmer is the only American “commissioner” at the Exposition and was determined to hire Emily to act as her “secretary” for both her social and “formal” engagements during their stay in Paris. A good portion of the book is devoted to the descriptions of the gowns and sights seen from the time they arrive to when they depart to the U.S. I liked Emily’s character almost right from the start but have to admit that it did take me a while to connect with her. I believe this is partly because this is the first book I’ve read in this series and Emily’s character, and those of her husband and children, were already well established and also because the story’s pace was somewhat slow. As I became more accustomed to Ms. McNamara’s voice as an author, and the pace, I did enjoy how the story developed. The secondary characters were colorful and very interesting, though Mrs. Palmer and another secondary character, trying to find a titled suiter for her daughter, both got on my nerves. There are actually two mysteries which Emily finds herself drawn into solving as the Exposition takes place; a series of jewel thefts and a murder which takes place during one of the fashion exhibits. While the French police are involved, and we are introduced to an interesting inspector, Emily is pushed into the investigations when Mrs. Palmer’s son becomes a person of interest in both investigations. While I was suspicious of one of the characters, who turned out to be involved, right from the start, I was surprised at the end when both mysteries are solved. As I stated earlier, I did think the story’s pace was a little slow, perhaps a bit too much emphasis was placed on the fashion part of the story and not enough on the mystery aspect, but I did enjoy Ms. McNamara’s voice and her descriptions were very detailed. You could tell she had done quite a bit of research and she did an excellent job discussing all of the couture houses in existence at the time. Will Emily discover who is stealing the priceless jewels at the exhibition before the thief strikes again? And why did a milner get killed at one of the high fashion exhibits? Are the two cases tied together? You’ll have to read Death at the Paris Exhibition to find out, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of this author’s work.

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