Cover Image: Death of an American Beauty

Death of an American Beauty

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

"Death of an American Beauty" is a mystery set in 1913 in New York. This book is the third in a series but it can be read as a stand alone. The characters were interesting and reacted realistically to events. There was a lot of interesting historical detail about what was going on at the time, though some of it was not directly related to the mystery. The novels tend to focus on the struggles faced by different ethnic groups.

Jane's uncle is accused of murder, so she tried to learn about a past, similar murder to solve the current ones. Jane was basically just randomly guessing the people she didn't like until her one clue became useful. She stupidly put herself in danger several times, not thinking out how she would accomplish her goal or the dangers involved. Frankly, I lost my respect for her as a detective. There were no sex scenes or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this historical mystery to those mostly interested in the historical aspects.
Was this review helpful?
I do not think Death of an American Beauty was a book for me. I just could not get into it. I am giving it two stars.
Was this review helpful?
1913. Lady's maid Jane Prescott is on holiday and aims to spend it with her uncle, the Reverand Tewin Prescott, at his women's refuge. But her selfish and self-centred employer Mrs Louise Tyler needs her help is making costumes for a pageant. Meanwhile one of the women at the refuge is murdered and the Reverand is suspected. So Jane decides to investiagte.
For me there was too much time spent on the social and historical background and not enough on the mystery. Though well-written is was just not interesting enough for me which is unfortunate as I enjoyed the previous two books in the series
Was this review helpful?
In her third Gilded Age adventure, clever and energetic lady's maid Jane Prescott seeks the solution to crimes threatening those dear to her. When vicious homicides are linked to a house of refuge for battered and exploited women, a chief suspect is the director, Jane's uncle. While puzzling the solution to the murders, Jane must also help her employer when the young socialite is drafted to take a role in a pageant commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, held in tandem with a beauty contest sponsored by an elegant New York  department store. Like the previous novels in this series, the appealing heroine, her circle of interesting acquaintances, and intriguing period details create an entertaining piece of historical fiction. Note: The publisher supplied an advance reading copy via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.s
Was this review helpful?
Wow, I love the setting of this series in Gilded Age, NYC. It's amazing. So fun! Loved this book so much I picked up the other two books in the series. 

Many thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Jane Prescott, lady's maid, and amateur sleuth is back in a new adventure, this one a bit closer to home.  On a week's hiatus from her position in the Tyler household, Jane spends the break at her uncle's house of refuge for women where she resides when her services are not needed.  When two women who reside in the house are brutally murdered, Jane must put her sleuthing skills to the test in order to clear her uncle of suspicion.  Of course nothing is quite what it seems and Jane must sift out fact from fiction before time runs out.  
The newest in the historical mystery series featuring the fierce Jane Prescott was a fast paced romp through Gilded Age New York City.  Previous books in the series featured explorations of different social issues prominent during the time and the newest adventure delves into the history of newspapers and the impact this has on both the murder investigation and society as a whole.  While the mystery was fun to untangle, the real delight for me in this novel was jumping headfirst into Gilded Age New York City and the social complexities that were central to the time.  Readers get a much anticipated, more personal look at Jane and her family, as the mystery falls a bit closer to home.  Overall this was an enjoyable, complex mystery full of fascinating historical details perfect for those looking for a light mystery with a bit of historical complexity as well.
Was this review helpful?
I received this from Netgalley.com for a review.

Third in series. While Jane Prescott is on a much anticipated vacation, she gets caught up in a murder investigation.

A good addition to the series, lots of historical background on Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation as well as suffrage and women's rights.

3 ☆
Was this review helpful?
Jane Prescott was hoping to enjoy a week's vacation, but she roped into assisting her employer Louise Tyler in a performance celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The idea is the brain child of socialite Dolly Rutherford whose husband operates the huge Rutherford Department Store. Jane plans to stay in her childhood home, a refuge for abused or prostituted  women, but when one of the young women is found murdered near the refuge, her uncle becomes a suspect.  

I found the motivation for the crimes to be weak an did not enjoy this book as much as the previous one by the author.
Was this review helpful?
This is my first book by Fredericks, and I am impressed with her handle of history. She clearly enjoys New York City history and American history in general. At times, historical tidbits did interrupt the narrative, but as I am also a fan of history, I didn't really mind. Some of the snippets Fredericks shared were quite fascinating, and it fit with the character of Jane Prescott, giving the reader a view to Jane's interest in contemporary affairs.

This is not the first book in the Jane Prescott series, but I easily slipped into it. Fredericks does an excellent job of catching the reader up while not launching into large recaps of previous books. I felt an instant connection to Jane. It's nice to find a character that is not rich, a socialite or celebrity. Jane is a simple maid that encounters every walk of life in 1910s New York City.

She is accidentally pulled into a murder mystery involving her uncle's refuge for former prostitutes. The mystery is not so complex as to require a gumshoe, but it reveals the many layers of society in NYC at the time and the tensions between the two that so easily thwarted police work. This book is an excellent exhibition of social complexities of 1910s NYC.

The ending felt rushed, but it was satisfying. I will definitely be picking up Jane's next adventure.
Was this review helpful?
This was a good historical mystery.  The premise and characters were intriguing and the whodunit kept me guessing.
Was this review helpful?
Death of an American Beauty by Mariah Fredericks

Fun from start to finish, this historically based novel will hold the mystery for you until the end. Miss Jane Prescott, our protagonist, persists in finding answers. Mariah Frederick’s way with words are a joy to read and will have you smiling throughout. 

It’s time for the yearly beauty pageant at  Rutherford’s, the New York City department store where only the finest ladies of the early 1900s shop for the finest things. Everyone associated with Rutherford’s is vested in this pageant, including Jane. 

Within days, however, two young girls known to both Jane Prescott and her do-good uncle are found dead near where the Prescotts live. There is no clue as to why they were killed. Ah, but that was before Jane started asking questions. There are suspects and Jane will ferret out the truth. 

If you would like an easy beach or book club read, this funny, well put together story is a perfect choice for readers of all levels. 

Thank you to #StMartinsPress and #NetGalley for a chance to read and review this title ahead.
Was this review helpful?
The novel takes place during the Gilded Age in New York City.  The protagonist, Jane, works as a maid for a mrs. Tyler and  lives in her uncles house of refuge for women. When two of the women are savagely murdered Jane wants to find out who antagonist is.because her uncle is a suspect. Throughout the novel she selects different men only to find out they are not the villain. Mrs Rutherford of Rutherford Department store is putting on a American Beauty pageant and Jane must decide. whether or not to work as a seamstress or enjoy her holiday.. (which will become relevant later on.). The novel beautifully describes the characters and Jane’s  obsession with each one. She seeks out Otelia a woman who was at the home after being cut on her face to find out what she remembered about the attack but Otelia only remembers that she had cut him on his wrist. At the end of the story Jane figures out who the antagonist is, but is caught by him and is fighting for her life when she is saved by Otelia who shoots the man. Otelia is then accused and no one believes Jane that Otelia had saved her life. The evidence is in the man’s safe but his wife won’t let the police open it. Finally Jane convinces a reporter that she had thought was the villain and had stirred up the accusations against her uncle to write a campaign to have the safe opened. Once the safe was opened and the antagonist was verified Otelia was let out of prison.
The novel explores how the black people were treated during this timeframe. I have not read the first two novels in this series but this novel stands on it’s own. Thanks to St. Martin Press and netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.
Was this review helpful?
Another enjoyable outing with ladies maid Jane Prescott. I continue to appreciate the NYC history that Fredericks threads throughout her novels, which is done somewhat more artfully this time around (although it does still seem like an expositional information dump at times). 

The mystery itself wasn't that engaging, and only a few of the characters seem three-dimensional, but Jane is so striking and the milieu is described so well that I can recommend the series as a whole, and this volume in particular, for anyone who enjoys historical mysteries.
Was this review helpful?
Third in the series another well written involving read.Love books set inNew York .A story that kept me involved turning the pages characters that come alive a series I recommend. #netgalley#st.martinsbooks.
Was this review helpful?
This is the third book in the Jane Prescott Series, and is my least favorite in the series thus far. The mystery was easily solved and the character development wasn't as strong as in the first two books. I still love the main character, Jane, and I appreciate that the author explores different social issues in each book.
Was this review helpful?
early-20th-century, historical-research, historical-fiction, murder-investigation, amateur-sleuth, NYC *****

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Gossip mongering cruel and grasping media reporters, hypocritical religious fanatics, racial profiling, testosterone poisoned madmen with knives, now or a hundred years ago police and citizens are plagued by the same old things. And Jane is motivated to find the brutal murderer of one of The Refuge's downtrodden women. Tough job for a lady's maid whose uncle operates The Refuge. But she is a good sleuth and the story kept me awake too late! Don't miss this one!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from St Martin's Press / Minotaur Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
Was this review helpful?
This is a solid historical mystery with an excellent lead character. Good dialog and a well constructed mystery make this engaging. I'm going to have to circle back circle back to the previous book in the series. Recommended.

I really appreciate the ARC for review!!
Was this review helpful?
I've loved the first two books in the series and have found Jane to be an intelligent observer who certainly has some flaws but is a genuinely enjoyable character to have narrate. This is a wonderful Gilded Age era mystery with excellent twists and turns, fantastic characterization, and a fantastic sense of time and place with true historical details interwoven, it makes you feel the atmosphere of 1910s New York. I hope there are more books to come!
Was this review helpful?
The third in a series of mysteries set in New York in the 1910s, Death of an American Beauty is just as well-paced, evocative, and thought-provoking as the first two books. Jane Prescott, the lady's maid who narrates the stories, is admirable but flawed. Her quick wit and insightfulness make the books a true delight, even for people like me who aren't huge fans of mysteries. And the depictions of the era's mores and prejudices are sadly all too relevant today. I'm already looking forward to the fourth book in the series!

Thank you, NetGalley and St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books, for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Loved this book.
Jane works as a lady’s maid and is on a weeks break.She stays at her uncles houses here she grew up  which is also a sort of a refuge for women of ill repute.
She also gets called to help her employer with costumes for a play at Rutherfords department store.
During all this they find one of the women from the refuge murdered in an alley by the house in a very brutal manner.
Jane sets out to find out who the murderer is.
Thankyou Netgalley for this ARC
Was this review helpful?