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Peril at the Exposition

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Peril at the Exposition

A Novel By: Nev March

Publish Date: 12 July 2022

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Mystery and Thrillers

100 Book ReviewsProfessional Reader

I would like to thank both NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read and review this book.

Book Review:

This is the second book in the series. This time I have already read and reviewed the first book which is Murder in Old Bombay. Do you have to read the first book before this one, not really but you will miss out on some information that is mentioned. The author doesn’t really go into the back history so as always, I would say yes read the first book. I gave this book 4 stars.

In this book Jim and Diana are newly married. He has a job in Chicago and leaves Diana in New York. She is still new to the United States and isn’t comfortable. Jim’s employee does send money every week to her to help with living expenses. She hasn’t heard from Jim in a long time, and she gets a strange visitor one day who is seeking out Jim. This person was sent a letter from Jim, and he really needs to speak with Jim. Diana is upset that this stranger has heard from her husband and yet Jim hasn’t written her. Come to find out Jim is really deep into his job. Diana decides to go to Chicago and look for him because she believes he is in trouble.

Things are not what they seem when she arrives in a Chicago. She is still learning things about our country and the world’s fair is there with new inventions. The city has a lot of people who has invested this fair, and everyone is out to protect their assets. She is able to befriend several people who she isn’t sure she can trust but she needs help.

I really enjoy the historical points in the story and the adventures that she finds herself in. It is fun seeing her trying to understand what our country is like and her not really getting it.

I would recommend this book for the fun and adventures.

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A charming intrigue set in Chicago during the Centennial Exposition. Lady Diana and Captain Jim are a great team of investigators in this second installment and I look forward to reading more featuring them. I completely felt engaged and part of the action in this novel, as an art history major I feel the details of the Great White City were followed fairly closely and enjoyed this setting. Thanks to #netgalley and #minotaurbooks plus @nevmarch for this arc of the ebook for #perilattheexposition to read. All opinions here are my own.

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This was an OK novel. Wasn’t really my type of book though, but I know there are a lot of people out there that will definitely love it.

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I really enjoyed the previous book and was intrigued by Captain Jim and Lady Diana. Now the couple are living in Boston and Jim is a detective for the Dupree Agency and Diana is training as a nurse. Jim is sent to Chicago for an assignment and after not hearing from him for weeks Diana decides to find him and deliver a message she received for him. There were a lot of characters and I found the mystery confusing. The characters didn't really seem to grow in this story and for a good portion the narrative switched between Jim and Diana. But even though I didn't really know what was going on mystery-wise the ending was a bit of a nail biter. I plan to continue with this author because the characters really are likeable.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with a digital copy.

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3.5 stars

In this 2nd book in the 'Captain Jim Agnihotri' historical mystery series, private detective Jim Agnihotri and his wife Diana try to avert disaster at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The book works as a standalone but familiarity with the characters is a bonus.


After serving in the British army in India, Anglo-Indian Captain Jim Agnihotri became interested in being a private detective, like his fictional idol Sherlock Holmes. Now Agnihotri and his 22-year-old Persian-Indian wife Diana live in Boston, Massachusetts, and - due to a bureaucratic glitch on the couple's journey to America - Jim is now officially called James Agney O'Trey and his wife is Diana O'Trey.

As the story opens, Jim and Diana have been married for six months and are settling into their new home in Boston. Jim works for the Dupree Detective Agency, Diana is studying to be a nurse, and Jim is about to leave on an assignment in Chicago. The 1893 Chicago World's Fair is in full swing and a Pinkerton security guard named Thomas Grewe has been killed, presumably by discontented union members unhappy with their job situation.

The Dupree Detective Agency, which has connections in Chicago, has been hired to investigate Grewe's death. So a Dupree operative called Arnold Baldwin was sent to make inquiries, and Jim - who's a master of disguises - is now going to help Baldwin.

Diana is very nervous about her husband going to Chicago, but Jim assures her he'll be back in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, this is far from the case. Diana doesn't hear from Jim for over a month, and when Diana contacts the Dupree Detective Agency, she learns that detective Andrew Baldwin was murdered and the agency doesn't know Jim's whereabouts. Thus Diana, who's been learning detective skills from Jim, decides to go to Chicago to find her husband.

Diana, who's very naïve about race relations in America, takes a Black porter named Tobias to help her; and on the train to Chicago, Diana hires a lady's maid/assistant called Abigail Martin.

Diana manages to locate her husband, who's working undercover. Jim has managed to infiltrate Chicago's disgruntled union workers and is trying to identify the person(s) who killed Thomas Grewe and Andrew Baldwin. Diana gets involved in the investigation as well, and together, the couple discover there's a nefarious plot to blow up the Chicago World's Fair.

The story requires some suspension of disbelief, especially with regard to Diana's exemplary detective work. I was also skeptical about Diana packing her expensive jewelry, elegant dresses, and Jim's best dress clothes and shoes when she embarks on this mission to Chicago.....but it all comes in handy. 🙂

The descriptions of 1890s Chicago and the Chicago World's Fair seem very authentic, and it's easy to picture the grime of the streets compared to the glamour of the exposition's exhibits. The Chicago World's Fair introduced the world to electricity, which soon lit up cities around the globe

I enjoyed reading about Diana's stay in Chicago's elegant Oriental Place Hotel, where she called herself Lady Diana and hobnobbed with the rich and famous. I also liked Diana's musings about her life back in Bombay, where Diana grew up in a wealthy Zoroastrian family. Diana's father taught her about business and money; Diana's lawyer brother helped her learn common sense; and Diana's loving mother decorated the house with tuberoses and prepared delicious Indian food like acooree (spiced scrambled eggs) and lamb vinadaloo.

Though I found this period mystery to be over-complicated with too many characters, it was enjoyable and interesting. Recommended to fans of the genre.

Thanks to Negtalley, Nev March, and Minotaur Books for a copy of the manuscript.

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Nev March is back with the Agnorohti's! Captain Jim from Murder in Old Bombay has returned, this time with his tiny Indian wife, Diana. I loved Murder in Old Bombay, and have been looking forward to reading March's next book. What I didn't expect and found most refreshing is that this time Peril At The Exposition focuses on Diana and her own sleuthing... this time to find her missing husband. Captain Jim went to Chicago and no one has heard from him for months. This isn't okay for a newly wed woman who has left her homeland of India and moved to Boston. She misses Jim and after getting a mysterious visitor who gives her a translated portion of a note that he received from her husband she is determined to find her husband.

What comes next is a mix of Jim's exploits trying to find a group of Anarchists dead set on destroying what, Jim didn't know, and Diana's amature, yet naive venture of finding Jim. This is set in 1893 during the Columbian Exposition or more famously called The Chicago World's Fair. Since I read Devil in the White City by Erik Larson I've been intrigued with Chicago and that famous fair. I found a video narrated by Gene Wilder called, Expo- Magic of White City, watched it and when I found out that Ms. March was writing a mystery revolving around the fair, I had to read it! I would suggest watching this video on Amazon AFTER you read Peril At The Exposition. It's very informative and might fill in some of the terminology that Ms. March uses and the lingo of the era...
I loved reading as Diana grew In independence, gaining confidants she can trust and the way she struggles to keep up on the hunt to find Jim. The characters in this story are diverse, intriguing and it was interesting to find out about their stories too.
This is definitely one of Ms. March’s finest writings. I look forward to reading her next adventure.

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The mystery was interesting and I like the way it tied in with the World's Fair, but I am not sure they would have fit in as well and the story seemed to go. I liked the first book better.

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This is such a richly imagined and well written historical mystery. The titular protagonist, Captain Jim Agnihotri, is a half English, half Indian officer and investigator who leaves India to take up a job in America with his young wife. He deals with racism because of his upbringing and skin color as well as being an Englishman in the US.

The relationship between Jim and his wife Diana is refreshingly honest (and modern). She's intelligent and headstrong, if naive. Both of them have a distinct honesty that's refreshing to read. The mystery is well constructed and the prose is nuanced and enjoyable. I did however find myself bumped out of my suspension of disbelief by some outlandish plot elements (a naive young woman of color out to save the city on her own, endangering everyone). The action moves the plot along quickly and the denouement and resolution are satisfying and fair play.

There are some very light romance elements, but not nearly to the degree of the first book. Readers who prefer strong romance subplots in their books will not find it here. There are some sweetly romantic moments between the (married) protagonists, but it's all euphemistically described and all "dancing" occurs off-page.

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Peril at the Exposition by Nev March is a 2022 Minotaur Books publication.

This is the follow-up to March’s outstanding debut- “Murder in Old Bombay”. As the story opens, we find Jim and Diana are now married and living in Boston. Jim is working as a detective for the Dupree Agency, and passing on his detecting skills to his wife…

But then Jim is sent away to Chicago, just as the World Fair is getting underway. Diana is left alone, and soon begins to worry when she doesn’t hear from Jim. To her horror the men at the Dupree Agency have also lost track of him, so Diana heads to Chicago hoping to find her husband… hopefully, alive…

I had high hopes for this one, but alas, I’m afraid I really struggled with it. The story moved slowly, and has a few too many characters flowing in and out, for my taste.

Though the plot, which was centered around the disgruntled anarchists who stirred up anger and unrest, is a terrific issue to explore, the backdrop didn’t hold the same intrigues of the original Indian landscape, and the wonderful chemistry between Jim and Diana wasn’t evident here. I never warmed to the secondary characters, and the suspense which should have built as the plot unfolded never fully got off the ground, causing the ending to fall flat in the process.

Overall, this sophomore effort simply did not measure up to its predecessor, but it is also possible that my expectations were set too high going in. To be fair- the story does have its merits and was enjoyable enough- it just didn’t impress in the way I had hoped.

That said, some of my favorite series suffered through a few rocky moments before I fully settled into them- so if this series does continue- I’ll give it a chance to properly develop.

2.5 rounded up

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I’m giving this book a rating for 3.25 stars. Going into this book, I was unaware that this was the second book in a series which required me to pickup on things from the first book for this book to make sense. Aside from that, this story follows Captain Agnihotri and his wife Diana, now living in Boston, solving a case in Chicago. I thought the writing in this story was very descriptive to the point where you felt transported back to Chicago at that period of time. I liked the book overall but definitely think I needed to read the first one to fully understand everything.

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Loved the storyline. The writing was choppy at times but not so much that it took away from reading.

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I requested this book because I had enjoyed <i>Murder in Old Bombay</i>. I have been trying to finish the book, but I cannot get enthusiastic about it. I thought it would be interesting to see things from Diana's point of view, rather than Jim's. Instead it feels like the book is trying to do too many things at once. Diana is trying to learn how to navigate American society. The Black man who comes with her to help look for Jim is attacked by a crowd because he tries to purchase her some refreshments during the journey, and then cannot stay at the same hotel. The maid she hires turns out to be a man in women's clothing who has had problems before with gender expectations. The case Jim is investigating involves anarchists, unions, and other problems of unrest of that era. It just doesn't seem to stick with any one thing enough to carry the reader past the point of unbelief and into the realm of being caught up in the action without distraction. I only made it through the first 25% of the book.

Perhaps other readers will be intrigued by the variety of issues it mixes in, rather than feeling that it bogs the story down.

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He did it again. A good book following his first and this may have been even better. I truly enjoyed every page. Look forward to more

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Captain Jim Agnihotri and his new bride, Diana Framji, return in Nev March's Peril at the Exposition, the follow up to March's award-winning, Edgar finalist debut, Murder in Old Bombay.

1893: Newlyweds Captain Jim Agnihotri and Diana Framji are settling into their new home in Boston, Massachusetts, having fled the strict social rules of British Bombay. It's a different life than what they left behind, but theirs is no ordinary marriage: Jim, now a detective at the Dupree Agency, is teaching Diana the art of deduction he’s learned from his idol, Sherlock Holmes.

Everyone is talking about the preparations for the World's Fair in Chicago: the grandeur, the speculation, the trickery. Captain Jim will experience it first-hand: he's being sent to Chicago to investigate the murder of a man named Thomas Grewe. As Jim probes the underbelly of Chicago’s docks, warehouses, and taverns, he discovers deep social unrest and some deadly ambitions.

When Jim goes missing, young Diana must venture to Chicago's treacherous streets to learn what happened. But who can she trust, when a single misstep could mean disaster?

Award-winning author Nev March mesmerized readers with her Edgar finalist debut, Murder in Old Bombay. Now, in Peril at the Exposition, she wields her craft against the glittering landscape of the Gilded Age with spectacular results.


Good book with good cover. I really invested in the characters and the plot easily. Look at the cover also! It's amazing. Can't wait for another book by Nev March!
Thanks Nev, Netgalley, and the publisher for the early copy!

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I thorough enjoyed Nev March's previous book, "Murder in Old Bombay." and was looking forward to reading this current book. Unfortunately, "Peril" does not convey the same excitement and is somewhat slow.

I have to rate it as 3.5, rounded to 4 stars.

I hope future books by Ms. March return to the excitement of her first.

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Captain Jim and his new wife have begun their new life together in the United States. While Diana makes a home in Boston, Jim works as a private detective. But when he is sent to Chicago to the World’s Fair, Diana once again cannot help getting involved in the sleuthing! This book is a solid second installment in the series for Nev March! I am already looking forward to the next!

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Captain Jim and Diana Agnihotri live in Boston now. He works for a small, Dupree family-owned detective agency, while Diana works as a nurse in a hospital. It's so far from the strict rules constraining their former existence in India.

Jim sets off for Chicago on a new case, and after initial reports home, he goes silent. Diana, increasingly worried (she knows Jim can go into fugue states, of sorts, when his memories of war overtake him), decides to follow after him. After blackmailing Jim's boss, she heads to a bustling Chicago: it's 1893 and the Chicago World Fair is on.

Diana gains a maid, Abigail, who, though owning men's garments, prefers dressing as a woman, who helps Diana out on her inquiries as she retraces Jim's footsteps. Diana discovers that Jim's case intersects with a group of supposed anarchists, workers' rights, and copper mines, and fortune hunters. The more Diana digs, the more she fears for Jim, who has been working undercover since he left home weeks earlier, and the city, as tensions mount constantly.

I enjoyed this second book in Nev March's Captain Jim series. This time, Diana takes a much more active role in the story, which made me so happy. While I already knew she was a determined, smart woman from book one, she shines in here. Though she makes mistakes during her first attempt at investigating, she proves herself able to skillfully use her several newly-made connections in the city, both high and low, to assemble facts together that even Jim was not able to find. While also making some interesting purchases with her and Jim's savings.

I liked this installment a lot; it was interesting seeing how Jim and Diana are navigating their lives in America, where, though accustomed to the inequality and injustice in India, are both shocked that the United States, the supposed Land of Opportunity, is only a really a beacon of hope for those who are White, or who can pass as White., as Diana and Jim can.

I also enjoyed how the Chicago World Fair was the backdrop for this tale, especially after reading about its inception and construction earlier this year. The Fair highlighted both the promise of science and industry, even while March shows us the rampant exploitation of workers throughout the same city.

I dearly hope there are more Diana and Jim stories, especially as Diana has shown herself not only good at making friends wherever she goes, but also a capable sleuth.

Thank you to Netgalley and to St. Martin's Press for this ARC in exchange for my review.

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I love this series! The series may be named after Jim but a lot of this book is from his wife Diana's point of view. She is a witty, cunning and stubborn young woman. When Jim is sent on a mission to Chicago and she has yet to hear from him after 8 weeks she decides to go and find him herself. A woman traveling alone in those days was dangerous enough she is in a strange new country since they moved from India just a few months prior. So she must navigate not only the new landscape but also a new culture and new dialects of English and she finds herself in trouble often enough. pretty soon she has hired a new ladies maid who isn't quite what she seems, an older black gentlemen and an army of young children who peddle newspapers and other goods to help her find Jim.

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Every time I picked up "Peril at the Exposition", I was whisked back in time, put on my sleuthing hat, and found myself on the edge of my seat.

This is the second book in Nev March's "Captain Jim and Lady Diana Mysteries" series, and this series is phenomenal! Nev March does a fantastic job building the world of her story, and each and every aspect jumped right off of the page. Through various mysteries, twists, turns, and pieces of the puzzle, Ms. March creates a mystery that kept me guessing.

In this book, Jim and Diana are newly married, and move to America. Jim now works for Dupree Agency as a detective, and, soon disappears when sent on a job in Chicago during the World's Fair. Once Diana realizes Jim is missing, she jumps into action to go and find him.

I do not want to say too much about the plot due to spoilers, but, I will simply say, this book is SO GOOD! Full of suspense, gripping moments, intrigue, heart-wrenching moments, and so much more, this book has so much in it. With danger lurking around every corner, how will everything work out? You will just have to read to find out!

If you enjoy historical mystery books, I highly recommend this novel! It kept me turning the pages, and I look forward to reading what Ms. March writes next. I am so hoping this series continues for a long time!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the e-ARC of this book, and to Minotaur Books for sending my a physical ARC as well! All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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I really enjoyed meeting Jim in Murder in Old Bombay. When given the chance to continue this series, I happily accepted.

While this took a bit for me to warm up to, overall I ended up enjoying it. I've seen mixed feelings with regard to Diana and how naive she is, and with how unbelievable her journey in Chicago seemed. On one hand, I understand where these readers are coming from. On another, Diana doesn't have the experience or knowledge that Jim has and she is learning as she goes along.

I actually enjoyed reading from her perspective and watching as she hones her detective skills, learns from her mistakes, and becomes stronger both in heart and mind. I especially love the dynamic between her and Jim and am hoping for a case that they solve together. I look forward to the next installment.

I sincerely appreciate St. Martin's Press for the review copy. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

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