"Dead End Street" is a good read. Ms. Connolly places a lot of information to show the behind-the-scenes movements needed at times in order to preserve history. Her dedication to accurate portrayals is surpassed only by her ability to tell a good tale at the same time. There is a lot of history Ms. Connolly uses to illustrate how a collaboration can work effectively for the good of all. She also points out, subtly, how collaborations can easily fall apart on that tightrope of a walk. All of which make this book a stronger novel in the end.
While Nell Pratt is busy working inside the Society walls, she receives a phone call that ultimately changes her views on how the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society should work to preserve Philadelphia's history. This call also unites Nell with Cherisse Chapman and Tyrone Blakeney into taking a drive into a rough neighborhood. Sadly, Cherisse is murdered in front of Nell during a drive-by shooting, which injures Tyrone and leaves Nell to calling 911 for help.
If Nell didn't have enough to worry about by then (she also discovered the Society was still an owner of some abandoned property in that neighborhood), a couple of senior citizen sisters wanted to leave their home as is after they died to illustrate to people today how people over 100 years ago lived. Their home is a prime example of the time period in question. The only questions left for Nell to solve was how could the Society help preserve the neighborhoods of yesterday for the people of today and tomorrow without losing focus on costs, time and people. Not to mention who shot Cherisse and why; and if it wasn't her, the shooter was aiming for, than why Nell or Tyrone.
While this story seemed a tad slow in areas (remember there is a lot of information to sift through in this book), it's due to the vitally interesting information needed to explain other portions of the novel. As usual, Ms. Connolly's characters are well established, with a smidge of an ongoing arc of Nell's and James' relationship. It was not clear to me as to what is holding the relationship back. If it was listed in a prior novel, please mention it more than saying James had a prior marriage, please bring it out as this is crucial for a new reader to understanding James' and Nell's relationship. However, this is a minor issue; all in all, this is a good read from the acknowledgements to the end of the story.
The New York Times bestselling author of Privy to the Dead returns to Philadelphia for more history—and a chilling mystery . . .
When the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society discovers it owns some unique real estate, a deadly plot unfolds . . .
Society president Nell Pratt believes life is finally going her way. Everything’s running smoothly at work, and her love life is thriving. Then some unexpected news rocks her foundation. Two members of a local neighborhood rescue program, Tyrone Blakeney and Cherisse Chapman, inform Nell that her society owns an abandoned row house in a rundown area of Philadelphia and they insist on taking her to see the property before its date with the wrecking ball.
But soon after they arrive at the house, Cherisse is fatally shot and Tyrone is badly injured. The police believe it’s just random violence in a bad neighborhood, but Nell thinks there’s more to it and is determined to find answers before someone else becomes history . . .