Deadly Illusions

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Deadly Illusions

Book I in the Deadly series - A Francesca Cahill Novel

Heiress and sleuth Francesca Cahill is investigating a crime in 1902 New York city. There seems to be a serial killer loose in the Lower East side and Francesca has friends there. She’s not going to let it rest until the killer is found and brought to justice.

Helping her on this case is Police Commissioner Rick Bragg. Bragg is trying to clean up the corrupt police force and bring an internal audit in place. As this case progresses, he learns that the corruption isn’t just among the rank and file. He also has to deal with his wife being crippled. She’s home from the hospital but will she forgive him for asking for a divorce and causing her accident? He’s learned he really loves her but will it be enough?

Calder Hart is Bragg’s hated half brother and Francesca’s fiancé. He admires Francesca’s determination and independent ways. Though they are engaged, Francesca’s father isn’t too sure he wants his daughter marrying Calder. Calder has a repetition of a womanizer and cad. Could he have really changed that much? What will Francesca’s father do if he finds out that Hart is still supporting his mistress?

Francesca’s brother, Evan is concerned too. Even though he knows socially it wouldn’t be accepted, he has feelings for a young widow with four children, Maggie Kennedy. Can he live with himself if something should happen to her?

This is the seventh book in a wonderful mystery series with the lead character Francesca Cahill.

One of the best things is how early 20th century New York is presented. Many historical facts are intertwined throughout the story giving it a realistic feeling. Maggie is a seamstress, makes low wages and works long hours. Her oldest son has a minimal education but he needs to help bring in money to support the family. Bragg drives a car but Hart is still using horses. Tammany Hall is still flexing its power and reformers are working on changing that. From riches to rags, the aspects of this city are explored as Francesca helps find a killer.

The characters are great. They express themselves in the language of the time and would never be so bold as to use many of current words. But the emotions come off them so you feel the tug of desire or despair. Hart doesn’t think he is good enough for Francesca and tries to explain it too her. She doesn’t agree. Love is seldom talked about. Instead it’s respect and the goodness of people. Yet, the characters are real.

Overall, this is a mystery. So, who did it? There are lists of possible candidates but there is just something that is eluding Francesca. She knows it’s right in front of her, if she can just figure it out.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Francesca work and her interactions with the two brothers. This book has romance, intrigue and humor. The history is so well worked into the story, you’re going to get a history lesson even if you didn’t want one. I had no idea who the killer was but enjoyed watching the questions being asked. Don’t forget, there were no rights back then and police could pull you in for questioning for whatever reason they wanted or no reason at all!

Though this book is well into the series, don’t let that put you off. You can read this one without having read the previous books in the series. This one may tempt you to purchase the previous books though as I’d love to see how Francesca started in her not so typical profession.

Book Blurb for Deadly Illusions

Irrepressible heiress and intrepid sleuth Francesca Cahill moves from her own glittering world of Fifth Avenue to the teeming underbelly of society, a place of pride, passions…and sometimes deadly perversion.

Despite the misgivings of her fiancé, Calder Hart, Francesca cannot turn away from a threat that is terrorizing the tenement neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. A madman has attacked three women, but while the first two victims survived, the third is found dead. All the victims are impoverished but beautiful Irishwomen—andFrancesca fears that her dear friends Maggie Kennedy and Gwen O'Neil could be next.

Soon she is working with her former love, police commissioner Rick Bragg—Calder's half brother and worst rival. But even as Calder's jealous passions leave his relationship with Francesca teetering on the brink, Francesca is frantically on the killer's trail, certain the Slasher will strike again, afraid she will be too late.…

Night Owl Reviews Mar, 2011 5.00