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Still Life With Murder (Nell Sweeney Mystery Series Book 1)
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Still Life With Murder (Nell Sweeney Mystery Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

P.B. Ryan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

“P.B. Ryan makes a stunning debut with Still Life with Murder, bringing Nineteenth Century Boston alive, from its teeming slums to the mansions on Boston Common, and populating it with a vivid and memorable cast of characters. The fascinating heroine, Nell Sweeney, immediately engages the reader and I couldn't put the book down until I discovered the truth along with her. I can’t wait for the next installment.”
—Bestselling author Victoria Thompson

Boston, 1868: The dawn of the Gilded Age, an era of burgeoning commerce and invention, of unimaginable new fortunes and lavish excess—for some. Born into dismal poverty, young Nell Sweeney scratches by on her wits and little else until fortune blesses her with a position as nursery governess to the fabulously wealthy Hewitts. But she soon learns that ugly secrets lurk beneath the surface of their gold-plated world.

The Hewitts’ eldest son, William, a former Union Army battle surgeon and the black sheep of the family, was reported to have died three years before in a notorious Confederate prison camp. But one snowy February afternoon, his parents learn that he is, in fact, still alive—and in jail for having murdered a man while intoxicated on opium. Infuriated by his son’s deception and convinced of his guilt, August Hewitt forbids his wife from coming to Will’s aid, so she begs Nell to help exonerate him. Nell finds that she must delve into the kind of dark and treacherous underworld she thought she’d left far behind if she is to unearth the truth before the hangman’s noose tightens around William Hewitt’s throat.

Originally published by Berkley Prime Crime

“What a thoroughly charming book! A beautiful combination of entertaining characters, minute historical research, and a powerful evocation of time and place. I’m very glad there will be more to come.”
—New York Times bestselling author Barbara Hambly

“P.B. Ryan captures an authentic flavor of post-Civil War Boston as she explores that city’s dark underbelly and the lingering after-effects of the war. The atmosphere is that of The Alienist, but feisty Irish nursemaid Nell Sweeney is a more likable protagonist. I look forward to seeing her in action again.”
—New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen

“Still Life with Murder is a skillfully written story of intrigue and murder set during Boston’s famous Gilded Age. Nell Sweeney, governess and part-time nurse, is a winning heroine gifted with common sense, grit, and an underlying poignancy. With its rich sense of place and time and a crisp, intelligent plot, readers will speed through this tale and be clamoring for more.”
—Bestselling author Earlene Fowler

“Utterly absorbing. Vividly alive characters in a setting so clearly portrayed that one could step right into it. A very clever plot in which each clue is clearly offered and yet the identity of the murderer is a complete surprise. I look forward to many more books...”
—Bestselling author Roberta Gellis

“If you like fast moving, accurately drawn, historical mysteries, you won’t go wrong by trying Still Life with Murder.”
—Reviewing the Evidence

“This debut mystery is a winner, with a feisty heroine, a colorful historical backdrop and a strong mystery rife with complexities. An ideal blend of history and mystery.”
—RT BookReviews

“Still Life with Murder is sheer perfection... gripping... powerful... unforgettable... You’ll know you’ve read one hell of a story after you turn the last page!”
—Reader to Reader Reviews

About the Author: Patricia Ryan, a.k.a. P.B. Ryan, is the USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including the #1 national bestseller Still Life with Murder. Pat's books have garnered rave reviews and been published in over twenty countries. She is currently writing book 1 of a "spin-off" of the Nell Sweeney mystery series. Sign up for Pat's newsletter at

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1366 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Hawkley Books; 2 edition (July 5 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003UV98MM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #633 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a Great Mystery! July 25 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really loved this book. There are many layers of mystery in the story line and the writing is strong enough that you do not immediately know the ending after the first chapter. I also really enjoyed the main characters as they are not constantly described as beautiful and gorgeous and blah, blah,blah on and on.... she is not over the top, not too prim and proper, and you can see her good and bad qualities. There is a nice pace to the book and a rhythm to the authors writing that is enjoyable. She does not get too caught up in the history that you start skipping paragraphs, thank you so much for that! There is some slight sensual interactions although very mild, and very little vulgarity which was a welcome change. I also thought the sexual references were honestly written without being offensive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good pace, great characters March 2 2013
By The Baking Bookworm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Note: This review was originally posted on my blog, The Baking Bookworm ([...])

My Thoughts: I quite enjoyed this read that I just happened to buy from the Kindle store based on a few good reviews and, quite honestly, the low price. It had a good, solid mystery and I loved the fact that it took place in the Gilded Era, a time that I don't know too much about.

The book has a good pace and great characters. Nell is a strong and independent woman but her attitude and independence believably fits with the time period. I love the fact that the author alludes to Nell's not so innocent past which really sparked my interest to figure out what she's hiding. Her life story, growing up poor, is briefly discussed and it was interesting to see what life was like for the working poor back then. Nell adores her charge, Grace, but fears that one wrong step (or one secret revealed) could cast her from her place in upper society back to her much more humble beginnings.

Nell's chemistry and banter with Will Hewitt create a good tension and I'm interested to see where it leads. Will is a very dark character who is extremely flawed ... yet the reader and Nell can see a glimmer of promise in him. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still Life with Murder Oct. 22 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As has been said previously, this mystery was very well thought out, and the characters beautifully written, and I would have thoroughly enjoyed the book but for two things: 1) I was hurt and offended by the misuse of the names of God and Jesus Christ. Apparently it's permitted to take Their names in vain provided one is angry, frustrated, disgusted, amused, bored or just can't think of anything else to say. 2) It bothered me that it seems to be OK to commit adultery provided it's done for the right reasons: pity, loneliness or to express gratitude. I realize that most people will think these reasons archaic and silly, but they are very important to me, which is why I only gave the book 3 stars rather than 5.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good rainy day read. March 8 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just the sort of mystery I like and the setting/location was one with which I'm familiar. By the end you felt like you has lived in this village.
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3.0 out of 5 stars slow. Feb. 4 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good atmosphere, somewhat slow. The writer has a lot of promise but it gets overly caught up in too much detail.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful surprise July 16 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I happened on this book at the library, and it's one of the best mysteries I have read in a long time. The plot has many surprises, but the characters of Nell and William are the force that keeps the book enthralling. I can't wait to read the sequel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting historical mystery series is a winner! March 25 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is so exciting! I can hardly wait for the next book by this writer to come out! I really liked this one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing!! March 23 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Patricia Ryan has captivated me. This book is simply outstanding! I had to force myself to put it down each night, so as not to rush through and miss any points. The characters are made flesh and rise from the page. The plot is captivating and the attention to historical detail is wondorous. I can not recommend this book enough. I have passed it on to all my friends, and we all anxiously await the second installment. If you love historical mysteries you can not go wrong!
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