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

P.B. Ryan , Patricia Ryan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 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. Sign up for Pat's newsletter at

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. Visit her at

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1370 KB
  • Print Length: 319 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:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #77,624 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Too good to be a paperback Oct. 11 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked this up on a whim, looking for a diverting historical mystery to entertain me for a few nights before bedtime. Hours later, I found I had stayed up too late and finished the book, wanting more, more, more. The book is well-written, well-plotted, and completely engrossing. In 1868 Boston, Nell Sweeney, a governess, tries to help a man accused of murder by learning if he really committed the crime or is only covering up for someone else. To tell you anymore would deprive you of a wonderful journey.
I was kept guessing along with Nell Sweeney as the investigation progressed. Usually paperback mystery series start out fine and either improve over several volumes and/or eventually fade away. This book is stunning and I hope the series continues. I have to know what and who will enter Nell's life next.
I highly recommend this book. Buy it. Own it. Before it goes out of print. This is a wonderful book and you will want to share it with your friends and even reread it yourself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining April 4 2015
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Book 1, in the Nell Sweeney Historical Mysteries

This is a murder mystery with an historical flavor to it is set in the post-Civil War era of the 1868, in the affluent society circles of Boston. This novel is wonderful combination of murder mystery, history and romance and one that transports us into the Gilded Age with accuracy and timely details.

From the start I was captured by the main character of Nell Sweeney, a doctor’s apprentice turned high-society governess. Working for a wealthy family Nell soon becomes entangled in family secrets and must find out the truth in order to clear Will, the eldest son, from a murder charge.

Although the outcome is quite predictable, the twists and turns are compelling and the situations the heroine gets herself into certainly adds to the excitement. While Nell investigates clues we travel with her to brothels, opium den and gambling halls and we learn along the way more about the kind of men she has to deal with. This is the first installment so not all is revealed about the strength of her character. We are told just enough to pique our interest. The novel is full of details about the wealthy Bostonians’ life as well as the one of poor people living in the rougher parts of the city. The story also brings graphically details of the Civil War prison camp’s life and the treatment of its prisoners.

This story is smooth in tone and pacing, it sparkles with chemistry and sharp dialogue and provides hours of entertainment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best mystery novel I've come across in years July 14 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Excellent, excellent novel. A hopeless lover of mysteries, I will be the first to admit that 95% of the mystery novels out there are badly written and poorly conceived. "Still Life With Murder" is a true exception to that rule. I so enjoyed this world -- I am so glad that I picked this up at the bookstore. I am so devastated that I have finished it and that no sequel has been published yet.
The sleuth is no shrinking violet: born to a delicate age, she is anything but fragile and no where near naive. (Jane Austen would be shocked out of her little white bonnet.) The handsome, damaged, wildly charismatic and most-likely murderous William Hewitt had me swooning in my chair as if he were standing right in front of me -- cooly mocking and deadly enticing. Her characters are that well-drawn. And the setting, 1860's Boston, was marvelously vibrant. As a current-day resident of Boston, I learned so much about my adopted city's history. I will never be able to stroll trough the Public Gardens again without thinking of this book and hoping to find Nell and Dr. Hewitt engaged in furtive conversation on a bench nearby.
WORD TO THE WISE -- don't read the 1st review down there written by a highlighted reviewer -- they give WAY too much of the story away. The most enchanting part of this mystery is the mysterious sleuth herself -- the author knows what she is doing will let you know what she wants you to know WHEN she wants you to know it. Nell's history is meant to unfold slowly and tentatively throughout the novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A well-constructed and fascinating mystery July 2 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After their mother died from cholera and their father ran off with another woman, the three Sweeney children are sent to the Barnstable County Poor House where the youngest died from diphtheria. Nell fell in love with her brother's thieving friend Duncan, but he turned out to be an abusive person who hurt her so badly that she needed extensive medical care proved by Dr. Greaves. In time, she became his mistress and apprentice until the day they delivered the baby of a Hewitt servant.
Viola Hewitt adopts the child and hires Nell to be the baby's governess. Viola sweeps Nell into the world of the Boston Brahmin. After working there for four years, word arrives that the eldest son, thought to have died in a confederate prison camp, awaits trial for cold-blooded murder. Viola asks Nell to find evidence that will set her oldest son free since his father doesn't care if he hangs. Nell risks everything to clear Will because she believes he is innocent despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Post-Civil War Boston is an interesting place to be as the scars from the fighting though distant from the city still linger in unexpected places. Nell is a woman of mystery who hides secrets that she hasn't revealed which should be disclosed in future books. The heroine is a spunky woman who climbed out of a poverty-stricken and crime infested area to make something of herself. Readers will admire her and won't be able to resist her many charms. STILL LIFE WITH MURDER is a well-constructed and fascinating mystery in what looks to be a great series.
Harriet Klausner
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The reader feels like they are actually on scene.
Still Life With Murder – P.B. Ryan & Patricia Ryan
This is a well written suspense novel clearly portraying the post US civil war era in Boston. Read more
Published 1 month ago by KEN B. CHAMBERLIN, Vancouver, BC
5.0 out of 5 stars Great paced
All in all a really good read. The setting is well described, the charachters are richly portrayed and the pace keeps you turning the pages quickly.
Published 2 months ago by Sean C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Sweeney. mystery Serious Bok
Very interesting it had you guessing all the time on who did the murder. Jack was the last person I would have thought off very good book
Published 4 months ago by Gretta Sisson
4.0 out of 5 stars A good rainy day read.
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.
Published 14 months ago by K. Dunthorne
3.0 out of 5 stars slow.
Good atmosphere, somewhat slow. The writer has a lot of promise but it gets overly caught up in too much detail.
Published 15 months ago by LL
4.0 out of 5 stars Good pace, great characters
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... Read more
Published on March 2 2013 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful surprise
I happened on this book at the library, and it's one of the best mysteries I have read in a long time. Read more
Published on July 16 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Has features that a good mystery doesn't need
I agree with the reviewer 10/22/03. I don't want adultery or cursing in my reading material. The plot was very well constructed but the overall book was very much demeaned by those... Read more
Published on July 15 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting historical mystery series is a winner!
This book is so exciting! I can hardly wait for the next book by this writer to come out! I really liked this one!
Published on March 25 2004 by Toni Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing!!
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. Read more
Published on March 23 2004 by A. Daniels
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