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

P.B. Ryan , Patricia Ryan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 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: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,291 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 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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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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9 of 11 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 Captivating Historical Mystery May 29 2015
By Debra Purdy Kong TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The year is 1864 and Nell Sweeney is assisting her employer, Dr. Greaves with a difficult birth. When servant, Annie, finally gives birth to a daughter, she doesn’t want the child, as her husband isn’t the father. For mysterious reasons, her employer, Viola Hewitt, adopts the baby, arranges a new job for Annie elsewhere, then hires the gentle and perceptive Nell to help raise Gracie. Nearly four years later, Viola learns that her eldest son William, who she believed died in the Civil War, is actually alive, though he’s been arrested for murder. She asks Nell to visit William to find out what happened and if anything can be done to save him from the hangman. Feeling obligated to Viola for greatly improving her position in life, Nell agrees, but soon finds herself on dangerous ground.

Still Life With Murder is a captivating historical mystery that presents interesting moral and social dilemmas of the time. Nell’s status doesn’t give her much respect from the police, nor is she safe in some of the places she must frequent to see Will. Still, Nell is tenacious, intuitive, and stubborn. She asks questions until she gets to the truth.

This novel offers plenty of twists and turns, some predictable, others not. Author P.B. Ryan does a great job of depicting the many restrictions forced on women in the past. Social class and manners were everything, and exposed secrets could ruin lives. Nell’s an interesting character with her own secrets, but whether they remain hidden in further installments is the question. Fans of historical cozy mysteries will likely enjoy the Boston setting and Nell’s rather complex relationship with the Hewitt family, not all of whom appreciate her presence. Definitely a worthwhile read.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I enjoyed it, well written
Published 1 month ago by Terence Bolton
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
enjoyable reading
Published 2 months ago by linda duhamel
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
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... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Toni Osborne
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 8 months 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 9 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 11 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 21 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 22 months ago by LL
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
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