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It takes a con

Cover of City of Secrets
A review of City of Secrets by Victoria Thompson

In the second of her new series set in 1920s New York former con artist Elizabeth Miles helps a friend whose husband has died (killed by a streetcar). As though grieving her suddenly dead husband weren't bad enough, Priscilla Knight learns after his death that all of her money is gone. She'd come into this second marriage a wealthy woman and somehow in less then a year her husband Endicott made all that money disappear. Now Priscilla isn't sure how she'll support herself and her two young daughters. Given her expertise in making money disappear (former con, remember?), Elizabeth suspects there's a lot not right about Endicott and with the help of her almost-fiancee Gideon, she sets out to find the missing money and perhaps a murderer as well.

I love this time period and setting and Thompson, who has also written the Gaslight mystery series set a few decades earlier in NYC, knows her stuff. Elizabeth is a smart, complicated protagonist and her experiences trying to go "straight" in upper crust society are as interesting as the mystery itself. As she realizes,

"[She] had to tell more lies on a Sunday morning at church than she ever had trying to cheat a mark out of fifty thousand dollars."

If you haven't yet read book one, City of Lies, I'd suggest starting there to learn how Elizabeth went from con on the run to a respectable lady.

January 16, 2019