Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC.
LIES THAT COMFORT AND BETRAY is the second novel in the Gilded Age Mystery series by Rosemary Simpson. In the first novel, WHAT THE DEAD LEAVE BEHIND, the reader is introduced to wealthy heiress Prudence MacKenzie and ex-Pinkerton detective Geoffrey Hunter. Prudence's father has recently passed away and then her fiancé, Charles, perishes in the Great Blizzard that struck New York City in 1888. Prudence teams together with Charles' friend, Geoffrey, to prove that Charles' death was no accident, and that her step-mother is attempting to do away with her in an nefarious plot to get her hands on Prudence's inheritance.
In the second installment in the Gilded Age Mystery series, Prudence and Geoffrey are now operating their own private investigative company. Despite the restrictions placed upon women of the era, Prudence is determined to break the mold and be an equal part of the company - even if that means placing herself in physical danger.
LIES THAT COMFORT AND BETRAY begins the day after Jack the Ripper brutally murders and butchers his final victim in the Whitechapel area of London. When the butchered body of an Irish woman (who just happens to be Prudence's childhood playmate and current maid) turns up in New York City, Prudence and Geoffrey believe that there is a Jack the Ripper copycat at work. The police believe it as well, and they are determined to cover it up by placing the blame on the victim's innocent fiancé. Two more Irish women (one a maid and the other a prostitute) are also murdered and their bodies are butchered. The police are more concerned with covering up the details of the murders to prevent a panic among the citizens of the city than they are with finding the serial killer who is stalking the city. Meanwhile, Prudence and Geoffrey set their sights on connecting the three women and finding the one commonality between the victims that will lead them to finding the killer.
This novel is a captivating follow-up to WHAT THE DEAD LEAVE BEHIND. As a character, Prudence MacKenzie really comes into her own in this novel. She continues to grow as a person and take charge of her life as she breaks the mold of what everyone expects of a woman during her era. What makes LIES THAT COMFORT AND BETRAY intriguing is that Rosemary Simpson tells the story from so many different perspectives - including a rather articulate dog. The characters are all well-developed and interesting. The various perspectives help give the readers a full picture of what is going on. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. My only complaints are that there were times when the story seemed to drag a bit. Also, the murderer never makes an appearance (aside from a couple brief but insignificant mentions) until late in the novel and that makes it difficult and frustrating for those of us who are playing along at home and trying to figure out the killer before he's caught.