Signet, April 2004, 5.99, 304 pp.
Although they are as poor as can be, Louisa May Alcott and her family live in an exclusive section of Boston and mingle with people of high society. Her father doesn't earn much money and the family's work with the Abolitionists and the underground puts the Alcotts in danger, yet they are a close group bound by love. In her early twenties Louisa May wants to be a writer.
She is excited about seeing her friend Dot Wortham, who is finally home after a year long honeymoon in Europe. Dot is noticeably upset and asks Louisa to meet with her tomorrow at a tea party. The next day Louisa May learns that her friend's body was found floating in the Charles River. Bruises around her throat and injuries to her head lead the police to believe she was murdered by her husband who society thinks married Dot for her money. Louisa is more attuned to the behavioral nuances of the families of Dot and her husband and thinks the killer is still at large. Wanting justice to be served, she starts her own investigation and almost ends up as the killer's next victim.
LOUISA AND THE MISSING HEIRESS is a charming amateur sleuth novel that will appeal to fans of historical cozies. Anna Maclean brings the 1850's in Boston to life and readers see how even in the North the social issue of slavery permeates the culture. The heroine is charming, intelligent and independent, a woman who knows what she wants and will work to obtain it.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner