Berkley, May 2005, 21.95, 320 pp.
Irish Immigrant Bridget Henry has not had an easy life. Her family was forced to leave Ireland during the potato famine by their English landlord; her mother died on their ship while en route to America; and when they finally arrive, she and her younger sister have to survive on their own because their father disappears for months at a time. They both get sent to the orphanage where Bridget learns to be a cook and she lands a job at the home of wealthy department storeowner Isaac Gold.
On her first day on the job she finds the body of Mr. Gold's son in the dough box. He was shot twice in the chest and the police are so incompetent Mr. Gold decides to find his son's killer with Bridget's help. While they are chasing down every clue, Bridget is also looking to solve the mystery of her sister's disappearance, a quest that she can finally do now that she has Mr. Gold to help her.
The mouth-watering descriptions of the food that the chefs serve to the Gold family will make the reader very hungry. Bridget and Mr. Gold are a great pair of amateur sleuths and readers get a look at life in New York City during the Civil War. The division between upstairs and downstairs classes gives the reader a feel for what it was like to be a servant for the rich and powerful.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner