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The Conjurer

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An heiress breaks free of social conventions and attempts to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance in 1842 Philadelphia in Cordelia Frances Biddle’s first Martha Beale mystery

When her father fails to appear for lunch at their country estate, Martha Beale knows something is wrong. The family’s faithful dogs discover Lemuel Beale’s hunting rifle by the river, but there is no sign of the millionaire financier. Refusing to believe he is dead, his daughter—and sole heir—begins a discreet investigation with the help of the mayor’s aide, Thomas Kelman.

But Philadelphia in 1842 is a dangerous place for a female, especially a twenty-six-year-old single woman. Martha’s quest for answers takes her from the pinnacle of high society, which is abuzz about a visiting European conjurer who communicates with the dead, to the city’s tragic slums where a brutal killer is targeting young prostitutes—and through it all Martha will confront the most ruthless aspects of human nature.

In a story deeply rooted in time and place and brimming with atmosphere and suspense, Cordelia Frances Biddle conjures a mesmerizing world of intrigue and hidden desires.

“A feast for those fans who enjoy engaging characters and may attract readers who loved Caleb Carr’s attention to detail in The Alienist and Jacqueline Winspear’s appealing sleuth, Maisie Dobbs.” —Library Journal

“Fresh and believable. Biddle knows her manners and her city, and show both to great advantage.” —The Plain Dealer

“A first-rate mystery featuring rich period authenticity and beguiling characters, The Conjurer succeeds on all levels—as top-flight historical fiction and as a classic whodunit.” —Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times–bestselling author of Through the Evil Days

“An intricately orchestrated narrative that implicates the Brahmin class and the corruption that comes with their absolute power. Biddle wonderfully evokes the color and culture of the time.” —Publishers Weekly

“Biddle successfully uses 19th-century Philadelphia, mining the landscape for the kinds of jewels that illuminate a good mystery, and shaping characters that ring true.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer Cordelia Frances Biddle is the author of the Martha Beale Mystery series. A member of one of Philadelphia’s oldest families, she uses many of her actual ancestors as characters in her historical mysteries. She also cowrote the Nero Blanc Crossword Mystery series with her husband, Steve Zettler, with whom she lives in Philadelphia. Her website is

From Publishers Weekly

May 12, 2008 – Set in Philadelphia in 1842, Biddle's second mystery to feature upper-class amateur sleuth Martha Beale (after 2007's The Conjurer) offers fully human characters and a credible plot. When a wealthy young woman goes missing, Martha and Thomas Kelman, the mayor's assistant in charge of solving crimes, investigate. As their hunt takes them into the homes of the rich, a brothel frequented by the well-to-do and the streets of the poor, Martha and Thomas must face their own feelings for each other and resolve their class differences. Meanwhile, Martha's adopted daughter, Ella, embarks on a search for her real mother, and Martha's young adopted son, Cai, worries about ghosts who come down the chimney. Exceptional attention to period detail helps transport the reader to a past very unlike our own and yet so similar.
The Conjurer
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Jun 17, 2014
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC
  • Print Length: 309 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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