A Death of No Importance
Mariah Fredericks’ compelling adult debut novel follows Jane Prescott, a ladies’ maid in an upper-crust 1910 NYC household, after her mistress’s playboy fiancé is gruesomely murdered.Jane Prescott has perfected the art of serving as a ladies’ maid in the upper-most echelons of 1910 New York City society. Invisible until she’s needed, Jane has a deft hand and a sharp, observant mind. Which means she sees a lot more than the wealthy, glamorous people she serves realize. When her mistress, Charlotte Benchley, surprises the family by getting engaged to notorious society playboy Norrie Newsome, Jane understands how the engagement might have come to pass, and what it means for both families. And when Norrie is suddenly and gruesomely murdered, Jane is uniquely positioned to understand who might have wanted him dead—from the family he was supposed to marry into before he proposed to Charlotte, to the survivors of a tragic accident in a mine owned by the Newsome family, to the rising anarchists in industrial revolution-era New York City who are sick of the elite classes getting away with anything they want simply because they were born wealthy.Jane’s thoughtful, clear-eyed, and witty voice leads us into the heart of a gripping, atmospheric murder mystery in Mariah Fredericks’s debut adult novel.

A Death of No Importance Details

TitleA Death of No Importance
Author
ReleaseApr 10th, 2018
PublisherMinotaur Books
ISBN-139781250152978
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Fiction

A Death of No Importance Review

  • Meg Cabot
    January 1, 1970
    I love mysteries but finding one that really keeps you guessing is difficult these days. This one not only does that, but features a smart heroine who just happens to be living in NYC during one of its most interesting time periods (early 1900s)! The attention to historical detail - down to the flounces on the skirts - really sucked me in, and I actually cared about the characters. Can’t wait for more from Mariah!
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  • Bertha
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great period mystery told by lady's maid Jane Prescott. She is the one who does the investigation into a murder. The story flowed and the characters were well developed. The reader also learns a bit about the behind the scenes life in a wealthy household.There was a line from Jane that said she had more stories to tell. I'm hoping that it's the author's way of telling us there may be another book in the works.
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  • Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    I did not enjoy A DEATH OF NO IMPORTANCE nearly as much as I anticipated. Not written quite as tightly as I would have liked, the novel concerns a lady's maid named Jane Prescott who is quite observant.
  • Kathy Martin
    January 1, 1970
    Jane Prescott has decided to write about the events that happened on Christmas Eve 1910 now that all of the relevant players have passed away. Jane was a lady's maid who worked for a newly rich family in New York City. She was hired to guide the daughters - Charlotte and Louise - as they took part in the annual husband hunt. Charlotte was the younger sister but was the one who attracted the men. She was pretty, bubbly, and very socially ambitious. Louise was awkward and shy but had a developing Jane Prescott has decided to write about the events that happened on Christmas Eve 1910 now that all of the relevant players have passed away. Jane was a lady's maid who worked for a newly rich family in New York City. She was hired to guide the daughters - Charlotte and Louise - as they took part in the annual husband hunt. Charlotte was the younger sister but was the one who attracted the men. She was pretty, bubbly, and very socially ambitious. Louise was awkward and shy but had a developing social conscience.Charlotte manipulates her way into becoming engaged to Norrie Newsome, scion of a high class New York family but not a nice person. Their engagement is to be announced at the Christmas Eve ball hosted by Norrie's father and his new step-mother Rose who was a student with Louise at a prestigious girls' school. However, before the engagement can be announced, Norrie is found murdered in the family library.Jane begins her investigation when it looks like Charlotte might be accused of the murder. After all, Charlotte railroaded Norrie into the engagement. She cut out the young lady "everyone" knew was his intended fiance and who isn't going away gracefully. Also, the senior Newsome has run afoul of anarchists since he owns a mine where more than 100 miners included eight boy under the age of 10 died in an accident. The company didn't attempt to rescue the boys because they thought it would be too dangerous. He has been receiving threatening notes vowing revenge. Jane's best friend has ties to the anarchists and to newly forming unions and Jane fears that she was somehow involved. Jane herself was abandoned by her father on arrival in New York from Scotland when she was a small child. She was raised by her uncle who was a minister who ran a home for fallen women. She feels loyalty to the people she works for and has a unique perspective because her position makes her almost invisible to her employers.I liked the way the story illustrates a turbulent time in US history with the rich desperately holding on to their power as it is being eroded by the rising working class. I liked that Jane figured out who committed the murder and what she decided to do about it. I am really curious about Jane's life between the events of 1910 and the time she wrote her memoirs sometime around 1980. She has a very distinct voice and sensibility.
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  • Alina
    January 1, 1970
    I am a huge fan of historical fiction, mystery, and suspense. You have no idea how happy I was to come upon this gem! This story takes place in 1920s New York City. An elderly employee of Jane Prescott passed away and our charming lady's maid is on a lookout for a new job. And she lands a great employment with Benchley "new money" family that recently relocated to New York City. Jane is being appointed as a lady's maid to Benchley's two young daughters: glamorous and spoiled Charlotte and shy an I am a huge fan of historical fiction, mystery, and suspense. You have no idea how happy I was to come upon this gem! This story takes place in 1920s New York City. An elderly employee of Jane Prescott passed away and our charming lady's maid is on a lookout for a new job. And she lands a great employment with Benchley "new money" family that recently relocated to New York City. Jane is being appointed as a lady's maid to Benchley's two young daughters: glamorous and spoiled Charlotte and shy and obedient Louise. One fine fall morning, Charlotte announces her engagement to a wealthy playboy Norrie Newsome. New York's society and Benchley family are taken aback by this shocking statement, as everyone expected for young Newsome to propose to his childhood sweetheart. The engagement is set to be officially announced at midnight on Christmas Eve... but Norrie is found dead at the family library minutes before the midnight. Newsome family shocks New York's society once again. Will this be the last time? Hmmm... A very handsome and determined reporter, Michael Behan, takes an interest in our charming Jane. He makes a deal, one of his "unprinted" discoveries for one of her stories about Benchley family. While everyone suspects rising anarchists in Norrie's death, Jane and Michael team up to find the real murderer of the young Newsome. And what a discovery our adamant Ms. Prescott will make!A sensational page-turner. I hope this is first of many books that include marvelous Jane Prescott.
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    Set in 1910, a Death of No Importance, spins a tale of class, privilege, and the repercussions when there is such a great divide between those that have and those who do not.I had no expectations when starting this book - the premise peaked my interest, but I didn't really know what direction the story would go in. Told from Jane Prescott's, lady's maid to the Benchley daughters, perspective we are able to see the many different points of view of who may have murdered NYC's premiere wealthy bach Set in 1910, a Death of No Importance, spins a tale of class, privilege, and the repercussions when there is such a great divide between those that have and those who do not.I had no expectations when starting this book - the premise peaked my interest, but I didn't really know what direction the story would go in. Told from Jane Prescott's, lady's maid to the Benchley daughters, perspective we are able to see the many different points of view of who may have murdered NYC's premiere wealthy bachelor, Norrie Newsome Jr.I really liked Jane and respected what she accomplished in her life despite such a difficult start when arriving to the US. Her even temperament, honesty, and ability to look at a situation without judging appealed to me. She displays compassion and advocates for the truth even when it may affect her situation in life - as evidence by her visit to Mr. Pawlicec.I was appalled but not surprised by the lack of empathy and action displayed by Mr. Newsome in regards to the mining accident. How does one, who owns the mines/company, not be held accountable for what took place? For the lives either lost or destroyed? And why was there such surprise by the wealthy upper class that there would be unrest at the injustice of it all? I found myself becoming angry and frustrated on behalf of the families of the mine workers. They deserved better then what they received. And while nothing can right the wrong that was done to them I felt that karma, in the end, found its way to Mr. Newsome.The one thing that confused me was Jane's relationship with Michael Behan. I couldn't really get a good feel between the two and while it didn't distract me from the main story - it did fall a little flat for me.Overall, I found this to be a very good book. I was intrigued by the main character Jane, wrapped up in the mystery, and experienced a lot of emotions over the causes of Norrie's death. I would definitely recommend this book, particularly if you enjoy learning some history while reading an engaging tale.I received this book via NetGalley from Minotaur books. And while I appreciate the opportunity to read and review it, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    When her employers fiancee is murdered and suspicion falls on the family, Jane Prescott feels that her position and knowledge offers a unique and necessary perspective needed to investigate the crime and reveal the true culprit.A Death of No Importance is a wonderful historical mystery with a well researched setting, an intriguing crime, and a novice investigator/ladies' maid that readers will wish they could be friends with. Here's hoping this is the first in a series!This ARC was provided by M When her employers fiancee is murdered and suspicion falls on the family, Jane Prescott feels that her position and knowledge offers a unique and necessary perspective needed to investigate the crime and reveal the true culprit.A Death of No Importance is a wonderful historical mystery with a well researched setting, an intriguing crime, and a novice investigator/ladies' maid that readers will wish they could be friends with. Here's hoping this is the first in a series!This ARC was provided by Minotaur Books/Macmillan, in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This is an excellent historical mystery set in 1910. It is told as the main character writing down her story many years after it happened. The ending was far more complex than I expected. It would be a great book for book club discussions. It hints at more stories with the same sleuth, and I eagerly await them!I received an ARC from NetGalley. The book will be released on April 10, 2018.
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  • Doreen
    January 1, 1970
    3/31/18 Full review tk. And yes, that's a 5-star rating. This book was phenomenal.
  • Lynne
    January 1, 1970
    Link to full review to come closer to release date.
  • Trisha
    January 1, 1970
    More like 3.5. Series to keep up with, since I'm guessing it will be a series. A lot to like.
  • Vera
    January 1, 1970
    I won a ARC of this. A book that is hard to put down when start reading. First book I've read by this author, but will be looking for more. Recommend to others.
  • Elizabeth Mahon
    January 1, 1970
    A solid first historical mystery from author Fredericks. I'm intrigued to see how the next book is going to play out.
  • L. Stone
    January 1, 1970
    A solid historical mystery. The main character was interesting and well developed. I would read more in this series if it were ongoing. I received an advance copy through NetGalley.
  • Barbara Schultz
    January 1, 1970
    I am a mystery fan so was excited when I won this Advanced Readers’ Edition! Story is a murder mystery based during the Industrial revolution ~ the “Gilded Age” .I am a big Downton Abbey fan, and although this novel takes place here in the US, it does remind of the life style of the rich as well as their “downstairs” servants. Mariah Fredericks did her research and has some great “ time period” pictures and information on her web site ~ https://www.mariahfredericksbooks.com...She states she gav I am a mystery fan so was excited when I won this Advanced Readers’ Edition! Story is a murder mystery based during the Industrial revolution ~ the “Gilded Age” .I am a big Downton Abbey fan, and although this novel takes place here in the US, it does remind of the life style of the rich as well as their “downstairs” servants. Mariah Fredericks did her research and has some great “ time period” pictures and information on her web site ~ https://www.mariahfredericksbooks.com...She states she gave Jane Prescott, ladies maid/ amateur sleuth “monster brains”. Yes Jane knows all about fashion and has a marvelous curiosity for detail whether for fashion or for justice. Story of crime, wealth, and power kept me interested!!! I certainly will read another novel by Mariah Fredericks. In fact, I also enjoy a good YA novel ~ perhaps will give Girl in the Park a try.
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    Taking place in 1910 New York, this good mystery novel keeps you interested until the very end. Has a great since of place. Goes to show you that the quiet one in the background is more observant than most think. Read in one sitting.
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