Devil by the Tail: A Garnick & Paschal Mystery by Jeanne Matthews
What’s a 20-something Union war widow to do in 1867? Start up her own detective agency with a former Reb P.O.W. of course!
Quinn Sinclair, who uses the name Mrs. Paschal professionally, and her wryly observant partner Garnick get two cases on the same day - one to help a man prove he didn't kill his wife, another to help a lawyer find reasonable doubt that his client killed her ex-lover's new bride. As the detectives dig deeper, they unearth facts that tie the cases together in disturbing ways.
This tantalizing tale of 19th Century Chicago comes complete with corrupt politicians, yellow-press reporters, gambling parlors, and colorful bawdyhouse madams. At every turn in the investigation, Quinn discovers more suspects and more secret motives for murder.
Not least among her worries, someone seems intent on murdering her!
Devil by the Tail is a historical mystery set in Chicago in 1867, two years after the end of the Civil War, and author Jeanne Matthews gives readers an intriguing look at the post-war activity that occurred during that time. In this story, crime is rampant and young private investigator Quinn Sinclair finds herself involved in murder, dirty politics, and two apparently different cases that may actually be connected. Quinn, also known as Mrs. Paschal, is aided by Garnick, a former Rebel prisoner of war, and it appears that their business partnership is about to take on a more personal element.
Matthews teases readers with clever hints and clues, as she challenges us to solve the mystery ourselves. We are also shown that preconceived notions can color our thinking about people and their professions. Devil by the Tail is an entertaining story with engaging characters, a thought-provoking plot, and just enough romance to make it alluring!
I received a copy of this book from the author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. There was no expectation of a positive review. These are my own thoughts.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Chez,” said Garnick. “What’s eating you?”
“Garnick and Paschal, detectives, that’s what’s eating me.” He took a card off his desk and waved it in front of their noses.
“Give me a squint.” Garnick took it out of his hand. “It’s ours, all right. You find a misspelled word?”
“What I found is a dead man. That card was in his pocket.”
“I surmise this ain’t a case of natural expiry?”
“None of your jokes, Garnick. The muggins was shot in the head. Twice for good measure.”
Quinn did a quick inventory of the people she’d given the card to. The young desk clerk at the Tremont, the obnoxious hotel manager, Annie Stafford’s bouncer, Josabeth Allbright. Moses’ horns, had Josabeth passed it on to Burk Bayer? “Who is he?” she asked. “What’s the dead man’s name?”
“He had no wallet,” said Chesterton. “No cash, no papers. Nothing but your damn…I beg your pardon, ma’am, nothing but that calling card you’re holding in your hand, Garnick.”
“We’ve been handing them out since April,” said Quinn. “They’re advertising.”
“I know what it is. Maybe you’ll recall if the gent on a slab down the hall is one you pitched your services to. Let’s go, detectives.”
“There’s no cause to be snide,” she said with an edge of defiance. “Are you going to renege on your promise to let us see Miss Jackson?”
Garnick was quick with a softener. “I’ve known the captain long enough to know he’s a man of his word. Sounds like there’s been a turn-up that wants our two bits worth. Let’s have a look at this deceased gent, Chez. He ain’t so unsightly he’ll unnerve the lady, is he?”
“Not if she’s got a strong stomach.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Devil by the Tail