The Conjurer: A Martha Beale Mystery

The Conjurer A Martha Beale Mystery Intrigue passion and murder surround the suspicious disappearance of famed Philadelphia financier Lemuel Beale in the winter of As his daughter and only child Martha searches for her father Sh

  • Title: The Conjurer: A Martha Beale Mystery
  • Author: Cordelia Frances Biddle
  • ISBN: 9780312352462
  • Page: 111
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Intrigue, passion, and murder surround the suspicious disappearance of famed Philadelphia financier Lemuel Beale in the winter of 1842 As his daughter and only child, Martha searches for her father She begins to develop a romantic attachment to Thomas Kelman, an assistant to the mayor who s been assigned to the case Kelman has also been investigating the ritual slayingsIntrigue, passion, and murder surround the suspicious disappearance of famed Philadelphia financier Lemuel Beale in the winter of 1842 As his daughter and only child, Martha searches for her father She begins to develop a romantic attachment to Thomas Kelman, an assistant to the mayor who s been assigned to the case Kelman has also been investigating the ritual slayings of several young women a likely suspect appears to be the renowned conjurer and clairvoyant Eusapio Paladino Could there be a connection between the two cases

    One thought on “The Conjurer: A Martha Beale Mystery”

    1. Disclaimer: ARC read via Open Road Media and Netgalley. Ah a mystery set in my hometown of Philadelphia. True, it is the 1800s so it is not quite the same city, so what the hell. I have mixed feelings about this book. I found the mystery in and of it gripping, but the characters as opposed to the plot were simply there. It was hard to feel anything for them. And quite frankly, Martha, the heroine, while not unlikable is hard to feel anything for outside of, perhaps, a vague annoyance. Perhaps th [...]

    2. Enh. I was pretty excited to read this book, as the first couple of chapters really held my attention. Martha Beale was extremely passive, but there were undercurrents that she was really going to define herself by her standards, but instead she was carried along by the plot. The romance was stilted, I understood there was chemistry but I didn't see what motivated it. Kelman's role was too ill-defined, both romantically and in terms of his job role. I feel like the readers really earned a confro [...]

    3. First in the Martha Beale historical mystery series and revolving around a newly orphaned woman, Martha. Set in 1842 Philadelphia.My thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Media for providing this ARC for me to read.My TakeAs the page or percent indicator as to where I am in the book isn't available, all I can say is I stopped at "I will be the mistress of my fate. I'll rule my own house, and demand that Simms leave it."It starts off interestingly and too quickly descends into a morass of timidity an [...]

    4. Publication Date: Available Now from Open Road Media.Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via netgalleyAn 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 rive [...]

    5. I found the storyline convoluted with unnecessary threads. The crimes against young girls were disturbing and a little too graphic for the rest of the novel. The protagonist does grow from a meek woman to someone confident in her thoughts -and starts to express them (finally as that was getting annoying).However it's the 1st in a series so I'd likely read book #2 to see where it goes (or just read the summary and decide whether or not to read it from there).

    6. DisjointedI started out a little confused. The story line was only marginal and at times scattered. Just when I thought it might get interesting, it was the end! The author tied up all the loose ends and I'm not sure if I can be interested in the other books of the series.

    7. DNF!!!I was struggling with this book from the very beginning. All of the jumping around from character to character without any semblance of connection to each other was annoying but I think it was graphic child rape scene that put me over the edge. Repulsive.

    8. Lemuel Beale’s daughter ignores the interruption. “Mr. Kleman suggested that Father might have met with some…some malicious intent.” She glances up at Kelman in appeal. “And he does have jurisdiction, do you not sire? You can order a search in those other parts of Philadelphia, as well as in the nearer forests, can you not?”“Oh, Martha, let us be reasonable,” Simms interjects. “Your father isn’t hidden in some hermit’s cave. Nor has he been deliberately dispatched, as your [...]

    9. As I was about halfway through this book i found myself thinking two things: 1. when is Martha going to start using her brain and standing up for herself? and 2. how can all these plot threads ever come together into a sensible denouement? I was frustrated but so intrigued I read through to the ending and am glad I did. Martha, along with others, began to stand up-- something I realize would have been very difficult for someone raised and oppressed as she had been in 1842. But, the women stood s [...]

    10. Before you ask, yes this author is from "that" Biddle family in Philadelphia. The family may be known mainly for finances and the Main Line, but Cordelia Biddle is an admirable historian and writer. Even if The Conjurer wasn't such a great story, it would be worth reading for its setting in Philadelphia in 1842.From the very beginning the reader is in the middle of a mysterious disappearance. Two dogs wait faithfully beside the flooding Schuylkill River as it roars past carrying debris as large [...]

    11. The Conjuror Set in 1842 Philadelphia, the novel features Martha Beale, twenty-six, unmarried. She has been dominated by her wealthy father her entire life, and when Lemuel Beale suddenly disappears, she finds that Owen Simms, her father's secretary, takes over that role. She is treated as a child and denied any sense of autonomy.Although Martha occasionally tries to assert herself, she is only rarely successful. When mayoral assistant Thomas Kelman is assigned to the case, she senses a support [...]

    12. This book is the first in the Martha Beale mysteries based in Philadelphia in the year 1842. Biddle does a nice job in giving the reader a feel for the US at this time before the Civil War. Philadelphia is the still the largest port and industrial center in the US but is slowly losing ground to New York City. People are for or against slavery and there is no in between opinion. Blacks are treated as the lowest of the low as if they were slaves even if they are freemen. During the story there is [...]

    13. FANTASTIC! I loved this book (which I read as a book, not an e-book) from the first sentence. The writing is dense and rich with dramatic scenes that jump to life in my mind. Biddle brings a keen eye and a curiosity to the early 19th Century when spiritualism and ill-gotten wealth ran smack into abolition and abject poverty. I loved reading this book Having visited Philadelphia this past summer, I could see the places she was writing about, including the famous prison where inmates were kept in [...]

    14. This historical mystery is set in Philadelphia in 1842. Martha Beale is the unmarried daughter of Lemuel Beale, a wealthy financier who went out hunting with his dogs and mysteriously disappeared. When mayoral aide, Thomas Kelman, is sent to look into is disappearance, Martha teams up wih him to help discover what happened to her father. Before they can find anything, Kelman asked to investigate a series of murders of young prostitutes. Eusapio Paladino is an Italian who has become the toast of [...]

    15. I liked the history in this mystery - while it's not 'The Alienist', it is a compelling story. The characters of Martha and Kelman are fleshed out nicely. While I thought it was pretty obvious who the 'bad guys' were (at least one of them), the suspense lied in how they got to that point. There were really two plots here that didn't intertwine as much as I thought, and that was kind of the surprise! This is the first in a series of three, and I plan to check out the other two, as much to see wha [...]

    16. Set in and around old Philadelphia, this book doesn't hesitate to explore the poverty and misery of the day. Cloth mills and the Derringer factory are big employers, and some people scheme to make fortunes by supplying piped water and gas to these workers' homes. The prison flushes out sewers every two weeks so the stench is unbearable. This is a crime tale, however, and I did find it hard to focus on the disappearance of a wealthy landowner or the murder of a young prostitute, when we constantl [...]

    17. First and foremost, this book is so excellently written that it was really hard to put down-- contrasting the dark and gritty underbelly of 1840s Philadelphia with the American Aristocracy the city's so famous for. It's also a perfect example of the power of a properly utilized present tense narrative. The careful research that went into it was obvious, but seamlessly interwoven. Great characters too, both in the forefront and the background. So, yeah, extremely cool.My only real issue with it w [...]

    18. When Philadelphia financier Lemuel Beale disappears under suspicious circumstances, his daughter Martha attempts to find out what has happened to him. However, as a 26 year old unmarried woman in a society where women are invisible and do not have any status, this proves difficult. However, help comes from the mayor's aide, Thomas Kelman who not only has to search for the missing financier but is also hunting a brutal killer of young girls. As the investigation moves along so does their relation [...]

    19. This is a mystery book set in Philadelphia during the mid-1800s. It was an easy enjoyable read that kept me wondering what would happen next, but it seemed a little far-fetched at times. The ending seemed to wrap up a little too tidily for my liking, and just seemed unrealistic. That said, though, it was well written and is the first in a series surrounding one of the main characters (side note: after this one, I find it hard to see how the main character could possibly have another story, and I [...]

    20. I read this because it was recommended for those who like Victoria Thompson's gaslight series. As the main character in that series is a strong female character who is very likable and helps solve the cases I found Martha Beale to be a great disappointment as a character. She has nothing to do really with solving the case and she as a character I disliked her. I grew up outside of Philadelphia and thought I would enjoy the setting more than I did. I also thought the author spent a bit too much t [...]

    21. An odd little treat of a thriller set in 19th century Philadelphia introduces us to a cast of characters connected by strange circumstances. Martha, the only child of a prominent millionaire is thrust into a mystery when her father goes missing. Meanwhile, an Italian conjures sees a child's tongue placed on a pillow during a seance. How are these incidences connected? Are they connected? This historical fiction does not spare the reader's sensibilities. The Conjurer is a gruesome mystery centere [...]

    22. This is meant to be the beginning of a mystery series set in ante-bellum Philadelphia. It's an interesting attempt, while trying to be historically accurate, of also describing how a young woman, who is meant to be one of the protagonists (Martha Beale) comes to be in a position that would allow her to do mystery-solving given her circumstances. It got a bit too distracted though, too wide-ranging with too many characters. She seemed to decide that she wanted to convey every single facet of life [...]

    23. Ms. Biddle's historical mystery is both benefited and disadvantaged by her exhaustive research into her ancestors and their times in Philadelphia. 1840's Philadelphia comes alive, and her main characters are well delineated, but there's such an abundance of minor characters and subplots that her main plot suffers. And the epilogue adds little enough to the book. That said, it's a quick read and one many lovers of Victoria Thompson, Dianne Day, and Anne Perry will enjoy.

    24. I didn't like it. I didn't like it at all. However, that may be more on me than the actual book. It's very Victorian. If you like Charles Dickens, you should enjoy this melodrama. I give it 3 stars even though I won't read anymore of the series because, well, it just seemed mean to give it less.

    25. I picked this up because the author is actually related to "Cordelia Drexel Biddle" from The Happiest Millionaire(Disney movie). The book had potential, but the plot got a little lost in too much information and multiple side plots. Old time Philadelphia society murder mystery. She added a little bit of disturbing info that I don't think was necessary.

    26. This mystery is set in Philadelphia in the 1840s. Reviews said it was very well researched, so I read it for the setting as much as the story. I ended up enjoying both, as well as the characters, although I think there were too many plots and not enough depth. Nevertheless, I plan to read more - this is the first in a series, and I'm interested to see where the author goes from here.

    27. I picked this book up having read the 'in the vein of Girl with a Pearl Earring' ad-like thing on the cover. Yes, this was a lie. *sigh*In short - heckloads of historical fleshing out (inc minor characters) without being effectively weaved into the story. I'm left empty at the end, especially with a clumsy "oh, lets just jump to a happy ending without any real resolution".

    28. A bit disturbing in a gothic way. Nothing like being being lower class, a woman, a child or non-white (or any combination of these) in Philadelphia (or anywhere in America really) during the mid 1840's.e very definition of vulnerable. I am not sure it was a captivating mystery, but I was called in by the language, characters and atmosphere.

    29. A good and interesting novel that really brings the life and times in Philly to life. I had a little trouble with the pacing (I think it could have gone a lot faster), but it was really interesting to read and I liked Biddle's style of writing. The character growth was something I hadn't seen in a while. It was great to read. I'd be interested in reading another installment.

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