This Emily Cabot mystery brings her from the U.S. to Paris to serve as secretary to wealthy Bertha Palmer, the only woman commissioner in the American delegation sent to the 1900 Paris Exposition. The Expositions concept is to promote the forward looking designs and technology which reflect the spirit of the age in this new century. Troubles occur, however, when expensive pieces of jewelry are stolen from guests invited to the many Exposition fetes. The murders of two young women connected to the event add to the drama, forcing Emily, at the urging of her patron, to do what she can to uncover the causes of these crimes.
Primarily the world of the wealthy and well connected is explored here, although some reference is made to the lives of working women and the rigid social divisions of the period. The reader is brought along as Emily, in her first trip abroad, explores Paris and the Exposition sights. Descriptions of outfits ladies wore to impress, their designs, materials and, at times, how they got into them, appear with perhaps too much frequency. Of interest, however, is the part that the renowned Paris couture House of Worth plays in the drama and the appearance of artist Mary Cassatt, who vigorously disdains the idea of judging works of art. "They do nothing but harm.....Young artists are forced to bend their styles to please the judges."
In McNamaras Afterword, biographical information about the real Bertha Palmer is provided, Additional information about Paris during the time of its 1900 Exposition can be found on the authors Pinterest board.
Find our review of the first Emily Cabot mystery