First Published: 2011 – An original “boxed set” of books first published by Berkley Prime Crime, 2003-2007
This bargain-priced set contains all six of P.B. Ryan’s popular historical mysteries, originally published by Berkley Prime Crime. Set in post-Civil War Boston, the series features Irish-born governess Nell Sweeney and opium-smoking former battle surgeon Will Hewitt.
Book #1, Still Life with Murder, a Mary Higgins Clark Award finalist – Long thought to have died during the Civil War, Will is arrested for murder, and it’s up to Nell to prove his innocence. “P.B. Ryan makes a stunning debut with Still Life With Murder…I can’t wait for the next installment.” Bestselling author Victoria Thompson
Book #2, Murder in a Mill Town – “When Viola Hewitt needs help locating two missing people, she turns to Nell. Working with Viola’s son Will, an opium addict who knows his way around the back alleys and gambling dens, Nell finds the two murdered, and all evidence points to Will’s brother Harry as the killer… Ryan creates characters you care about and a plot that holds your interest as you try to unmask the killer. Lively and intriguing, this is a fast-paced, wonderful read.” RT BookReviews
Book #3, Death on Beacon Hill – “Sick at the slander that says his niece murdered Virginia Kimball, Brady, a driver for the wealthy Hewitts, asks Nell Sweeney to investigate her death… with the help of the Hewitt’s black sheep son, Will… Death on Beacon Hill continues Ms. Ryan’s excellent Nell Sweeney series. The rich characterization and her strong evocation of place, coupled with a well-plotted tale, make for a rich story. Add a clever conclusion and Ms. Ryan delivers a fascinating read.” Fresh Fiction
Book # 4, Murder on Black Friday – “When the bodies of two [wealthy] men… are found, it’s assumed that they committed suicide over their financial losses. But when Harvard professor and forensic scientist Will Hewitt autopsies the victims, he discovers that [one] was murdered…. He turns to governess Nell Sweeney, who understands the world of the rich and how their power can be used to hide their secrets…. Not only does Ryan provide readers with a tightly wound, suspenseful novel peopled with multidimensional characters, she writes about an era whose problems mirror our own. This is a historical period she knows and brings to life so clearly that readers are totally immersed. Nell is an ideal heroine: smart, intrepid and human. Be on the lookout for her return.” RT BookReviews
Book #5, Murder in the North End – Nell and Will infiltrate the worst neighborhood in Boston to keep Det. Colin Cook from being framed for murder. “Plucky Nell and her helpmate Will are well-developed characters who are likeable and smart. The cast of supporting characters in this book is colorful and well drawn, making the book an easy read. All of the books in this series are enjoyable; Murder in the North End is no exception…. I eagerly await the next Gilded Age mystery.” Cozy Library
Book #6, A Bucket of Ashes – Nell and a wounded Will reunite on Cape Cod to investigate the death of her long-lost brother. “As always, the author excels at setting the scene, evoking the time and place by use of the day-to-day details as well as historical events… This has been a gorgeously written series, populated with unique and unforgettable characters. I’m truly sorry to see it end, and will, no doubt, be re-reading these keepers.” CA Reviews