I was trying to think of how to compare this book when I read the first sentence on Goodreads: Perfect for fans of Veronica Mars and Downton Abbey, and yeah, that’s kind of it…this is a cross between Downton Abbey and Veronica Mars – two shows that don’t seem to have too much in common. But our heroine, Piper, has the spunk and zest that those of us who watched Veronica Mars remember her having.
The story: Piper Sail is a late teen in 1924 Chicago. Piper’s best friend, Lydia, is missing and Piper knows that Lydia would never leave without saying goodbye, and Lydia has never once been in trouble so she’s sure that Lydia is in trouble. The Roaring Twenties in Chicago is not the safest for a young girl to be exploring, but Piper is sure that the police are looking in all the wrong places so she begins her own investigation. Piper does get one young, handsome, detective to help her, though he isn’t convinced she really knows what she’s doing.
I love jazz-age fiction (and there’s a nice moment in the book where Piper is reading some F. Scott Fitzgerald) and author Stephanie Morrill has done a very nice job of researching the period and bringing us in to the world of speakeasies and crime bosses and where women are beginning to discover a sense of freedom and individuality.
There is a scene late in the book that is breathtakingly terrifying. I was quite impressed with Morrill’s ability to capture a sense of hopeless, helpless struggle with near death consequences. I was uncomfortable and really wanted the moment to end. In that sense it actually took me out of the story even though it was so wonderful written.
There were more than a few moments when I felt that Piper’s behavior was more akin to the twenty-first century rather than 1920’s, but I still really enjoyed this period mystery.
Looking for a good book? The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill is a historical fiction mystery that entertains and is worth reading.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for a honest review.
* * * * * *
The Lost Girl of Astor Street
author: Stephanie Morrill
paperback, 352 pages