Monday, February 24, 2014
Fallen Women by Sandra Dallas
2.0 out of 5 stars - "We're all fallen women one way or another..A fallen woman is worse than any man."
That quote summarizes the whole tone of this murder mystery with a supposed historical authenticity. The time is 1885 and the place is Denver, Colorado. Beret (?) Osmundsen, a socialite and mission worker from New York, comes to this western town when she gets word that her younger sister, Lillie, has been murdered in a brothel there. Lillie, from whom Beret has been estranged, apparently fled west after the sisters had a terrible falling out, and later on became a prostitute in Denver's tenderloin district.
As soon as Beret arrives in Denver and is installed at the home of her wealthy aunt and uncle there, I was able to predict the whole rest of the outcome of the story. I did not connect with any of the characters nor did I ultimately care about them. Beret has absolutely no qualifications but ends up working with a detective there (himself a member of Denver's society people but slumming working in the police) helping with the investigation into Lillie's murder (and then another) without more than her experience in her mission work providing the credentials. Beret and Mick McCauley joke about her being a "criminologist" and their idea of police investigative technique is certainly superficial and not based on any science or forensic procedure but conjecture. Regardless, the identity of and reasons for the murder are obvious almost immediately. Beret is shallow, snobbish, and not as clever as she thinks she is -- and of course gets herself nearly killed several times from her incredibly stupid sleuthing techniques. The author attempts to throw in many red herrings to try to divert the reader, but it is unsuccessful and more annoying as it drags out the book unnecessarily.
At the conclusion, I was happy to be finished, and was very disappointed in this novel.
Amazon vine ARC.