In Gilded Age New York, swashbuckling opera singer Ella Shane solves mysteries with her “confirmed bachelor” cousin Tommy, colorful friends, and adoring swain, the Duke. Ella, originally Ellen O’Shaughnessy, an Irish-Jewish Lower East Side orphan, found fame, fortune, and a very happy life singing the heroic male trouser roles so popular with nineteenth-century audiences. A performer and public figure she may be, but she is also a lady, who demands, literally at the point of her sword, to be treated as such. For the reader alone, she’s a bit more blunt: I’m nobody’s whore. She’s also nobody’s fool.
In her latest adventure, A FATAL OVERTURE, Ella confronts her most dangerous challenges yet: her potential mother-in-law, and a marriage contract. If only a body in the bathtub and a disturbing series of mishaps weren't complicating matters....
Ella is playing Romeo when her Juliet apparently drinks real poison and drops dead onstage. Soon the Duke has come to New York to find out what happened to the girl, who was his runaway cousin. They find themselves looking for a killer, and drawn together in an unavoidable, and quite possibly unresolvable, attraction. Can Ella find – and stop – the murderer? Can a diva look at a Duke…and does she even want to? We’ll find out before the final curtain...
An Historical Novel Society Editors' Choice, and named Favorite Debut of 2020 by Aunt Agatha's!
Premiere night for the Ella Shane Opera Company's new production of The Princes in the Tower doesn't quite go according to plan when a man is murdered backstage and Ella's Richard III is the prime suspect. Ella and Tommy find themselves trying to discover what really happened, while putting on a show every night. If that's not enough, her reporter friend Hetty is finally off hats and onto a high profile murder trial. As the cast try to figure out the interlocking mysteries -- with some help from an unexpected visitor -- their happy show turns out to be much more dangerous than expected. Will everyone survive to the final curtain?
Now on Aunt Agatha's Best of:: History Mystery 2021 list!
Kathleen Marple Kalb grew up in front of a microphone, and a keyboard. She started her radio career as a teenage DJ at a small station in her hometown of Brookville, Pennsylvania, and despite a brief flirtation with advanced study in history before taking her B.A. at the University of Pittsburgh (her mother will never forgive her for turning down an assistantship at William and Mary), worked her way up through newsrooms in Pittsburgh, Vermont and Connecticut, to New York. But she never wore her Phi Beta Kappa key again after her first day at KDKA, when she accidentally hung up on a U.S. Senator. Her broadcast career went significantly better after that, including a number of regional Edward R. Murrow awards in Vermont, and her current post as a weekend morning anchor at 1010 WINS, New York’s top all-news station.
At age sixteen, she wrote her first historical novel, which thankfully did not find a publisher, though a couple of editors did actually read it. Her Vermont story, "Bad Apples" was recently named an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Black Orchid Novella Award contest. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and son in a house owned by their cat.
"The Thanksgiving Ragamuffin" has been nominated for a 2022 Derringer Award for Short Story from the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Amazed and grateful!