A Resolution at Midnight by Shelley Noble. New York : Forge, 2020. 365 pp.
Lady Philomena, Dowager Countess of Dunbridge, )Phil to her friends) is back to solve her third mystery in this series, and it is a great escape for the New Year! Phil is asked to serve as the honorary chairman of a charity event to be held at Christmastime at the Plaza Hotel. At the committee meeting, she meets two college friends of her friend Bev – Martha, or Marty, who defied her wealthy parents and became a newspaper reporter, and Rosalind, or Roz, who married a politician and dropped out of Vassar before completing her degree. Phil is intrigued by Marty, especially as she finds out that the dead body she found just before the committee meeting was Tommy Green, one of her fellow reporters at the New York Times. The mysterious Mr. X, who has paid for Phil’s lodgings and has helped her with her previous cases, sent her to meet with Tommy; unfortunately, he is dead when she goes to the rendezvous point.
Phil and her friends investigate the mysterious death, knowing the police are, for the most part, corrupt, and perhaps even took part in Tommy’s death. Marty becomes a part of their investigative team, since she knows the ins and outs of the newspaper and Tommy’s habits when working on a big story. She is chomping at the bit to publish his big scoop, but is willing (barely) to wait and use his notes to catch the killers. Roz, meanwhile, has a mysterious connection to Tommy and those who silenced him. The chase for the killers culminates at the historic first ball drop at the Times building on New Year’s Eve 1907.
This book includes wonderful historic details of turn-of-the-century New York City, the Christmas traditions of the Gilded Age, and the first Times Square ball drop. The mystery feels very authentic to the time period, including kidnappings by gangsters and corruption at high levels of government and society. If you enjoy historical mysteries with strong female characters, Noble’s Lady Dunbridge series won’t disappoint!
Check out the other titles in this series: Ask Me No Questions and Tell Me No Lies.
Mary Beth Adams is the Outreach Coordinator for ACPL, and produces our popular “On the Shelves” video reviews. She can be reached at email@example.com.