Books by Miriam Grace Monfredo

CHILDREN OF CAIN by Miriam Grace Monfredo
Released: Sept. 3, 2002

"The Red Badge of Courage meets Gone With the Wind in the conclusion of Monfredo's Civil War trilogy (Brothers of Cain, 2001, etc.), as historical romance intermittently mists over her cool eye for historical reality."
Bronwen Llyr, niece of Glynis Tryon, the Seneca Falls librarian who banishes musty stereotypes of Monfredo's own profession, is a US Treasury agent, providing President Lincoln with some of the most valuable Civil War intelligence available. But not even courageous Bronwen, her sister Kathryn, a Union Army nurse, and her brother Seth, a Union Army officer, can compensate for the cowardly incompetence of General George McClellan, Lincoln's commander-in-chief, and the incredibly bloody and septic conditions for wounded soldiers. The Assistant Secretary of the Navy wants Bronwen to thwart British agent Colonel Dorian De Warde before he recommends the Confederate cause to the British, and to discover how a blockade-runner consistently delivers British-made weapons to the Confederacy. Lincoln himself, however, allows her to postpone the assignment and go instead to Richmond to rescue Lincoln's friend Arthur Quiller, and her own fellow agent Tristan Marshall, from an incognito stay in a Confederate hospital—along with her sister, her sister's adopted orphan, and his dog—during the bloody farce of the Union Army's failure to capture Richmond. The rendering of that battle and its aftermath makes up for the coincidences that reunite the Llyr siblings, Aunt Glynis, and assorted lovers and hangers-on. But Bronwen must leave and proceed to Norfolk to ferret out traitors abetting the blockade-runner. Read full book review >
BROTHERS OF CAIN by Miriam Grace Monfredo
Released: Sept. 4, 2001

Shifting genres with the generations, this innovative mid-19th-century America series has spiraled from murder mysteries stalked by gender and ethnic tensions in western New York into espionage thrillers exploiting the opening gambits of the fratricidal Civil War. In this installment, set during the Union's effort to take Richmond in spring 1862, pioneering series sleuth Glynis Tryon (Must the Maiden Die?, 1999, etc.) holds the home front as her soldier nephew Seth is captured after Williamsburg; her nurse niece Kathryn battles for respect and employment; and her intelligence-agent niece Bronwen sidesteps mad Confederate assassin Simone Bleuette and cynical British spy Dorian de Warde. Bronwen's mission to thwart a southern bid for British aid is complicated when, in the hope of flushing her out, her brother Seth is tried as a spy and sentenced to hang. In swashbuckling style, Bronwen cross-dresses to make the trip cross-country, dines with the enemy, and springs her brother before spiriting off to safety Great Britain's tobacco investment and rescuing two more threatened males via stiletto and derringer. Would that General McClellan have been so daring and resourceful. Read full book review >
MUST THE MAIDEN DIE by Miriam Grace Monfredo
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

Must The Maiden Die ($21.95; Sept.; 384 pp.; 0-425-16699-6): Echoes of Fort Sumter resound in far-off Seneca Falls, New York, where librarian Glynis Tryon is drafted into detective work for the fifth time (Through a Gold Eagle, 1996, etc.), now in hopes of vindicating Tamar Jager, a mute indentured servant, from the accusation of having murdered her employer, importer Roland Brant—a case that will take Glynis once more deep into the eternal questions of women's justice. Read full book review >
THE STALKING HORSE by Miriam Grace Monfredo
Released: March 1, 1998

Determined, it seems, to follow in the footsteps of her aunt, librarian/sleuth Glynis Tryon (Through a Gold Eagle, 1996, etc.), Bronwen Llyr has persuaded Allan Pinkerton to accept her as a detective-in-training. Her first, allegedly routine assignment is to accompany southern railroad investor Thaddeus Dowling—posing as his daughter Jane—to the founding convention of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery to find out how likely it is that the newly-formed Confederacy will appropriate Dowling's railroads. But a telltale conversation Bronwen overhears about a sinister plot code-named Equus—coupled with the ``accidental'' deaths of two other Pinkerton agents on the same assignment—makes her realize there's much more at stake than some endangered investments. Unwilling to update imperious Pinkerton lest he recall her to Chicago, Bronwen allies herself by turns with two unlikely men—Guy Seagram, a Maryland delegate to the secession convention, and Tristan Marshall, who's wanted for murder—in a frantic effort to race to Baltimore, where Equus is evidently poised to strike. Insinuating Bronwen into the history of President Lincoln's inaugural requires more adventure than detection, but spirited Bronwen and her author are more than equal to the demands of their high mission. Besides, why should Allan Pinkerton, or James Bond, have all the fun of saving the sacred cause of freedom? Read full book review >
THROUGH A GOLD EAGLE by Miriam Grace Monfredo
Released: July 1, 1996

It's 1859, and Glynis Tryon, librarian of Seneca Falls, New York, is going home after a year's absence helping to care for her dying sister. Glynis's shy, sad niece Emma accompanies her on the long train journey from Illinois. With Rochester behind them and only one stop before journey's end, passengers are stunned by a savage knife attack on a passenger who drops a leather pouch into Glynis's lap before disappearing, his body to be taken off the train at Seneca Falls by Constable Cullen Stuart, Glynis's old love and ally in past investigations (Blackwater Spirits, 1995, etc.). The pouch holds a double eagle coin, a ring, and a banknote, plunging Glynis and Stuart into the fierce ongoing battle between Treasury agents and the rampant counterfeiting of the era. Glynis's on-again, off-again fondness for Stuart is cooled by his reported closeness to Fleur Coddington, owner of the town's priciest dress shop, who promptly hires Emma, a gifted seamstress, after her shopgirl Sally Lunt is found murdered—just one of the string of killings chalked up here. There's more—much, much more. Chapters are devoted to the abolitionist John Brown and his raid on Harpers Ferry, and to the battle for women's rights—these laced with mini- lectures on coinage, the strictures of women's dress, Emma's legal tangle with the Singer sewing machine company, and a host of other trivial pursuits that further weigh down a novel that manages to be both tumultuous and ponderous, with characters and plots enough for a lengthy series. In the end, a trial of patience for the often intrigued but finally overwhelmed reader, who may fervently hope that less will be more in this talented writer's future outings. Read full book review >
BLACKWATER SPIRITS by Miriam Grace Monfredo
Released: Feb. 11, 1995

A woman physician is an exotic beast in 1857, and it's no wonder that the citizens of Seneca Falls, N.Y., don't all welcome Dr. Neva Cardoza with open arms. In addition to her sex, Dr. Cardoza can count on her temper (spirited) and her convictions (she's ardent for temperance) to make all the enemies she can handle. Fortunately, she hears no complaints from the growing number of corpses she's asked to examine: a farmer who correctly claimed his life was in danger; the Grimm family shepherd; the grim Grimm patriarch; another citizen who needed to be jailed for his own (inadequate) protection; and the citizen's niece, a lady of the night now emerged into the town's daylight. Not enough homicide for you? Before she's through, Seneca Falls librarian/detective Glynis Tryon (North Star Conspiracy, 1993, etc.) will rescue Iroquois deputy Jacques Sundown, just back after a long absence, from the dock by linking the five murders to a chain of violent deaths reaching back nearly ten years—if she doesn't get distracted by the sumptuous subplots Monfredo can't resist sneaking in on spiritualism, Iroquois vengeance, battered women, and the zoning laws for a tavern that provides other refreshments as well. More densely imagined, satisfying historical fare whose proto-feminist spin feels just right. Read full book review >
NORTH STAR CONSPIRACY by Miriam Grace Monfredo
Released: Aug. 17, 1993

Unmarried (by choice) librarian Glynis Tryon (Seneca Falls Inheritance, 1992) learns firsthand of the iniquities of slavery when her boardinghouse landlady's son Niles returns to their western New York home with Kiri—a beautiful mulatto slave he helped escape from a Virginia plantation. A slave-catcher is on their trail, and though Glynis manages to get Kiri to her sister's house in Rochester, a stop on the Underground Railroad, Niles is captured and returned to Virginia to stand trial. In Richmond to help Niles's lawyer, Glynis learns that three recent murders back home all tie in with Kiri—and with the murder of her fleeing family 13 years before by a villainous overseer, now living up north under another identity. With help from Constable Sundown and Cullen Stuart, a Pinkerton detective, Glynis and Kiri bait a trap for the villain and spring it during the debut performance of Macbeth at Seneca Falls's just-opened theater. Stimulating fare (despite a subplot or two too many) that effectively parallels the powerlessness of slaves and women—the disenfranchised—building to a dramatic courtroom sequence. Sojourner Truth, Matthew Brady, et al., appear in memorable cameos. Read full book review >
Released: April 7, 1992

Glynis Tryon, busily cataloguing the books that Friedrich Steicher bequeathed to the Seneca Falls library, politely refuses a stranger's request to handle the Steicher family Bible (included by mistake) and then directs the woman to the livery to hire a carriage; she's off to Waterloo in search of her mother's friend- -Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The woman is murdered first, however, and between stocking the library shelves and canvassing the local women about a possible women's rights conference, Glynis learns that the victim was the illegitimate half-sister of Karl Steicher, who thought he was the sole heir to his father's fortune. Furthermore, the woman's husband, Gordon Walker, decides to sue for his dead wife's share. Meanwhile, it's up to Glynis and the constable's deputy, Jacques Sundown, an Indian, to discover who would most benefit from Rose Walker's death—and then to tie this murder in with the killing of a saloon girl. Nicely conceived first novel, which makes good use of Genesee (malaria) fever, Jane Eyre as a threat to job security, and the First Women's Rights Convention of 1848. More romantic than rabid feminists might like, but a telling glimpse at Bloomers, childbirth, and abused wives of the mid-19th century. Read full book review >