Now that Hilda Johansson’s spent seven years as a maid for the wealthy Studebaker family, her life is about to change. And murder is just part of the story.
The Swedish immigrant’s intelligence and determination have earned her a reputation as an amateur detective (Silence Is Golden, 2002, etc.). Her Irish beau Patrick, recently named a partner in his wealthy uncle’s thriving dry-goods business, has asked her to marry him. Because their cultural and religious differences will displease both families, Hilda’s often preoccupied with her personal problems. When her younger brother Erik’s schoolteacher is found brutally murdered, both Erik and Colonel George Studebaker, whose friend is suspected, ask her to find the killer. The young teacher lived in a boardinghouse of dubious reputation, and a stranger had been seen in the street the night of her death. Erik’s bellhop pals pitch in to hunt for clues while Hilda, adept at interviewing maids and millionaires, starts sleuthing. The Pinkertons, involved in an investigation of local corruption, may know a thing or two about the murder. Moving between the homes of the wealthy and the wretchedly poor, Hilda resolutely searches for the killer and narrowly escapes with her life.
Basing her tale on an actual case, Dams brings the period alive as the captivating Hilda solves a murder and her own problems too.