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Secrets Worth Killing For - A Founding Fathers Mystery

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Publish)

Bridget LeClair was a mere housemaid after all, so when she died of the yellow fever in the fall of 1797, no one paid very much attention – not, that is, until suspicions emerged as to how she really died, and Thomas Jefferson was accused of killing her. Jefferson had secrets worth killing for, to be sure – his affair with his slave Sally Hemmings and his role (if the rumors were true) in Senator Blount’s treasonous conspiracy. He wasn’t the only one with dangerous secrets to hide, however. Poor Bridget was a magnet for scandal. Despite his best efforts to stay uninvolved, Senator Jacob Martin finds himself helping the Senate Doorman James Mathers discover Bridget's murderer. It is a task that wins him no friends, as he must unearth the scandals of some of the richest and most powerful men in the country.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.50 out of 10


Borek's novel is a terrific historical mystery set in Philadelphia, the temporary capital city of the fledgling United States during the rumbustious post-Revolutionary War period. When a young girl dies mysteriously, Federalist Senator Jacob Martin, a decidedly reluctant detective, assisted by James Mathers, the Senate Doorman, investigates her possible murder. Vivid descriptions of Revolutionary-era manners and courtesies, food, drink, and newspapers, as well as true-to-life characters lend authenticity. The subversion of Founding Father hagiography is startling. If the mystery wraps up a little quickly and easily, with a thread or two still untied, it’s a minor flaw in an otherwise exhilarating read. A series worth extending.

Date Submitted: September 21, 2016