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“What a thoroughly charming book! A beautiful combination of entertaining characters, minute historical research, and a powerful evocation of time and place. I’m very glad there will be more to come.”

—New York Times bestselling author Barbara Hambly


Boston, 1868: The dawn of the Gilded Age, an era of burgeoning commerce and invention, of unimaginable new fortunes and lavish excess—for some. Born into dismal poverty, young Nell Sweeney scratches by on her wits and little else until fortune blesses her with a position as nursery governess to the fabulously wealthy Hewitts. But she soon learns that ugly secrets lurk beneath the surface of their gold-plated world.


The Hewitts’ eldest son, William, a former Union Army battle surgeon and the black sheep of the family, was reported to have died three years before in a notorious Confederate prison camp. But one snowy February afternoon, his parents learn that he is, in fact, still alive—and in jail for having murdered a man while intoxicated on opium. Infuriated by his son’s deception and convinced of his guilt, August Hewitt forbids his wife from coming to Will’s aid, so she begs Nell to help exonerate him. Nell finds that she must delve into the kind of dark and treacherous underworld she thought she’d left far behind if she is to unearth the truth before the hangman’s noose tightens around William Hewitt’s throat.


Originally published by Berkley Prime Crime.


“P.B. Ryan makes a stunning debut with Still Life with Murder, bringing Nineteenth Century Boston alive, from its teeming slums to the mansions on Boston Common, and populating it with a vivid and memorable cast of characters. The fascinating heroine, Nell Sweeney, immediately engages the reader and I couldn't put the book down until I discovered the truth along with her. I can’t wait for the next installment.”

—Bestselling author Victoria Thompson


“P.B. Ryan captures an authentic flavor of post-Civil War Boston as she explores that city’s dark underbelly and the lingering after-effects of the war. The atmosphere is that of The Alienist, but feisty Irish nursemaid Nell Sweeney is a more likable protagonist. I look forward to seeing her in action again.”

—New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen


“Still Life with Murder is a skillfully written story of intrigue and murder set during Boston’s famous Gilded Age. Nell Sweeney, governess and part-time nurse, is a winning heroine gifted with common sense, grit, and an underlying poignancy. With its rich sense of place and time and a crisp, intelligent plot, readers will speed through this tale and be clamoring for more.”

—Bestselling author Earlene Fowler


“Utterly absorbing. Vividly alive characters in a setting so clearly portrayed that one could step right into it. A very clever plot in which each clue is clearly offered and yet the identity of the murderer is a complete surprise. I look forward to many more books...”

—Bestselling author Roberta Gellis


“If you like fast moving, accurately drawn, historical mysteries, you won’t go wrong by trying Still Life with Murder.”

—Reviewing the Evidence


“This debut mystery is a winner, with a feisty heroine, a colorful historical backdrop and a strong mystery rife with complexities. An ideal blend of history and mystery.”

—RT BookReviews


“Still Life with Murder is sheer perfection... gripping... powerful... unforgettable... You’ll know you’ve read one hell of a story after you turn the last page!”

—Reader to Reader Reviews


“Nell is an amazing character who does not dwell on her past but she is clearly determined to overcome it…. William Hewitt is an exasperating anti-hero; he will not explain, apologize or even try to behave in a conventional manner and has no wish to save himself.  Yet beneath the defeated façade he is quick-witted, gentlemanly and flirtatious, dismissive one minute and intense the next, just enough to keep Nell guessing—and attracted…. The characterization is masterly and the author’s research of the atrocities of the American Civil War are stark and uncompromising without being sentimental. A definite keeper and I will certainly buy more novels in the Nell Sweeney series.”

—Historical Novel Review


“Still Life with Murder is a wonderfully engaging period mystery. The Gilded Age is in full swing in Boston and the dichotomy of the haves and have-nots is very clear. Both the richest families and the poorer, rougher class are well drawn and richly described, lending to a very believable setting…. A highly recommended first mystery with an engaging heroine and richly drawn settings that will leave readers eager for more about Nell and Will.”

—The Mystery Reader


“This is the first book in the acclaimed Gilded Age Mysteries series, and has many things to recommend it... a tidy package of well-drawn characters, lively story and historical verisimilitude.”



“A highly entertaining book with a well-drawn pair of characters who have both sparkling chemistry and conversation. I’m looking forward to more Nell Sweeney mysteries.”

—All About Romance


“Wonderful book…. Talk about intense couples. ‘Epic’ comes to mind.”

—Babbling Book Reviews


“It’s a wonderful piece of historical fiction. Ryan does a great job of recreating 19th century Boston and describing both walks of life in the period…. Nell is a strong woman, with plenty of backbone, a plucky personality, and a keen mind; the perfect heroine, really. Will is a deeply flawed yet honorable man and makes a good foil for Nell…. This is a wonderful read…. I didn't want to put it down.”



About the Author: Patricia Ryan, a.k.a. P.B. Ryan, is the USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including the #1 national bestseller Still Life with Murder. Pat's books have garnered rave reviews and been published in over twenty countries. Visit her at

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