A new novel from the USA Today Bestselling author of The Magician's Lie
Inspired by the real story of investigator Kate Warne, this spirited novel follows the detective's rise during one of the nation's times of crisis, bringing to life a fiercely independent woman whose forgotten triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.
With no money and no husband, Kate Warne finds herself with few choices. The streets of 1856 Chicago offer a desperate widow mostly trouble and ruin - unless that widow has a knack for manipulation and an unusually quick mind. In a bold move that no other woman has tried, Kate convinces the legendary Allan Pinkerton to hire her as a detective.
Battling criminals and coworkers alike, Kate immerses herself in the dangerous life of an operative, winning the right to tackle some of the agency's toughest investigations. But is the woman she's becoming - capable of any and all lies, swapping identities like dresses - the true Kate? Or has the real disguise been the good girl she always thought she was?
THE FIRST DISGUISE
Like any Chicago tavern in deep summer, Joe Mulligan's stank.
It stank of cigars smoked the week before, months before, years before. Tonight's smoke pooled against the basement ceiling in a noxious cloud. I acted like I smelled only roses. The woman I was pretending to be would have done the same.
I was also pretending the sharp tang of men's sweat surrounding me didn't terrify me. These were not good men. But I wasn't a good woman, not tonight. My mission was to ignore the smoke and the sweat, blind a bad man with a wicked smile, and wring out his secrets. There would be no second chance.
So I breathed as shallowly as I could and made my way through the crowd to the bar. Men's bodies brushed mine, hips and hands and God only knows what, lingering on my shoulder and everywhere below. My nerves frayed, and I stumbled. With anything less at stake, I would have fled Joe Mulligan's as if it were on fire. But I ...
...[T]his is precisely the type of novel to read if you want to get your pulse racing. However, that isn’t the only reason to read this book, because it also reminds us that America has a rich history filled with remarkable women. While some of these women worked for the greater good as champions of many worthy causes, others were outstanding by virtue of their struggle to succeed as individuals and professionals, on their own merits in a man's world. What a pleasure to learn about one of these women, especially one we know so little about, through Macallister's eloquence and artistry!
(Reviewed by Davida Chazan).
Full Review (626 words).
Many great novels start with a premise, which mirrors or takes inspiration from something in real life. In Greer Macallister's Girl in Disguise, the inspiration is the real-life Kate Warne, the first female private detective who began her career with Pinkerton's in 1856. Learning about her made me wonder which came first did the concept of creating a woman detective rise from some writer's fertile imagination, or was Warne the inspiration for the first fictional female sleuth?
According to the website Crime Fiction Lover, in 1864 Andrew Forrester (aka James Redding Ware) invented Mrs. Gladden as the protagonist of his The Female Detective series of adventure stories. This appears to be the first English language fiction to feature...
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