FICTION

The Conjurer

Intrigue, passion and murder surround the mysterious disappearance of Philadelphia financier, Lemuel Beale, in the winter of 1842.  Purportedly a victim of accidental drowning, Beale’s legacy is a sinister web of political and financial machinations, and a troubling relationship with his daughter and only child.  Unmarried at twenty-six in an era when women were expected to become brides before turning twenty, Martha Beale’s search for her father emboldens and frees her, bringing her love in the person of Thomas Kelman, an assistant to Philadelphia’s mayor – and a man whose business is homicide. 

Deception’s Daughter

When the daughter of one of Philadelphia's finest families disappears, Martha Beale once more joins forces with her secret beau, Thomas Kelman, to track the heiress.  But what appears to be a kidnapping takes a darker turn and complex clues implicate rich and poor alike – from the outlying Blockley House for the homeless, with its thin walls and hungry inhabitants, to the “bawdy house” of Madam Kat, to the elegantly furnished drawing rooms (and bedrooms) of the wealthy.

Without Fear

A headless female corpse is discovered on the Philadelphia estate of Joseph Bonaparte, drawing Martha Beale into a sinister world of mistaken identities, missing wives and thwarted desires that transcend social class.  Her friend, the former actress Becky Grey, becomes enmeshed in the evolving mystery, which incurs the fury of her husband, blue-blood William Taitt, forcing Martha to protect her friend from his abuse.  Who was the murdered woman, and who placed her body on the Bonaparte estate?  Rich and poor alike are implicated.

The Actress

A tale of political machinations, revenge and murder.  When Becky Grey Taitt’s abusive husband threatens to divorce her and keep their child, she agrees to infiltrate a gang of counterfeiters in exchange for the aid of powerful jurist, Alonzo Craig.  After the judge’s scheme miscarries, Becky is trapped in a lethal criminal underworld while her friend Martha Beale and Martha’s beau, Thomas Kelman, struggle to rescue her. 

Sins Of Commission

Sins of Commission is an immersive tale of treachery, loyalty, and passion. A case of arson turns lethal, but who was the perpetrator and what was the motive?  While Thomas Kelman and Martha Beale investigate the blaze, her adoptive daughter, Ella, is abducted.  Then another fire destroys the home of industrialist, Darius Rause, killing his adulterous wife, Susannah.  Is there a connection between the crimes?  Will Martha and Kelman be able to rescue Ella, or will she also perish?  The destinies of rich and poor collide in this fast-paced novel where duplicity reigns. 

Beneath the Wind

Eugenia Axthelm’s storybook marriage has become no more than a memory. Her husband, George, depends more on alcohol and less on wits when pitted against his aristocratic, tyrannical father, “the Turk.”  When her father-in-law presents the couple with the beautiful yacht Alcedo for a journey around the world, Eugenia has no idea that before the sojourn is half over, she will betray and be betrayed by the very love that has shaped her well-ordered life.

Praise for the Martha Beale Series:

 

“Exceptional attention to period detail helps transport the reader to a past very unlike our own and yet so similar.”   Publishers Weekly

 

“Biddle  successfully uses 19th-century Philadelphia, mining the landscape for the kinds of jewels that illuminate a good mystery, and shaping characters that ring true to the elements of their creation.”   The Philadelphia Inquirer

 

"Fresh and believable. Biddle knows her manner and her city, and shows both to great advantage."  Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

 “Appealing characters... a wealth of intriguing period detail.”   Kirkus Reviews

 

“The setting is unfolded as vividly as the characters, from the “commoners” working the textile mills to the unseemly criminal types of the upper-crust elite. A fine mix of history and mystery.”  Booklist

 

"Corruption, clairvoyance, and family connections abound as you are transported back in time to the richly detailed world of Martha Beale. A smart and sumptuous series." 

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