These Shallow Graves (Jennifer Donnelly, 2015)

these shallow

Why did you choose this book? 

The synopsis and cover intrigued me.  It should also be said that this cover is misleading.  It is not a horror novel but rather a kind of cute teen historical mystery with a tad bit of forensic science.

What’s it about?

Jo Montfort has it all – a supportive family, social status as one of the elites of 1890s New York, one of the most desirable bachelors courting her…and yet she’s a fierce and independent young lady.  While away at finishing school, her father is found dead, presumably from the accidental discharge of his revolver.  But Jo finds this hard to believe and as she investigates, she learns that he was murdered.  Through her new friendship with reporter Eddie Gallagher and city morgue employee Oscar Rubin, she tries to find her father’s murderer and bring him/her to justice, even though it means scouring the underbelly of New York.  As the other partners in Van Houten Shipping start falling to the murderer’s knife, time is running out.


Teen fiction, historical mystery

Other recommended reads?

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott features a girl on a mission, though in a fantasy world and with much more athletic prowess.  A better match would be A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn, a historical mystery with a kick-ass heroine and one of my favorite reads so far this year.


I thought this was quite a good book.  As I said earlier, the cover is a bit misleading.  That being said, I did not identify the murderer or motive before Jo.  I did find her a bit annoying sometimes in her insistence on being taken to the heart of the matter, regardless of the risk to herself or her companions.  The forensic science was well-done and believable, but the author’s note made her sound a bit crazy (characters speaking to her and whatnot).  The major issue I had with Jo is that she is too naive to know what a brothel and madam are, yet she has no problem kissing Eddie…

Up next?

Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville (I think anyway)


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