Cover image for Relative fortunes
Title:
Relative fortunes
ISBN:
9781542005210

9781542091695
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
306 pages ; 22 cm.
Series:
Summary:
In 1920s New York, the price of a woman's independence can be exorbitant-even fatal. In 1924 Manhattan, women's suffrage is old news. For sophisticated booklover Julia Kydd, life's too short for politics. With her cropped hair and penchant for independent living, Julia wants only to publish books under her own imprint. But as a woman, Julia must fight for what's hers-including the inheritance her estranged half brother, Philip, has challenged, putting her aspirations in jeopardy. When her friend's sister, Naomi Rankin, dies suddenly of an apparent suicide, Julia is shocked at the wealthy family's indifference toward the ardent suffragist's death. Naomi chose poverty and hardship over a submissive marriage and a husband's control of her money. Now, her death suggests the struggle was more than she could bear. Julia, however, is skeptical. Doubtful of her suspicions, Philip proposes a glib wager: if Julia can prove Naomi was in fact murdered, he'll drop his claims to her wealth. Julia soon discovers Naomi's life was as turbulent and enigmatic as her death. And as she gets closer to the truth, Julia sees there's much more at stake than her inheritance. --
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Summary

Summary

In 1920s New York, the price of a woman's independence can be exorbitant--even fatal.

In 1924 Manhattan, women's suffrage is old news. For sophisticated booklover Julia Kydd, life's too short for politics. With her cropped hair and penchant for independent living, Julia wants only to launch her own new private press. But as a woman, Julia must fight for what's hers--including the inheritance her estranged half brother, Philip, has challenged, putting her aspirations in jeopardy.

When her friend's sister, Naomi Rankin, dies suddenly of an apparent suicide, Julia is shocked at the wealthy family's indifference toward the ardent suffragist's death. Naomi chose poverty and hardship over a submissive marriage and a husband's control of her money. Now, her death suggests the struggle was more than she could bear.

Julia, however, is skeptical. Doubtful of her suspicions, Philip proposes a glib wager: if Julia can prove Naomi was in fact murdered, he'll drop his claims to her wealth. Julia soon discovers Naomi's life was as turbulent and enigmatic as her death. And as she gets closer to the truth, Julia sees there's much more at stake than her inheritance...


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in 1924, Benn's stylish debut and series launch introduces bibliophile Julia Kydd, who has returned to New York from London to claim her inheritance, which she will receive on her 25th birthday. With the money, she plans to finance her own small press. Unfortunately, Julia's imperious half-brother, Philip, has contested their father's will, a decision that could leave her with only two options: an expedient marriage or a life of near poverty. Meanwhile, the death of a friend's prominent suffragette sister, Naomi Rankin, draws Julia into the affairs of the wealthy Rankin family, whose members are more concerned with avoiding a scandal than discovering how and why Naomi died. Philip, an amateur sleuth, opines that she committed suicide. Julia disagrees. He proposes a wager: if Julia proves Naomi was murdered, he'll abandon his objections to her inheritance. As Julia's investigations reveal much about Naomi (as well as herself), the author effectively shows the casual discrimination against women at the time. Benn is off to a promising start. Agent: Amanda Jain, BookEnds. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

When Julia Kydd arrives in New York in 1924, she thinks her only struggle will be to fight her half brother's control over the inheritance she's shortly due. But before long, she's involved in a mysteryand maybe even a murder.Julia, who had been living in London and trying to make a go of her fledgling publishing company, is about to turn 25the age when she is to inherit her share of a large fortune. On the boat back to New York, she reunites with Glennis, an old school friend who is rich, feisty, and more than a little flighty. Together, they explore Jazz Age Manhattan while Julia hopes her elder half brother, Philip, will not contest the will. However, when Glennis' sister, a well-known suffragette, dies under strange circumstances, Philip makes Julia a propositionsolve the mystery and he won't fight the will. As Julia probes into the secrets of Glennis' wealthy, pompous, and proud family, she also learns a great deal about the issues facing women who brave society's scorn for demanding equal rights. In this debut novel, Benn shows that she's done her research into the mores and manners of the agefrom art and fashion to the requirement that a man must sign for any loan a woman wants to take out. At times, though, these chunks of information slow down the plot instead of being seamlessly woven into it, and Benn spends perhaps a little too much time pondering the limited options available to women of the era. The ending, with its multiple surprises, helps a little and certainly sets up things for spunky Julia to appear again.There is enough promise in this first outing to hope that, with a little less pondering and a little more pacing, Benn's next mystery will be livelier. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

DEBUT Julia Kydd is impatiently awaiting her 25th birthday so she can obtain her inheritance. She chafes at the restrictions placed on her as a woman in 1924 and is eager for the independence the money will grant her. Her half-brother Philip throws a wrench in her plans when he raises legal objections to Julia inheriting at all. To distract herself from her uncertain future, Julia starts to investigate the suspicious death of her friend Glennis's sister, Naomi, who was even more unconventional than Julia. She campaigned for women's suffrage and, even after the amendment passed, continued fighting for equal treatment of women. When she is found dead and all signs point to suicide, her wealthy family, fearing a scandal, attempt to cover up the cause of Naomi's death. Julia, with Glennis's urging and help, looks more closely, uncovering secrets and scandals.VERDICT While the pace of this debut is slow at times, Benn has created a delightful sleuth, and readers will look forward to more mysteries starring this Jazz Age heroine. Recommend to readers of Carola Dunn's Daisy Dalrymple and Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher and all those seeking a period-rich mystery.--Lynnanne Pearson, Skokie P.L., IL