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Deadlier than the Pen

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In 1888, the murder of two female journalists in the New York City prompts newly widowed journalist Diana Spaulding to investigate the handsome horror author Damon Bathory in this historical mystery. Although her growing affection for Bathory makes her increasingly reluctant to pursue him, Spaulding is spurred on by her cigar-chomping boss Horatio Foxe in an adventure that In 1888, the murder of two female journalists in the New York City prompts newly widowed journalist Diana Spaulding to investigate the handsome horror author Damon Bathory in this historical mystery. Although her growing affection for Bathory makes her increasingly reluctant to pursue him, Spaulding is spurred on by her cigar-chomping boss Horatio Foxe in an adventure that pits her against a deranged artist, a matriarch with a bloodthirsty sense of humor, and a traveling acting troupe of egotistical men and jealous women. Written against the background of New York City during the height of yellow journalism, the novel brings to life not only the the fast-paced murder mystery that Spaulding investigates, but also the day-to-day realities and hardships of the gilded age.


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In 1888, the murder of two female journalists in the New York City prompts newly widowed journalist Diana Spaulding to investigate the handsome horror author Damon Bathory in this historical mystery. Although her growing affection for Bathory makes her increasingly reluctant to pursue him, Spaulding is spurred on by her cigar-chomping boss Horatio Foxe in an adventure that In 1888, the murder of two female journalists in the New York City prompts newly widowed journalist Diana Spaulding to investigate the handsome horror author Damon Bathory in this historical mystery. Although her growing affection for Bathory makes her increasingly reluctant to pursue him, Spaulding is spurred on by her cigar-chomping boss Horatio Foxe in an adventure that pits her against a deranged artist, a matriarch with a bloodthirsty sense of humor, and a traveling acting troupe of egotistical men and jealous women. Written against the background of New York City during the height of yellow journalism, the novel brings to life not only the the fast-paced murder mystery that Spaulding investigates, but also the day-to-day realities and hardships of the gilded age.

30 review for Deadlier than the Pen

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erin Lee

    I read this book after I read the second, entirely by accident. I like this better than the second and am looking forward to the third.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Avid Series Reader

    Deadlier than the Pen by Kathy Lynn Emerson is the first book of the Diana Spaulding mystery series set in March 1888 New York City then Bangor Maine. In New York City, young widow Diana is one of a few women bucking tradition in the field of journalism. Her editor Horatio Foxe is driven to beat rival newspapers by publishing juicy scandal. When Diana attends a dramatic reading of Damon Bathory's horror stories, she's repulsed by the violence and torment of the prose, but drawn to the man's char Deadlier than the Pen by Kathy Lynn Emerson is the first book of the Diana Spaulding mystery series set in March 1888 New York City then Bangor Maine. In New York City, young widow Diana is one of a few women bucking tradition in the field of journalism. Her editor Horatio Foxe is driven to beat rival newspapers by publishing juicy scandal. When Diana attends a dramatic reading of Damon Bathory's horror stories, she's repulsed by the violence and torment of the prose, but drawn to the man's charisma. He refuses to give an interview. Diana refuses to take No for an answer. She follows him across the city, gaining only blisters. She sees him visiting "bedlam"; is it research for creepy stories? Staking out his hotel, she sees him meet with a stranger. Horatio Foxe shares news articles about women reporters murdered in cities where Bathory was on tour, insists she get the interview - or he will publish a story to reveal Bathory's crimes. Foxe has already tweaked her stories to make them sensational, publishing gossip that alienated friends. When Diana follows Bathory again, she's attacked in an alley - by a man with a knife. Bathory suddenly becomes amenable, making promises. But she catches sight of him fleeing the city. She's stubborn, after all her job is at stake. There aren't many careers open to women in 1888. She gives chase, completely unprepared to take a train trip, much less to be snowbound for days. Stuck in a blizzard in Connecticut, she's attacked again on the train. Watching Bathory competently set a trainman's fracture, she decides he must be a doctor moonlighting as an author. Could someone else on the train, one of Toddy's Theatrical Troupe (her friends) be the killer? When she's alone with Bathory, Diana has a sense of safety, besides a strong attraction. However she recalls being giddy in love with her first husband Evan, biggest mistake of her life. She vows not to be fooled, keeps in mind all the suspicious evidence against Bathory - reinforced when he tricks her again. Using her wits, she tracks him to Bangor, Maine. In his home, meeting his family, she begins to learn the many secrets he's hidden (some already revealed to readers in alternate chapters from his point of view). She continues to take huge risks (and barely survive attacks) until she finally confronts the killer. We're left with a cliffhanger (typical of Victorian serials): Diana must make a life-changing decision by April. Author's note mentions there really was a Blizzard of '88 that blanketed the northeastern seaboard, and "yellow journalism" thrived on scandal.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Lynx

    More romance than mystery. But I’ll try the next one in the series because I like the setting. 1900 New York and the north east.

  4. 4 out of 5

    An Odd1

    Who killed three girl reporters in three cities visited by touring actors and injured Diana during snowstorm or skating? Who is the horror writer? and artist of scantily clad mermaids? The eccentric matriarch? Brother Ben or Aaron?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    A real disappointment. Having read and love the author's Face Down series I was anxious to see what she would do with a new setting and new characters. The answer....not much. Susanna Appleton in the medieval set Face Down books was solid, intuitive and capable, the people who surrounded her well drawn and amusing and the period detail fantastic. The new group of characters are sketches rather people except for the minor character of Jerusha. The new protagonist Diana Spaulding is on the insipid A real disappointment. Having read and love the author's Face Down series I was anxious to see what she would do with a new setting and new characters. The answer....not much. Susanna Appleton in the medieval set Face Down books was solid, intuitive and capable, the people who surrounded her well drawn and amusing and the period detail fantastic. The new group of characters are sketches rather people except for the minor character of Jerusha. The new protagonist Diana Spaulding is on the insipid side, someone that things happen to rather than someone who seeks out answers and becomes enmeshed in trouble because of it. Not wretched but a huge letdown after the previous books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    This started off with a rough first third - characters that didn;t flesh out, motivation that wasn't strong enough, and while the few details of working in a Victorian era New York city Newspaper just weren't tantalizing enough to grab me. Luckily, I didn't put the book down, and when the characters left the city for the rest of the book, it improved very much. Some characters so quirky they are downright creepy (although not the heroine, as far as I can tell, there is nothing remarkable or even This started off with a rough first third - characters that didn;t flesh out, motivation that wasn't strong enough, and while the few details of working in a Victorian era New York city Newspaper just weren't tantalizing enough to grab me. Luckily, I didn't put the book down, and when the characters left the city for the rest of the book, it improved very much. Some characters so quirky they are downright creepy (although not the heroine, as far as I can tell, there is nothing remarkable or even notable about her) this was obviously an early work, but shows lots of potential for both the series and the writer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Just A. Bean

    Maybe I was in the wrong mood for this one. I did like the historical details, and tales of real life female reporters from this era, but I wasn't a fan of the Poe-esque leading man, nor of the way he brow beat Our Heroine. I gave up about a third of the way in. Maybe I was in the wrong mood for this one. I did like the historical details, and tales of real life female reporters from this era, but I wasn't a fan of the Poe-esque leading man, nor of the way he brow beat Our Heroine. I gave up about a third of the way in.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    bought a charity book sale, added it to my stash, It was OK, but three weeks later, I can't remember a thing except there is a travelling theater group, and a rich man interested in a young, impoverished widow, a snowed in train, a murder. this one goes in the donate pile! bought a charity book sale, added it to my stash, It was OK, but three weeks later, I can't remember a thing except there is a travelling theater group, and a rich man interested in a young, impoverished widow, a snowed in train, a murder. this one goes in the donate pile!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Mustread

    #1 in mystery series set in 1880s

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adelas

    2.5 stars--

  11. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    3.5 Not a normal read for me, but decent enough.... I realized nearly too late as to who the true killer was. As I already have the other books I will continue to read this series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    quite a good Victorian mystery. I'm going to try to find her others now. quite a good Victorian mystery. I'm going to try to find her others now.

  13. 4 out of 5

    LecClier

    Murder, romance, and adventure set in 1888 New York and Maine. Loved the spunky protagonist!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cyber

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jodotha

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lorrie Meneely

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Jean

    Fun read!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pat

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maribeth

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Hon

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jazmen

  28. 5 out of 5

    Judith

  29. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Stewart

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