Union Street Boarding House, Jamie Michele & Mary Rinehart

Practically perfect in every way. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written, 1907 Pittsburgh murder mystery--the kind where there's an obvious suspect and the complications cast doubt, culminating in a courtroom drama (I love these). The characters, especially the slippery narrator, are intriguing, and the dialogue rang true for me, which is iffy in a lot of historical fiction I come across.

Here's the catch--and maybe it's only me. The book is 'co-authored,' and not in the sense that I'd expect. Jamie Michele specializes in rewriting little-known texts, so this is her rewrite of Mary Rinehart's original "The Case of Jennie Brice." (You can find the text on Project Gutenberg here.) There is A LOT of overlap. Without going line-by-line, I'm not confident how much is Michele and how much is Rinehart. I suppose the good thing is that Michele is bringing texts back into circulation--I stumbled across "Union Street Boarding House" and only found out about Rinehart when I read the book's  Acknowledgements page. And it is worth noting that Michele gives Rinehart credit on the cover and in her acknowledgements, but this idea of 'rewriting' still makes me twitchy.

Regardless - it's a fantastic, novella-length read and a darn fine mystery!