THE FORMULA FOR MURDER
McCleary’s darling and daring Victorian muckraker journalist Nellie Bly is at it again, mixing with luminaries of the time such as H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle in a well-plotted, hair-raising adventure in England. Nellie may be a little ahead of her time in some of her attitudes and expressions, but McCleary draws clear parallels between how women fare in the workplace now and how they did in Victorian times. The story is sprightly and delightful, especially when Wilde holds forth and Nellie gets a little action — no spoilers here, read the book to see with whom!
When her young protégée is found dead in London, an apparent suicide, Nellie travels to England to claim the body and “clean up” any messes. Once she’s there, Nellie’s nose for news leads her into trouble. Suspecting foul play, she journeys to Bath, where a sinister spa holds secrets. She teams up with a biology teacher named Wells and her good friend Oscar Wilde as the search for the truth takes them to the moors of wild England. (FORGE, Jul., 368 pp., $24.99)