Adams County Reads One Book Announced

New York City, 1888. A devastating blizzard envelops the city, killing hundreds of people. Heiress Prudence MacKenzie’s fiancé, Charles Linwood, is found after the blizzard, with an ace of spades playing card clutched in his fist. Despite reassurances from everyone that Charles died from the blizzard, Prudence is not convinced. There are too many unanswered questions, especially the significance of the playing card. Prudence’s desire for answers leads her into the underbelly of New York City, where dark secrets hover in the shadows. As Prudence, with the help of former Pinkerton agent Geoffrey Hunter, slowly uncovers the truth, she discovers how deadly and grisly the truth can truly be.

It is my pleasure to announce this year’s Adams County Reads One Book title, “What the Dead Leave Behind,” by Rosemary Simpson. To quote Kirkus Reviews, “A daring daughter of the Gilded Age must fight her stepmother for her very survival…Simpson’s debut…features complex characters, a vivid look at old New York in the late 1800s, and a mystery with a twist.” This is the first in the Gilded Age mystery series published by Kensington Publishing. The Gilded Age, predominantly in the last nineteenth century, saw lots of opportunities for growth and wealth and industrial innovations, as well as greed and poverty, corruption and despair. It’s also a period that still feels the influences and outcomes of the Civil War, whose ghosts haunt every aspect of society. This is also the Victorian Era, with specific expectations on decorum; Prudence at times breaks the Victorian mold in her actions.
Why did the Adams County Reads One Book Committee select this title? Prudence is a strong female character who stands up against adversity and deceit to achieve her goals. Rosemary Simpson has crafted a well-flowing, easily readable mystery, mixed with historical events and people. Roscoe Conkling, a famous New York politician, plays a big role in the novel. Addiction and gambling, cryptography and The Lost Cause, have mentions in the novel as well. With various historical aspects and well-crafted characters, this mystery has something that will interest every reader.

Physical and electronic copies of the book are now available in the library system – stop by your local library to grab a copy or place a copy on hold. And, if you want to read more, check out the rest of the series; copies of these are also available in the library system.

As in the past, One Book events will take place in October. Most programs and events will be formally announced in September. Look for events based on topics found in the novel, as well as book discussions throughout the county. I’m delighted to let everyone know that Rosemary Simpson will be visiting the Adams County Library System to discuss her book! She will make two appearances in October; more details about her visit will be available in the coming weeks.

We hope to see you at one of our One Book events. As always, if you have a book suggestion for an upcoming One Book, please let the staff know. The Adams County Reads One Book Committee considers every title suggestion brought to the committee.

Happy Reading!

Submitted by Jessica Laganosky, Public Services Librarian