Book Review: Fundraising the Dead (Museum #1) & Dead Letters (Museum #2.5)

Fundraising the Dead by Sheila Connolly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Berkley

Summary:  At The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques, fundraiser Eleanor "Nell" Pratt solicits donations-and sometimes solves crimes. When a collection of George Washington's letters is lost on the same day that an archivist is found dead, it seems strange that the Society president isn't pushing for an investigation. Nell goes digging herself, and soon uncovers a long, rich history of crime.

I was in the mood for a cozy mystery and I had this in my TBR pile so decided it was time to finally read it. It made me want to read more of the series but I can't say this was the most compelling cozy I've ever read. It pulled me in because it's set in Philadelphia (who isn't drawn to books set in places they've actually lived?) & surrounding counties and had a historical preservation society fundraiser as the sleuthing heroine. Recently, it seems my favorite sleuths are book publishers, librarians or curators as there's a nice look in at the workings of those day to day careers from the inside as the mystery plays out.

I figured out ridiculously early who the thief was and was surprised Nell didn't. It's repetitious in places and meandered but I expect that was part of being a "set up to the series" story. Points also for giving characters last names of some familiar names in Philadelphia in Girard, Pratt & Drexel. I also enjoyed Nell's suburban commuter train mentions as it made me recall the same. I also will take away from this book that I really need a recipe for the Corn & Cheese Casserole that Marty Terwilliger makes here. I've never heard of or had it but it certainly sounded good. Recommended & I'll continue the series.

Dead Letters by Sheila Connolly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:   Nell Pratt’s search into a family’s history may bring more than just dark secrets to light…
Nell Pratt, President of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society, is intrigued when Arthur Logan, elderly scion of an old Philadelphia family, approaches her to search the Society’s archives for information on the Logan family’s history. What he desires most, it turns out, is her discretion—but as Nell begins sifting through documents and letters, a series of unsettling occurrences lead her to wonder if she’s not the only one out there looking for a Logan family secret…

Read this short as I was also reading the first in the series. I liked it and it helped me to exclude a character as a suspect in the first book. There's something fun about reading a book set in a city in which you lived so this also made me nostalgic for Philadelphia & it's surrounding areas. Double points for the main character sleuth being a fundraiser for a preservation society (goes with my love of librarians, archivists & curators as sleuths). I'll definitely read more of this cozy mystery series.

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