Take one missing heiress, an unscrupulous uncle, and a young vaudeville performer fallen on hard times; add several murdered girls, a mysterious Chinese herbalist, and a handsome bootlegger; then move from the seamy world of Prohibition-era vaudeville to Oregon’s rugged coast, and what do you have?
A formula for suspense, as Jessie finds herself torn between her deceitful charade and her determination to find out what really happened to the girl she is impersonating.
In 1917, Jessie Carr, fourteen years old and sole heiress to her family’s vast fortune, disappeared without a trace. Now, years later, her uncle Oliver Beckett thinks he’s found her: a young actress in a vaudeville playhouse is a dead ringer for his missing niece.
But when Oliver confronts the girl, he learns he’s wrong: orphaned young, Leah’s been acting since she was a toddler. Oliver, never one to miss an opportunity, makes a proposition–with his coaching, Leah can impersonate Jessie, claim the fortune, and split it with him. The role of a lifetime, he says. A one-way ticket to Sing Sing, she hears. But when she’s let go from her job, Oliver’s offer looks a lot more appealing. Leah agrees to the con, but secretly promises herself to try and find out what happened to the real Jessie. There’s only one problem: Leah’s act won’t fool the one person who knows the truth about Jessie’s disappearance.
Set against a Prohibition-era backdrop of speakeasies and vaudeville houses, Mary Miley’s Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition winner THE IMPERSONATOR will delight readers with its elaborate mystery and lively prose.
“Miley shows a deft touch and sets a blistering pace . . . Leah Randall/Jessie Carr leaps off the pages in the Roaring Twenties period piece that drips with bathtub gin, truck-size cars, outsize personalities, moey, high stakes and enough twists, turns and sleights of hand to keep one reading late into the night. . . Simply put, this book is FUN.” –David Baldacci, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author.
“Miley has delivered a tale that lures us into the dangerous underworld of Prohibition: rum smugglers, bootleggers, and the glamorous lost realm of vaudeville . . .a realm so real that we can almost smell the greasepaint. THE IMPERSONATOR is an exciting debut!”–Katherine Neville, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author.
An Army brat who has lived in Virginia most of her adult life, Mary Miley received her BA and MA in history from the College of William and Mary and taught American history and museum studies at Virginia Commonwealth University for thirteen years. She is the author of almost 200 magazine articles, most on history, travel, and business topics, and of nine nonfiction books. THE IMPERSONATOR is her first novel.
To learn more about Mary, please visit her website.