Sheila Connolly’s Fundraising the Dead also delves into the mysteries of the human psyche, this time emphasizing the allure of money and power. Connolly’s new Museum Mystery series is quite a bit darker than her delightful Apple Orchard Mystery series, but it is even more skillfully executed. Set in Philadelphia, repository of old money and blue bloods, this series debut features astute fundraiser Nell Pratt, director of development for a small but prestigious museum holding collections of valuable papers and objects of local historical significance.
As the story begins, Nell is nervously presiding over a gala fundraiser when she learns that a number of museum items have mysteriously vanished. As the gala unfolds, the museum employee attempting to track down the missing materials meets an untimely demise. Coincidence? Murder? At the instigation of the eccentric Marty, one of the blue-blooded donors, Nell sets out to investigate. While the reader may not be entirely surprised when the criminal is exposed, the motivation for the crimes will come as a shock and it’s a pleasure to accompany Nell on her quest. Fundraising the Dead is a promising debut with a winning protagonist.