Still Life With Murder (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, Book 1)

Rated 4.33/5 based on 12 reviews
#1 national bestseller Still Life With Murder is the first book of P.B. Ryan’s acclaimed historical mystery series featuring Boston governess Nell Sweeney and opium-smoking former battle surgeon Will Hewitt. Thought to have died during the Civil War, Will is arrested for murder, and Nell must prove his innocence. Originally published by Berkley Prime Crime. More
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About P.B. Ryan

My my medieval romance fans know me as Patricia Ryan and my historical mystery fans as P.B. Ryan. Over the past 15 years, I've published 27 novels and novellas (with #28 in the works), with editions in over 20 countries. My books are known for being brisk, emotionally gripping page-turners. Silken Threads, my medieval romance inspired by Hitchcock's Rear Window, won Romance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Long Historical Romance. I've also received a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Mystery/ Suspense for The Sun and the Moon, and a Mary Higgins Clark Award nomination for my first Nell Sweeney mystery, Still Life With Murder

If you're new to my books, check out my website for FREE EXCERPTS--nice, long ones!

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Review by: julie barrett on Jan. 12, 2018 :
STILL LIFE WITH MURDER by Patricia Ryan/ PB Ryan
Have read other works by this author and have enjoyed the books.
1860's on the Cape and life at the summer cottage, more like a mansion.
Hewett's are about to have another in the family. The new nursery maid, Nell tries to adjust to living in the city and on the Cape during the summer months. She also has to help raise the child under religion of the family.
She knows much of the family's dark secrets. She's a great one to sketch.
She is asked to help save their son William after he's been found, in a jail accused of murder. Mrs. Hewett can only rely on Nell to help as her husband has banned her from doing so herself.
The jail is so much part of her past life and she tries to find clues and people who saw what happened to try to help William...
Very detailed descriptions of hard subjects as she is witness to some of the investigations of scenes of events that occurred.
Like learning about all their dark secrets and how things worked back in time.
Lots of twists and turns and unpredictable things and you won't know who was the culprit til the end and it won't be who you think it is, who all the clues are pointing to.
Excerpt from the next book is included along with author bio.
via Smashwords
(reviewed 7 years after purchase)

Review by: JaneofArch on Aug. 29, 2017 : (no rating)
I found the too little realism in the depiction of the eighteen-sixties, and especially in the language used. Sorry—quit about two-thirds of the way through.
(review of free book)

Review by: Carol on Oct. 02, 2012 :
Good historical mystery with interesting characters.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)

Review by: VR Christensen on Dec. 14, 2011 :
I really loved this book. As someone fully enthralled with the Victorian era, I really was not disappointed. Ms. Ryan has certainly done her research. Nell may have some modern sensibilities, but I didn't think they were out of place here. Considering her background, her unique situation, she might very well have been one of the women (a few decades later) to bring about reforms for women. The dark horse, a flawed hero if ever there was one (or is he a hero at all?) is an accomplishment in characterisation. Complicated, dark, brooding, an addict, and yet we root for him as if he were one of our nearest and dearest. I found the solution to the mystery completely unexpected, the twists and turns breathtaking. I'm looking forward to reading all the books in this series. I haven't been able to put them down since I started just a few days ago. It's been a long time since I was hooked like this. Well done, Ms. Ryan! You have a fan in me.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)

Review by: Audrey Driscoll on Aug. 27, 2011 :
I had a feeling that Still Life With Murder would be a good read after the first paragraph, and I was right. Well-written and thoroughly researched, this novel combines history, romance and mystery, with an emphasis on romance. Its main strengths are the principal characters, Nell with her problematic past and Will with his psychological problems and addictions. Their interactions are compelling, to the point that the actual "whodunit" aspect is secondary. I found the revelation of the murderer a bit unlikely, but that didn't matter.
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)

Review by: Sharon E. Cathcart on Aug. 27, 2011 :
When Nell Sweeney, an Irish girl with a rather dubious (and mostly unexplained, in this book) past assists her physician employer during a difficult birth in 19th century Massachusetts, she has no idea what she is getting into. The pregnant woman is a chambermaid for a Boston Brahmin family, and the child is adopted by them. Nell is hired away to be the child's governess almost at once.

When baby Grace is about three years old, the family is embroiled in scandal as their eldest son, William, is accused of murder. William had been presumed dead at Andersonville ... but is very much alive. Nell's employer sets her the task of finding a way to prove William's innocence -- despite mounting evidence of his guilt.

A well constructed and entertaining "whodunnit" that kept me guessing the entire time.
(reviewed 55 days after purchase)

Review by: peter gillham on Aug. 20, 2011 :
from the first page this is a great read..and looking forward to reading the next one
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)

Review by: Polar Bear on May 31, 2011 :
I enjoyed the story even though the mystery felt a bit simplistic. The characters are likable and I look forward to more adventures of Nell and Will.
(review of free book)

Review by: S.D. Livingston on May 05, 2011 :
A great read that drew me in from the first page. There was a refreshing depth to the characters, and especially to the dialogue. It never sounded stilted or artificial, and that made the characters seem very real.

Storytelling, plot, and layout were top-notch. For readers who notice (and yes, I'm one), a smattering of punctuation slipups and missing words were noticeable in comparison but didn't take away from the overall quality of the read.

I'll definitely be back to check out more in this series!
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)

Review by: amward on April 29, 2011 :
I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series to find out what happens to Nell and Will. The book was well written and although some of the scenarios are a bit far fetched the story carries you along.
(reviewed 50 days after purchase)

Review by: Julianne Weight on Sep. 18, 2010 :
This was a really enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to getting and reading the next one.
(reviewed 63 days after purchase)

Review by: Estara Swanberg on Aug. 14, 2010 :
I quite liked the setting and the characters of Nell and Will, and I didn't realise who-did-it till the end, but I think some of the difficulties of their positions and the times were handwaved away.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)

Review by: Sarah Tanner on July 22, 2010 :
I thoroughly enjoyed 'Still Life With Murder'. It’s a character-driven mystery with an interesting plot. The chemistry between Nell and Will is sizzling, although they don’t embark upon a romance in this book. I suspect this will develop over the course of the series.

I can highly recommend 'Still Life With Murder', especially to those readers who enjoy unusual historical mysteries with a dash of romance.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

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