The Impersonator

The Impersonator by Mary Miley - 358 pages
Book Blurb:
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.
My Review: 3.5 stars
What a great book this was and I’m not a huge fan of the mystery genre! I loved the idea of an impersonator blending in with family; perhaps it’s the soap opera girl in me. The protagonist, “Jessie Carr” was smart, witty and fun to solve the mystery with. The characters were well fleshed out due to Jessie’s natural insight and smarts, so she had a good handle on them. I enjoyed the take on Vaudeville and the author’s bringing in famous names who got their start there, such as Jack Benny. This is a quick romp through the 1920’s where prohibition is at full swing and  women drank their “hooch tea” in bone china tea cups so they wouldn’t be suspect of drinking!
Quotes I liked:
- “Had a lifetime of theater made me too theatrical?”

Tags: 2014, Mystery, Historical Fiction

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