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April 19, 2024

Cleopatra's Dagger by Carole Lawrence ~ a Review

by MK French

Elizabeth van den Broek is the only female reporter at the Herald, New York City’s most popular newspaper in 1880. She and her friend Carlotta Ackerman find a woman’s body wrapped like a mummy at the intended site of Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park. Elizabeth now investigates the murders, especially after more bodies turn up with ties to Egyptian lore. Her reporting implicates New York’s rich and powerful, and a serial killer is also watching every headline.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of historical thriller novel Cleopatra's Dagger by Carole Lawrence
April 2024; Thomas & Mercer; 978-1542014304
audio, ebook, print (364 pages); historical mystery

While Elizabeth uses her family connections to get the job as a Society reporter, she wants to report on larger issues, particularly those affecting women. She's not interested in social jockeying, likely because of her older sister’s psychosis, but she doesn't ignore the privileges that she has. We're treated to an extensive description of 1880 New York City, as much of the street activity is very different from her uptown upbringing. Her idealism makes her hope to educate the masses with her articles when everyone else around her feels it's hopeless. Some coworkers are willing to let her do her job, but there are those willing to demean her, whether verbally or worse.

Elizabeth is determined to do good in the world, which means she puts herself in situations where she is potentially in danger. There are also times when she freezes or reacts badly to reminders of her trauma. In refusing to let it stop her, she goes to the police station, and the morgue, and talks with the downtrodden who wouldn't reveal anything to the police. She pieces together a theory based on these clues, and we're along for the ride to see this to its conclusion. The mystery drew me in, and I had to know what happened next. Definitely a great peek into the time period, and a convincing mystery to solve.

Buy Cleopatra's Dagger at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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  1. I know I'd want to read it is soon as I saw that it was a murder mystery, and a serial killer in the mix. This is going right on my TBR list. Thanks for the suggestion.

    1. Thanks so much for your interest, Debi! I hope you like it. - Carole Lawrence (aka Bugge)

  2. Thanks so much to MK French for the lovely review!