Strong Suspicions: A Sophie Strong Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Lilac Bower Media LLC (September 6, 2021)
Paperback : 334 pages
ISBN-10 : 1737353318
ISBN-13 : 978-1737353317
Kindle ASIN : B09C3YFB7C
A notorious woman is murdered, and reporter Sophie Strong stumbles onto the story. Does she have what it takes to find the killer before it’s too late?
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 1912: As the only female reporter at the Milwaukee Herald, twenty-two-year-old Sophie Strong is thrilled when she’s invited to cover the party of the season. Soon she’s swept into the opulent world of the city’s wealthy brewing families. But before she can even get to her typewriter, she discovers a murder victim. The intriguing Detective Jacob Zimmer warns her to leave sleuthing to the police, while Sophie’s editor insists she focus on tea parties and fashion shows. But when her friend and fellow suffragist Clara Elliot comes under suspicion, Sophie is determined to uncover the truth—even if she risks her own life along the way.
Sophie Strong works at the Milwaukee Herald covering women’s topics like teas and fashion while what she really wants is to become a hard news reporter. Her current assignment is to cover a gala hosted by one of Milwaukee’s famous families. The Wolff’s own a huge brewery and love to show off their wealth and flex their high society muscles. Sophie is enjoying the party, taking careful notes, and even getting a turn on the dance floor. Shortly before dinner is set to be served a bunch of marauders disrupts the party calling out the way Wolff treats his workers. Sophie thinks reporting on the crime for the newspaper may be her big break but before she can even file the story she finds a body outside the Women’s Sufferage office. Warned to leave the investigation to the police Sophie just can’t especially when her friend Clara Elliot finds herself in the detective’s crosshairs. Using her profession as a reporter for the Herald she starts her own investigation and what she finds could cost her her life.
Amy Renshaw took me right back to Milwaukee in 1912 when so many political things were happening. Most importantly giving women the right to vote. She has clearly researched this time in Wisconsin thoroughly to be able to give readers a wonderful story with so much accuracy. I really enjoyed seeing everything happen through Sophie’s eyes.
Sophie Strong is a mighty protagonist with an interesting background and a drive to make things happen and dreams of reporting it to the masses. Raised by her Aunt Lucy, a formidable woman in her own right, Sophie was taught women could do anything they put their mind to. Lucy and Clara Elliot have been inseparable for as long as Sophie can remember and both women introduced her to the suffrage movement. Lucy and Clara are the leaders of the group in Milwaukee with Sophie helping in any way that she can. All three women have loving caring hearts to support women and children. Through Sophie, Lucy meets some very special people and I loved the way she opened her home and heart to them without a second thought, just like she did for Sophie several years ago. The author has created a vast cast of spectacular characters that just leap off the page.
Ms. Renshaw has also crafted an excellent well-plotted mystery filled with twists and clues that our heroine sometimes misses at first but that the reader can stow away for reference as we try to solve the mystery too. Sophie really has no fear and inserts herself in some scary situations. The author ramps up the pace and makes those moments quite suspenseful. I did enjoy Sophie’s never-give-up attitude. Naturally curious she makes a great amateur sleuth.
What I really loved was the author’s descriptive writing style. She can bring a scene to life vividly without getting overly wordy and that is a gift. Each time and place came to life like I was watching a movie. Many of those scenes have stuck with me, especially when the killer was revealed and everything that happened after. I was definitely on the edge of my seat.
I have found Amy Renshaw to be a marvelous storyteller. I loved everything about Strong Suspicions. Strong characters that I cared about immediately, a terrific setting, and a compelling mystery based on historical facts all made this book virtually impossible to put down. And yes, you will find this book on my Best Reads List for 2022. I am excited for this series to continue.
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About the Author
Amy Renshaw loves writing, reading, and sleuthing about history. She’s the Senior Editor at Brilliant Star Magazine and Brilliant Star Online, award-winning publications from the Baha’is of the U.S. Amy lives in Wisconsin, where she hikes in the woods, adores chocolate, and writes historical mystery novels.
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