Publisher: St. Martins Press
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
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.
Off stage, we are not respectable, like gypsies or immigrants.
Leah was a good character for me. She was spunky and smart - her sleuthing was amazing. Every idea that she came up with about "Jessie" was spot on. I could imagine every one of those scenarios happening, and that made me like her more. She had common sense! I can say, however, that I felt kind of bad for her. I got past it, but... her struggles in "vaudeville" were so honestly and openly portrayed. It wasn't all fun and games, though, and I liked that. She was very brave.
It really surprised me when she took the job, though. Henry was so creepy when he talked to her, and she seemed so determined to stay out of it. But I was glad that she took it, in the end. It made for a good story, and she was good for it.
I enjoyed the crime level - the suspense was balanced out perfectly with the normal, every day moments. I was never bored, neither was I bowled over by action. Like I said, perfect blend! I was constantly trying to figure out the who-done-it part of the mystery; and there were several times where I questioned myself about Jessie. Did I truly think she was dead? I had to hold out for the ending to see, and sometimes it was downright hard. But in the end, I was happy with it. Every little plot point added up. (Psst... what a surprise ending, though! Never saw it coming.)
The atmosphere was what really took the cake, though! I love the little glimpses into 1920's society, and I loved that everything was just so... true sounding. I just couldn't get enough of it. All in all, I would definitely recommend The Impostor to you guys. It was a nice change from the norm, and I really enjoyed it!