Friday, April 6, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Fire Engine Dead

Fire Engine Dead (Museum Mystery - Book 3) by Sheila Connolly

Publication Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 304pp
ISBN-13: 978-0425246702
ISBN: 0425246701

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Shelia Connolly on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Books in the series: Fundraising the Dead (2010), Let's Play Dead (2011), Fire Engine Dead (2012)

CoverArt: Click on the picture for a larger, clearer image of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Fire Engine Dead (Amazon Look Inside Feature)


Nell Pratt, president of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society in Philadelphia, has to stoke her intuition to find an arsonist/murderer whose identity is veiled in smoke…
A series of warehouse fires has police scrambling for an arsonist, especially when valuable pieces in storage from the Fireman’s Museum go up in flames and a guard is killed in the blaze. A picture in the paper of the museum’s centerpiece—an 1825 horse-drawn hand pump—catches Nell Pratt’s attention. Though charred and twisted, the vehicle is clearly not the original. Yet no one at the museum is talking.
As things heat up for Nell, FBI agent and prospective boyfriend James Morrison taps her insider knowledge of museum administrators to find the truth behind the smokescreen…


The latest museum mystery, Fire Engine Dead, explores the history of firefighting in Philadelphia that goes all the way back to the days of Ben Franklin. Sheila Connolly once again takes readers behind the scenes of a working museum. She educates and entertains with intelligent, likable characters and a deep appreciation for the men and women who risk their lives to serve others.

In my opinion Fire Engine Dead is the best book in the museum mystery series. Sheila Connolly's knowledge of museums and of Philadelphia is remarkable. She is able to set a scene quickly and allow the reader to dive right into the action. In her latest book, she takes on fire fighting and suppression and pits her heroine, Nell Pratt against an arsonist and killer, who eventually targets her own museum and her life. Connolly's enthusiasm for this subject shows on every page of this book. I know that some people consider museum's dull and boring but Connolly proves that there can be a lot of excitement where antiques and old papers are concerned.

I very much enjoyed the plot of this novel. I liked learning about Philadelphia's firefighting history and the inner workings of a museum. Connolly has obviously done some research and it shows. The book has an authentic feel that is unmistakable. Readers who have had any dealings with anyone in a service position, especially firefighting, will enjoy this one. Connolly honors servicemen and women by sharing the history of their craft. I thought it was intense and interesting. It was not a typical cozy plot.

Nell Pratt is a savvy lady. She is also very observant. When she notices a photo from a warehouse fire that destroyed a large portion of the exhibits from the Firehouse Museum, she knows something isn't quite right. The antique engine in the photo is not the engine that the Firehouse Museum had on display. Was this arson, an attempt at a cover-up? Is it insurance fraud or some other motive that is driving this criminal? Readers have learned from previous books in the series, that Nell isn't one to back down from a good mystery. She calls in her would be boyfriend and FBI agent to help her figure this one out. She's such a great character and readers will really enjoy her antics. 

This book has all the great qualities of a good read. It has action, a hint of romance, and a great whodunit. Before reading this book I would have considered Connolly's Orchard series to be my favorite, but this one is growing on me. With this latest addition to the series, I think I'm beginning to see a lot of the things I liked about the first series, in this one. The smart, intelligent plots, the multi-layered characters with great personal stories, and the cleverly engineered mystery aspects that are present, are gratifyingly similar. A great addition to a very good series!

Fire Engine Dead is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

After collecting too many degrees and exploring careers ranging from art historian to investment banker to professional genealogist, Sheila Connolly began writing in 2001, and has now published eight traditional mysteries. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.

She wrote her first mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime under the name Sarah Atwell, and the first book, Through a Glass, Deadly (March 2008), was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel; Pane of Death followed in November 2008, and Snake in the Glass in September 2009.

Under her own name, her Orchard Mystery Series (Berkley Prime Crime) debuted in 2008 with One Bad Apple, followed by Rotten to the Core (2009), Red Delicious Death (2010), A Killer Crop (2010), and Bitter Harvest (2011). The next book in the series, Sour Apples, will be published in August 2012.

She also writes a series, the Museum Series (Berkley Prime Crime), set in the many museums of Philadelphia. Fundraising the Dead came out in October 2010, Let's Play Dead in 2011, and the third, Fire Engine Dead, will be published in March 2012.

Sheila has also published short stories: "Size Matters" appeared in the 2010 Level Best Anthology, Thin Ice; "Called Home," a short prequel to the Orchard series, was published by Beyond the Page in 2011; and "Dead Letters," an e-story featuring the main characters from the Museum series, will be published by Berkley Prime Crime in February 2012.

She lives in a too-big Victorian in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband and three cats, as well as her daughter who graduated from college in 2007 with a degree in Comparative Literature and is still trying to figure out what to do next.


The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Fire Engine Dead by Sheila Connolly.

~ You must be a GFC follower or an E-mail subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only!
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST April 20th.

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Wendy Newcomb said...

Sheila, this series sounds great, I may have to do something about getting this set of books.


Rachelle21 said...

I am from Philadelphia, so this reading this book will remind me of "home".

cyn209 said...

already on my WishList!!
thank you for the giveaway!!!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Linda Kish said...

It's nice to pick up a book and maybe learn a little something at the same time. Sounds interesting. I haven't been to Philadelphia in about 50 years...I bet it's changed a bit.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Karen B said...

Museums are always so fascinating - and, oh, the stories they could tell! This sounds like a terrific book/series.


Carol N Wong said...

Your review make this book a must read for me. I love museums and well written cozies.


Renee said...

This book sounds wonderful! Do they have to be read in order as I haven't read the first two. I can't wait to read them!

Sue Farrell said...

Learning a little about Philadelphia history will be a plus in reading the fun cozy. Thanks for the giveaway.

ann said...

Hope I win this time tried before on a different sit with no luck. Thanks
amhengst at verizon dot net

catslady said...

This is a new to me author and series but sounds like a delightful read!


bn100 said...

A museum mystery sounds like a good read.

lag123 said...

I have not read any of this series but would love to.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

mamabunny13 said...

I love the cover of this book and the series sounds like a good one!

Carol M said...

I'm enjoying this series. I can't wait to read this book, too.