Sisters of Cain by Miriam Grace Monfredo

Miriam Grace Monfredo combines unerring acuracy with gifted storytelling in her popular historical mysteries.

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Sisters of Cain by Miriam Grace Monfredo


  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.05 x 6.77 x 4.22
  • Publisher: Prime Crime; Reissue edition (August 8, 2001)
  • ISBN: 0425180921
    Miriam Grace Monfredo's Seneca Falls, New York, produces some extraordinary women, chief among them Glynis Tryon (1999's
    Must the Maiden Die, et al), the librarian turned early feminist detective, and Tryon's nieces Bronwen and Kathryn Llyr. Sisters of Cain, the seventh in Monfredo's series, takes place in 1862. The more conservative Kathryn is determined to nurse the wounded of the Civil War and hence travels to Washington to join Dorothea Dix's squad of Union battlefield nurses. Bronwen, the fiery redhead lately canned by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, has joined forces with Rhys Bevan, the chief of detectives at the U.S. Treasury Department. The Pinkertons, as it happens, comprise the Union's spy network from Washington southward. By the time of the action, they have been entirely compromised by secessionist sympathizers within the U.S. government, pressing the Pinkertons (who are professional detectives but amateurs at spying) into deep cover, the deep South, and deep trouble.

    "Since your contact was one of those named on that page, you may also be known. The upshot of it," Rhys added, "is that I can't send you back there. Which, at least temporarily, gives me no agents in Baltimore."

    She knew him too well to take this as a callous remark. No matter how it sounded, it wasn't a lack of agents in Baltimore that had so disturbed him, but their violent deaths.

    The Union's most immediate concerns are launching its ironclad, the Monitor, to meet and nullify the South's just commissioned Merrimac, and taking the war to the South with General George McClellan's Virginia Peninsula Campaign. And it is in and around both of these events, and amongst Monfredo's well-drawn characters both real (McClellan, Dix, Bevan, Lincoln, et al) and imagined, that Bronwen and Kathryn must prevail.

    Fast-moving, tightly written, and more than enough historical accuracy, feminism, spy craft, romance, and mystery for almost any reader, Sisters of Cain will no doubt find its way to a wide variety of bedsides. And if the detective-fancying-Civil-War-buff fans in those beds enjoy this, they should also try John Jakes's On Secret Service. --Michael Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

    Book Description
    In Washington City in 1862, President Lincoln rallies the Union troops for the largest single campaign of the Civil War. And two sisters from Seneca Falls take their places among the players of history, sparked by the fires of conviction...

    As part of the new special intelligence force of the Treasury, Bronwyn Llyr finds herself undercover and behind the lines. Her sister Kathryn volunteers as a nurse for the Union Army. In the heart of enemy territory and in the thick of battle, the two sisters must solve a baffling mystery, and thwart a Rebel conspiracy that threatens both their lives-and the entire outcome of the war...

    Praise for Monfredo's previous historical mysteries:

    "Seneca Falls is our perfect mirror for viewing the American women and men of the 1860s."-Chicago Tribune

    "[Monfredo] is at her best pulling plot twists out of actual events. Her research is evident on every page."-Publishers Weekly"Written beautifully, richly satisfying both to the head and to the heart."-Anne Perry

    Seventh in the acclaimed series
    --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

    Reader Reviews
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: Suspense and a lesson in history, March 11, 2003 Reviewer: ec_hamel from Manchester, Missouri United States This book was the first one I ever read from Miriam Monfredo and I hadn't heard fo the Seneca Falls series yet. So I was glad that there were only few cross references to the other books of the series. "Sisters of Cain" has its little weaknesses, e.g. when the main character Bronwen tries to get through enemy lines, an old friend of hers (who incidentally is of Native American heritage AND a scout) appears out of the blue and helps her avoid the Southern troops. No explanation is given why this person is at this particular spot at this exact time. Nevertheless, this book is great fun to read. The suspense in the story is increasing until almost the end, so I had a hard time to ever put it aside. The fact that it combines fiction with history made even more interesting, particularly because the story integrates two issues that are probably not well known in public. No. 1) the existence of women spies on both sides. No. 2) the fact that female nurses only started to be accepted in public hospitals and the military. (By the way, nuns in European convents played a major role in nursing for centuries before - but nobody seems to acknowledge this.) I'm looking forward to reading the next books in the series, the brothers and the children of Cain.

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