Must the Maiden Die

Written by Miriam Grace Monfredo
Review by Cindy Vallar

Glynis Tryon, the librarian of Seneca Falls, New York, participates in the festivities of her niece’s wedding while solving a prominent businessman’s murder soon after war erupts between the North and South. Monfredo seamlessly interweaves treason, hot air balloons, sexual abuse, utopian society, and women’s suffrage into this tale of violent death and shameful secrets.

While I experienced the rare pleasure of not guessing the murderer’s identity, I skipped over the detailed descriptions of Victorian homes and society (though their lengthiness itself is characteristic of the period). Since I hadn’t read previous titles in this series, allusions to relationships between some characters left me with unanswered questions. Although Seneca Falls was the center of women’s suffrage, I had trouble believing that so many women were quite so liberated. The only females who retained the traditional roles of wife and mother lacked backbone and were browbeaten.

Those who have read the other Seneca Falls mysteries should enjoy this one. Those who haven’t might first want to peruse the earlier ones to get a better feel for the characters.