Murder in a Mill Town

Murder in a Mill Town Book Cover

Book 2: Nell Sweeney Mysteries

A finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award

Nell Sweeney, a young Irish-born governess in post-Civil War Boston, may not have much, but she does possess both a keen mind and a brave heart. As governess to the wealthy Hewitt family, she finds plenty of opportunities to use both—especially when the seamy side of society shows itself…

The lowborn Fallons come to Viola Hewitt with a desperate plea for help. Their wayward daughter, Bridget, a pretty young employee of Hewitt Mills and Dye Works, hasn’t been seen for days. Mrs. Fallon, unwilling to believe that Bridget would just run off without a word, fears that she’s come to a bad end—possibly at the hands of her ex-con lover. Viola, confined to a wheelchair, enlists Nell to locate the missing mill girl. Working with Viola’s black sheep son, Will, Nell uncovers a web of schemes and greed and dark obsession… and what she knows may just be the death of her.

Originally published by Berkley Prime Crime.

“Ryan creates characters you care about and a plot that holds your interest as you try to unmask the killer. Lively and intriguing, this is a fast-paced, wonderful read.”

~ RT BookReviews

Murder in a Mill Town audiobook by Official Website of P.B. Ryan, Author of the Nell Sweeney Historical Mystery Series
Audiobook Edition

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Format: Unabridged
Narrator: Leigh Ryan
Time: 7h 55m


“Former pickpocket Nell Sweeney reinvented herself and found a position as governess to wealthy Viola Hewitt’s daughter Grace. When Viola needs help locating two missing people, she turns to Nell. Working with Viola’s son Will, an opium addict who knows his way around the back alleys and gambling dens, Nell finds the two murdered, and all evidence points to Will’s brother Harry as the killer. While attempting to clear Harry’s name, Nell and Will walk straight into the villain’s lair. Ryan creates characters you care about and a plot that holds your interest as you try to unmask the killer. Lively and intriguing, this is a fast-paced, wonderful read.”

– RT BookReviews

“Nell is one of the strongest, most honorable, and dearest heroines to grace the pages of an amateur sleuth novel….P.B. Ryan knows how to write a tale that will grip and keep readers’ interest throughout the novel.”

– Midwest Book Reviews

“I love this series. After finishing the book, I had to go back and re-read scenes and I even pulled out the first book to re-read much of Nell and Will’s many conversations again.”

– Babbling Book Reviews

“The saga style of Catherine Cookson meets the ‘Victorian vices’ world of Anne Perry in this popular whodunit. Much thought and research has gone into making the two faces of mid 19th century Boston come to life, whether the gilded world of the Hewitts or the grubby back streets of the underworld.”


“Ms. Ryan excels in her ability to show her characters’ complexities….Add the rich historical detail and readers have an excellent historical mystery with an intriguing heroine.”

– The Best Reviews

“Nell is an interesting and unique character….The mystery itself is done quite well, with clues pointing to various suspects, and an unexpected resolution….I hope to see much more of Nell in future books.”

– The Romance Reader’s Connection

“1868 Boston is well portrayed in this series…an enjoyable story…There is no trace of Colonnade Row in what is now Boston’s downtown shopping area, and Charlestown is but a shell of the prosperous city that existed there in the nineteenth century, but this book brings them back into existence.”

– Reviewing the Evidence

The Details

Publisher: Berkley / Hawkley
Published: July 2004
ISBN-10: 0425197158
ISBN-13: 9780425197158
ASIN: B003UV98O0


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