The Philadelphia Story

Pretender ’56 by Jane Kelly

If there’s one thing this terrific book reinforces, it’s the idea that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The United States in 2022 isn’t all that different from the United States of the 1950s—there are bright lines between social classes, there’s a dichotomy in the way different parts of society experience the justice system, and powerful people often hold more influence than they deserve.

You’ll find all these issues, in addition to a murder mystery, in Pretender ’56, Book 2 in Jane Kelly’s Writing in Time mystery series. Amateur detective Tracy Shaw and her aunt Julia are sleuths with a mission to see justice served in the double murder of two young people who may have angered some powerful people in the city of Brotherly Love.

I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this tension-filled tale. The story of what really happened the night Cassie Kelly and John Brien were murdered, while the eyes of the world were on the magnificent royal wedding of another Philadelphia Kelly (Grace, that is) to the Prince of Monaco, is filled with suspense and puzzling clues. The pace is spot-on and the main character, Julia Tracy, is beguiling and clever in her search for truth and—maybe—justice.

The author does a brilliant job describing the world of 1950s Philadelphia, with its changing social mores and distinctions between the haves and the have-nots. It’s a fascinating look at a microcosm of American life during the mid-twentieth century.

I highly recommend this book to mystery lovers, and particularly those with a fondness for more recent historical fiction and those who love Philadelphia, PA.

6 thoughts on “The Philadelphia Story”

    1. Hi, Pat,

      I have a friend who read a biography of Grace Kelly last year and recommended it to me, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. This book doesn’t focus on Grace Kelly, but on the events that took place in the background of the excitement over her wedding.

      Her family’s old summer home is just 10 minutes from my house. It’s a beautiful place, and very distinctive. It’s got Spanish-style architecture in a town with a decidedly beachy theme.

      Liked by 1 person

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