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July 18, 2017

Girl in Disguise

Girl in Disguise

By: Greer MacAllister

Girl in Disguise is an historical novel set in the 1850s and 1860s that tells the story of Kate Warne, the real-life first female detective hired by the Pinkerton Agency in Chicago.  Kate is a widow and needs a job, and she convinces Allan Pinkerton that a female detective can go places and do things a male detective cannot. The Pinkerton Detective Agency is a man’s world, and Kate must prove herself and overcome her male colleagues’ efforts to undermine and discredit her. She becomes skilled at the tricks of the trade, and she eventually earns the respect of her fellow detectives. Her astute powers of observation and her ability to think on her feet see her through dangerous criminal investigations and unpredictable situations.  Her specialty becomes disguise and impersonation, and she puts it to use to devise a plan to protect President Lincoln from a Southern assassination plot (true event.) Her most challenging disguise is that of a Southern belle sympathetic to the Confederacy, working as a spy in the South during the Civil War, and befriending Southern spy Rose Greenhow in an effort to obtain information for the Union. It’s during this assignment that Kate discovers an additional passion beyond her work, that for her colleague, Tim, who is impersonating her husband, adding another dimension to her character and a bit romance to the story. The novel is written in first person and events are seen from Kate’s point of view, almost like a memoir.  Many readers will relate to Kate’s struggles as a working woman on her own in a man’s world, readers may gain insight into feminist, as well as crime detection, history.

Greer MacAlister’s first book, The Magician’s Lie, was a bestseller and has been optioned for film by actress Jessica Chastain.

Review By:  Donna LeFeber