A Gilded Drowning Pool (The Roddy and Val DeVere Gilded Age Series) by Cecilia Tichi Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

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A couple in late ninetieth century America are ensnared in a deadly murder investigation in a small town where they become the police chief’s prime suspects in author Cecilia Tichi’s “A Gilded Drowning Pool”, the latest book in The Roddy and Val DeVere Gilded Age series.


The Synopsis

As a girl in the West, Valentine Mackle dodged quicksand along the rivers of the mining camps, but as Mrs. Roderick W. DeVere of New York’s Fifth Avenue, Val is sucked into Society’s own quicksand in spring, 1899, when a weekend at a country estate in the Hudson Valley turns deadly. Val’s “soul sister” drowns on family property, and the host’s best “practical jokes” double as death traps.

A Gilded Drowning Pool snarls Val and husband Roddy in a bogus adult health camp, a brothel, a town-and-country pocked with probable killers—and an ambitious police chief convinced that Val and Roddy DeVere played a part in the death that is ruled a homicide.

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The Review

This was an engaging and thrilling mystery read. The author found the perfect balance to showcase both the suspense surrounding the murder mystery aspect of the narrative and the attention to detail involved in the historical period that the setting takes place in. The pacing here is great, giving readers enough detail to really feel transported to this era while also allowing for the action and thriller genre aspects of the story to hit the reader fast. 

To me, the author’s work really shined brightly in both the character development and the rich detail in the historical nature of the narrative. The way the author was able to capture the language, the mindset, and the intricate details associated with the gilded age, even the fashion and era-accurate cocktails, really brought the historical time period to life and helped elevate the narrative. Yet the interesting part came in the contrast between both Roddy and Val, as she brings the strong, independent nature that we love to see in a great protagonist while also going up against her husband’s narrow-minded family and the difficulty of getting her husband to see and appreciate her for who she is, something that happens gradually throughout the narrative.

The Verdict

Memorable, thrilling, and entertaining, author Cecilia Tichi’s “A Gilded Drowning Pool” is a must-read historical fiction meets mystery thriller novel and a great addition to this growing historical fiction series. The twists and turns in the narrative, the rich detail of the era, and the captivating relationships explored in the narrative will keep fans of this series enthralled and newcomers eager for more of the author’s work. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy on May 9th, 2023!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

A fresh start for every new book, and author Tichi’s zest for America’s Gilded Age and its boldface names draws this seasoned writer to a crime fiction series while uncorking the country’s cocktail cultures on the printed (and ebook) page. Tichi digs deep into the Vanderbilt University research library to mine the late 1800-1900s history and customs of Society’s “Four Hundred,” its drinks, and the ways high-stakes crimes in its midst make for a gripping “Gilded” mystery series that rings true to the tumultuous era. The decades of America’s industrial titans and “Queens” of Society have loomed large in Tichi’s books for several years, and the titles track her recent projects:

• Civic Passions: Seven Who Launched Progressive America (and What They Teach Us)

• Jack London: A Writer’s Fight for a Better America

• What Would Mrs. Astor Do? A Complete Guide to the Manners and Mores of the Gilded Age

• Gilded Age Cocktails: History, Lore, and Recipes from the Golden Age

• Jazz Age Cocktails: History, Lore, and Recipes from the Roaring Twenties.

• A Gilded Death (crime fiction)

• Murder, Murder, Murder in Gilded Central Park (crime fiction)

• A Fatal Gilded High Note (crime fiction)

Cecelia is at work on a fourth in the series, “A Gilded Free Fall.” She enjoys membership and posting in Facebook’s The Gilded Age Society. You can read more about Cecelia by visiting her Wikipedia page at: https://bit.ly/Tichiwiki or her website: https://cecebooks.com.


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