late of Bethel, Connecticut, currently residing in the city of New York
I have been asked to report on the activities of a day in my life, but I must admit, that is not a simple thing to do. When you are the sister of that most famous man, Phineas T. Barnum, and you work as his assistant at the American Museum, no day is typical.
There are days I deal with those eager to sell items to my brother for display at the museum, and days I am in charge of making sure that what do have on exhibit (there are tens of thousands of items!) are neat and orderly. This, of course, includes our extensive collection of automatons, wax figures, Egyptian mummies, and the live animals that live here in our five-story building at the corner of Ann Street and Broadway, including a whale in an aquarium.
Then of course, we have our oddities. Do not judge my brother harshly for displaying the people so many call “freaks.” Yes, here at the museum, we regularly exhibit a Bearded Lady, the Lizard Man of Borneo, a Tattooed Man, the famous General Tom Thumb, and many other oddities. But unlike other showmen who treat these people abominably, my brother provides these people with luxurious housing and pays them more than a living wage. I am glad of this, for in the time I’ve worked here at the museum, I have come to consider them my friends. I look forward to the days I pay them their wages and visit with them, just as I look forward to having lunch with Bess, our bearded lady, every Monday.
The museum is teeming with all that is intriguing and provocative, so much so that more than 15,000 people pass through our doors each and every day! The American Museum has surely made my brother famous. It has also made him very, very rich.
Of course the most famous of all my brother’s attraction is the Feejee Mermaid, a specimen purported to have been discovered in the South Pacific many years ago. It was there in the gallery where the Mermaid resides where I recently and quite unexpectedly met an old friend from home, Andrew Emerson. Poor dear Andrew. He came from Connecticut most specifically to seek my help and I . . .
It is a very long story, and I cannot divulge the details at this date. I can say that Andrew’s visit propelled me into a most peculiar mystery and that if my brother knew the dangers I faced, he would most surely be displeased.
No, there is no day here at the American Museum that is like any other. But that is fine with me. Such a fabulous place keeps me busy and engaged and that helps keep my past–and my secrets–at bay.
You can read more about Evangeline in Smoke and Mirrors, the first book in the NEW “Miss Barnum” mystery series.
Introducing museum curator and amateur sleuth Miss Evie Barnum in the first of a deliciously quirky new historical mystery series.
Evie Barnum is in charge of her brother’s museum, a place teeming with scientific specimens and “human prodigies” including a bearded woman and the lizard man. In this weird and whacky workplace, Evie hopes she can bury her secrets.
But when an old friend shows up and begs for her help, she does all she can to stay away. The next time she sees him, he is dead in front of the exhibit of the Feejee Mermaid. Suspicion for the murder falls on Jeffrey, known as the Lizard Man, but Evie knows it isn’t possible.
When Jeffrey also goes missing, Evie becomes determined to solve the mystery of her friend’s murder, even if it brings her face to face with her past. . .
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About the author
Once upon a time, a very long time ago and under another name, Casey Daniels began her career writing historical romance. She has long since switched to mysteries because, she says, these days she would rather kill people than have them fall in love. She is the author of ten Pepper Martin mysteries and as Kylie Logan, the League of Literary Ladies and the Ethnic Eats mysteries.
With Smoke and Mirrors she returns to her historical roots. The book is set at Barnum’s American Museum in New York City in 1842 and features a (fictional) sister of PT Barnum, Evie, who works at the museum as his assistant. Casey is grateful for the chance to once again immerse herself in the past, though she admits she forgot how much research was involved! You can find her on Facebook (both as Casey and Kylie) and at www.kylielogan.com and www.caseydaniels.com.
All comments are welcomed.