Hilda Johansson is a maid in the South Bend, Indiana, home of the Studebakers, wealthy industrialists who supply the carriages of the landed gentry, own the factories that keep the city's coffers full, and are fervent supporters of President William McKinley. A hard-working immigrant, Hilda is painfully aware of the social gap between her and her employers. But when the president is assassinated and the press and police as well as the Studebakers blame the deed on foreign-born anarchists, Hilda's loyalties to her adopted country conflict with her concern that fellow immigrants might be swept up in a wave of xenophobia that could destroy the lives of innocent people. |
In addition, there's trouble brewing at the Studebaker plant, but no one, including Hilda's own brother, a key employee there, will tell her what's happening. And then another man is murdered--the builder of the new city hall, who's been a guest in the Studebaker house. His death further enflames the bias against foreigners that threatens to destroy the social and economic fabric of South Bend. Anxious to protect her friends, Hilda puts her Old World values and her considerable sleuthing powers to work to clear a wrongfully accused suspect, the brother of her closest friend, and in the process manages to unmask the real killer. Red, White, and Blue Murder is Hilda's second appearance (the first was Death in Lacquer Red). Author Jeanne M. Dams has fashioned a refreshing character who serves as more than just a backdrop for an interesting, relatively bloodless historical mystery that aptly depicts the American melting pot at the turn of the 20th century.
Source: Jane Adams, Amazon.com.
The Studebaker household is in turmoil; the news that President McKinley has been assassinated is more than anyone can stand. South Bend, Indiana, is not a hotbed of anarchist activity, but something is clearly going on. When McKinley's death is blamed on foreign-born anarchists, Hilda Johansson, a recent immigrant, is concerned that fellow immigrants might be swept up in a wave of xenophobia. Despite orders to mind her own business, she sets out to discover exactly what is happening, no matter what it might cost her. This is Dams' second Hilda Johansson novel, following DEATH IN LACQUER RED. Combining the charm of UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS with brilliant sleuthing, these novels have everything a traditional mystery fan wants.