Media & Press


McNamara has a keen eye for zeroing in on how a metropolis can fuel and deplete the human spirit.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“As in The Devil in the White City, this yarn takes place in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair, and like in that nonfiction bestseller, murder intrudes on the city’s cultural uplift with surprising consequences. The novel is well written.” Publishers Weekly

“Pay-to-play politics, an Olympic-sized plan to keep Chicago on the world’s stage and plenty of Irish cops and bureaucrats around to preserve, well, the order of things in this big city. Sounds like a collection of headlines from today’s papers, but these are the actual story lines moving through Death at the Fair, which chronicles a fictitious murder mystery exposing the underbelly of the very real World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.”
Lisa Donovan, The Chicago Sun-Times, 'Our Fair Lady - U. of C. librarian focuses keen eye on city's history in murder mystery', Chicago Sun-Times (online), 8 Feb 2009 D9 

“Details concerning the operation and the people of Hull House, along with an overview of the deplorable living conditions faced by immigrants (and the lack of concern for the poor expressed by the city’s businessmen and politicians) give this novel a rich historical framework, made all the more poignant by the portrayal of the smallpox epidemic of 1893.” —Booklist

“This fast-paced, enjoyable historical mystery does an excellent job plunging readers into the hubbub of activities at Hull House and the chaos resulting from the spread of smallpox. There’s a lot going on at once, but the many plot threads are laid out cleanly…Readers should come away from Death at Hull House with newfound respect for the women social reformers of the late 19th century, and the difficulties they faced creating a bridge between the two halves of Chicago society.”

"McNamara’s suspenseful third Emily Cabot mystery (after 2009’s Death at Hull House) convincingly recreates a pivotal moment in American labor history.... Cabot fearlessly throws herself into both the murder investigation and the struggle to keep the violence from escalating. Besides plausibly depicting such historical figures as Eugene Debs and Nellie Bly, McNamara throws in some surprising twists at the end. Laurie King and Rhys Bowen fans will be delighted. Publishers Weekly March 2011

“McNamara, a librarian at the University of Chicago, proves, if anyone was asking, that librarians make great historical mystery writers. She captures the tension of the times between the male and female scientists, both professionally and personally…Also so accurately portrayed is that small-town-in-summer feeling, when towns are overtaken by visitors, who coexist uneasily with locals. This was my first Emily Cabot mystery, and as a fellow Chicagoan, I was initially disappointed this was set outside the city, but that feeling didn’t last long. I’d follow Emily to any location.”— Ellen Keith, Historical Novels Review

“This is a fun, satisfying read for a summer afternoon à la hammock or back porch.”— The Barnstable Patriot

“Fascinating history underpins the tale…fans of historical mysteries should…enjoy this visit to 1896 America.” —Publishers Weekly

“This enjoyable mystery set in a historically accurate Chicago features a strong sense of time and place…The book is a solid period story, with a plot that holds together, an interesting lead character, and strong historical detail…vivid action sequences and family drama [are mixed] with the main crime narrative…The writing is well paced, with a large number of dialogue-driven scenes and a first-person narrator keeping the story moving.”—Jeff Fleischer, Foreword Reviews


“McNamara’s charming sixth Emily Cabot mystery captures the Art Nouveau ambiance of Paris during the opening of the World’s Fair of 1900. The first key scene, set in the hallowed fashion house of the couturier Worth, demonstrates that the author is a dedicated follower of fashion…Historic figures, such as the impressionist painters Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas…mingle easily with the fictional cast. Rapacious mothers, intent on seeing their offspring married to titled Europeans; jewel thefts; and murder accessorize the plot.” —Publishers Weekly

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1530 Elgin Avenue
Forest Park, IL 60130


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