America’s first detective agency, the Pinkerton Detective Agency, was started in 1850. Kate Warne, the first female detective, was hired in 1856. The widowed Mrs. Warne proved to be very effective and would eventually lead a division of female detectives at the agency. One of whom may have been like Calista York, Regina Jennings’ heroine in Courting Misfortune.
This title is the first in a Christian historical romance series called The Joplin Chronicles. Set in Joplin around the end of the 1890’s it portrays a city emerging from its mining camp origins but still plenty rough around the edges.
Calista found life as a Kansas City debutante less than satisfying and believes she has found her calling as a Pinkerton detective. Even though she has completed two successful assignments she is still on probation. Now Calista has one month to complete her next case and prove to the skeptical Mr. Pinkerton that she can do the job.
The case is finding Lila Seaton. Lila is the daughter of Chicago mobster Jinxy Seaton. Calista is less than thrilled about working for a gangster but seeing the haunted eyes in a photo of the missing young woman she is convinced she must help. Lila has been missing 8 months without a trace. Jinxy has learned from an associate that Lila was spotted in Joplin, Missouri in the disreputable House of Lords. Jinxy is certain Lila was kidnapped and is being exploited by the same people who murdered her sister.
Calista knows Joplin well as her Granny Laura lives just outside of town. During summer visits Calista was closely guarded when they made the trip into the rough and tumble mining town. Now to do her job she must dodge her family and venture to the very places Granny avoided. Making the Keystone Hotel her base of operation, Calista heads for the House of Lords.
Matthew Cook grew up in Pine Gap and when he decided to answer God’s call to be a missionary he thought he might be sent to a foreign locale. Instead he found himself a short train ride away in Joplin, Missouri.
As he walks the streets of Joplin Matthew sees plenty of souls in need of guidance including the young woman who is pacing in front of the House of Lords. She seems to be working up her nerve to go in and he steps in to warn her. But Calista does not welcome this good-looking stranger’s attention nor his desire to save her from poor decisions. Matthew however is determined to rescue her.
Matthew’s persistence is annoying but Calista is still able to pursue contacts that might lead her to Lila. Then her family discovers she’s in town. Keeping her job and quest to find Lila a secret is proving difficult as her family joins Matthew in trying to keep Calista from the people and places that might lead her to the missing woman. Can she find Lila before her time runs out?
As for Matthew, besides his worry and growing attraction for Calista, he has taken a job in the mines to be closer to the people he hopes to help. Plus he must try to stop an outrageous plan to auction off a baby to raise money for the Children’s Home!
This is an entertaining read and the author is well-versed in Joplin history. There is a little mystery, fun characters, and a developing romance with faith the underlying motivation for our two protagonists.
The library has this title in our fiction collection and you can find the ebook and eaudiobook on Hoopla. Plus there are 5 paperback copies available to be read then either passed on to a fellow reader to enjoy or returned to the library. Just ask us to see if one is available.
Plus you heard it here first! (or maybe second or third) – the author, Regina Jennings, will be in Joplin on December 9th for a presentation on Pinkerton Detective Kate Warne. Please join us at the Joplin Public Library on Thursday, December 9th, at 6pm in our Community Room. A book signing will follow the presentation.