Death of a Robber Baron

New York City and the Berkshires, 1893... national expansion, economic hard times, class conflict, political corruption...

Novice private investigator, Pamela Thompson, is hired by Lydia Jennings to investigate mismanagement at her palatial "cottage," Broadmore Hall, in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Pamela discovers the butler living a double life at Lydia's expense. Soon Pamela has to deal with a mare's nest of family problems, caused by Lydia's husband, Henry Jennings, the Copper King, a ruthless businessman, who has set out to become the richest man in America. He has repudiated his gay son John. In pursuit of a beautiful young woman, he has cuckolded her husband and betrayed his wife Lydia. While suppressing dissent in his mines, he has caused the deaths of dozens of his workers. Finally, he has humiliated and fired a trusted servant.

Pamela is drawn into Henry Jennings' crisis. The climax comes at Broadmore during Jennings’ grandiose July 4th celebration. The next morning, his body is found in his study. Pamela's boss and friend, the lawyer Jeremiah Prescott, joins her investigation.  

About the Mystery

Death of a Robber Baron (Kensington Books, 2013) is the first novel in the Gilded Age series, set in the U.S. during the “Gay Nineties.” The second novel, Death in Saratoga Springs, appeared in 2014. A third novel, Death at Tammany Hall, is scheduled for July, 2015.


"O'Brien shifts from pre-Revolutionary France (False Patriots and eight other Anne Cartier mysteries) to Gilded Age America with this capable first in a new series...O'Brien captures the colorful details and varied characters of an opulent era deftly."  

Publisher's Weekly

"O'Brien's debut offers a pleasingly detailed look at the age of the robber barons along with enough strongly characterized suspects to keep readers guessing."

Kirkus Reviews

"Nicely turned details and engaging characters bode well for the team of Thompson and Prescott. O'Brien's debut is occasionally weighed down by multiple subplots, but the author weaves in fascinating details about American social history."

Library Journal


Sample Chapter

List of Characters

ISBN: 13: 978-0-7582-8636-9