An Untimely Frost by Penny Richards

Pinkerton Detective Agency:

Lilly Long leaves her Shakespearean ways in the past to join Allen Pinkerton’s detective agency in An Untimely Frost—but did you know this agency actually exists, and is still successfully running today?

Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, was a Union Army serviceman and self-taught detective. A Scottish-American immigrant, Pinkerton was mostly self-taught. After dropping out of school at age ten because of his father’s death, he learned his detective skills out in the world. He and his wife emigrated to Illinois in 1842, where their new home became a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Pinkerton’s claim to fame at the time was that he reportedly prevented a would-be assassination of President Lincoln (sadly, prior to his fatal death by assassination). Lincoln personally hired Pinkerton as his security during the Civil War. Pinkerton worked as the head of the Union intelligence Service during the war. He and his agents went as undercover Confederate soldiers to gather military secrets for the benefit of the Union army.

Pinkerton developed a number of techniques that are still commonly employed in detective work. One, “shadowing” involves following and surveilling the suspect. Another, “assuming a role” means going undercover.

He founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1850 as a private security guard and detective agency. The agency was successful at foiling train robbers during the height of this epidemic. During this time, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency was the top private law enforcement organization on the planet.


About the book:

In 1881 Chicago, the idea of a female detective is virtually unheard of. But when famed crime buster Allan Pinkerton opens his agency’s doors to a handful of women, one intrepid actress with her own troubled past is driven to defy convention and take on a new and dangerous role. . .

Since the age of eleven, when her mother was murdered, the life of the theater is all Lilly Long has known. Now twenty-two, she has blossomed into an accomplished Shakespearean actress. But after her innocence–and her savings–are taken from her by a seductive scoundrel, Lilly vows to leave the stage, enter the real world, and save others from a similar fate. Following in the footsteps of the country’s first female detective, Lilly persuades Allan Pinkerton to take her on.

Lilly’s acting skills are a perfect fit for her real-life role as a Pinkerton operative. But her first case is a baptism by fire as she is sent to the small town of Vandalia to solve the mystery of a pastor who disappeared with his family–and the church’s funds. When Lilly arrives, she finds the mere mention of the reverend’s name provokes enmity or suspicious silence. Shadowed by a second Pinkerton agent with an agenda of his own, Lilly begins to uncover Vandalia’s sordid secrets. But she’ll have to deliver the performance of a lifetime to survive the final act of this drama.

About the author:

Penny Richards sold her first book in 1983 and wrote mostly contemporary romances through the years. During a long break from writing, she and her husband owned and operated a bed and breakfast and catering business in their renovated 1902 Queen Anne home. Feeling she still had stories to tell, she decided it was time to try a different time period and different genres. She now writes historical mystery and inspirational historical romance. She loves research, learning how to do new things, cooking, yard sales and flea markets, turning someone else’s trash into one-of-a-kind treasures, and working in her yard.