Synopses & Reviews
A brutally murdered family man without an enemy in the world. A box full of charming letters home, written a century ago by an unknown female worker at the famed Tiffany studios. Historic Green-Wood cemetery, where a decrepit mausoleum with stunning stained glass windows is now off limits. Suddenly, all of this is part of Erica Donato's life. Erica is a youngish single mother of a teen, an oldish history grad student, and the lowest person on the totem pole of the history museum where she works. Arbitrarily assigned to catalogue the valuable letters for an arrogant expert visiting the museum, she is also assigned to take that same expert to see the mysteriously closed mausoleum windows. And as stressful as her working life become, her friendship with the murdered man's family compels her to help. Soon secrets begin to emerge in the most unexpected places. An admirable life was not what it seemed, confiding letters conceal their most important story, and too many people have hidden histories and hidden agendas. All set against the background of the splendid old cemetery and the life of modern Brooklyn, the stories of old families and old loves with hidden ties merges with new crimes and the true value of art.
"Framed with the details of historical research and Brooklyn of the 1960s, this mystery also weaves in a close but volatile mother-daughter relationship that is reminiscent of Joan Hess Claire Malloy series, although Steins novel is not as humorous."—Booklis review of Brooklyn Bones
BROOKLYN GRAVES is a rich and textured story about a rich and textured Brooklyn, both past and present. I loved being there! Joanne Dobson, Author of Professor Karen Pelletier Mysteries
Assigned by her boss at the Brooklyn Historical Museum to work with the arrogant Thomas Flint, the leading expert on Tiffany artwork, Erica Donato delves into boxes of letters and sketches by Maude Cooper, a young woman Flint suspects was a "Tiffany girl," one of the women in Tiffany's all-female design studio. When Erica learns her good family friend Dima was murdered, she and her teenage daughter, Chris, comfort the widow and her son, and Erica soon becomes involved in the search for Dima's killer. Is his murder connected with Erica's work project? Then a second murder occurs. Fascinating details of Tiffany and his glass windows, along with the life of a young girl from the Midwest now living and working in 1904 Manhattan, frame the story. The independent Erica is an interesting character, too, especially for her era: a widow working on her PhD in history while working part-time and who has difficult relationships with her teenage daughter and her somewhat overbearing father. A couple of possible love interests on the horizon add to the appeal of this engaging historical-mystery series. Booklist
Triss Stein escapes the sophomore curse with the second in her Erica Donato series. Even more absorbing than the well-plotted mystery is her vibrant depiction of Brooklyn. From Little Odessa to the endlessly fascinating Green-Wood Cemetery, her book is a love letter to the borough. Margaret Maron, Award winning author of the Deborah Knott Series
In the second book of Stein's (Brooklyn Bones, 2013, etc.) Erica Donato Mysteries series, a grad student and mother wrestles with a puzzle related to her history work--only to find more questions that hit closer to home. Between her responsibilities for her teenage daughter, Chris, and her work as a graduate student, youngish single mother Erica Donato has her hands full. When her research supervisor makes her an offer she can't refuse--working as an assistant to snooty, pretentious Dr. Thomas Flint in his work on the history of the Tiffany studio--Erica is excited to learn something new but also dubious that the project will ever be credited to her. That turns out to be the least of her concerns. She and co-researcher Ryan, a youngster in the field, uncover what appears to be a chain of irregularities in the design and keeping of an older Tiffany window. While this mild drama is unfolding, Chris has some upsetting news of her own: Dima, the father of her childhood friend Alex, has been murdered, his body discovered outside his home. Erica, who is close to Dima's wife, tries to guide grieving widow Natalya through police procedures as best she can, though she's hampered by the fact that Natalya's Russian background gives her a rather different idea of what the police are for. Suspecting that Dima's shady brother might have had something to do with her husband's death, Natalya urges Erica to investigate. After agreeing, Erica soon has her hands full with another investigation and another dead body. Savvy readers will see the connection between plots A and B from the start. Offers promising developments for Erica and Chris, but readers will find little to work with. Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Triss Stein is a small-town girl who has spent most of her adult life living and working in New York city. This gives her the useful double vision of a stranger and a resident for writing mysteries about Brooklyn, her ever-fascinating, ever-changing, ever-challenging adopted home. Brooklyn Graves is the second Erica Donato mystery, following Brooklyn Bones."