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July 18, 2017

Excerpt from Death Finds a Way: A Janie Riley Mystery

A few of the many reviews of Death Finds a Way: A Janie Riley Mystery:

"Reading this book was like curling up on the couch with a good friend." Shani M.

"...some surprising twists enhanced the story line and offered some surprises. It should be noted that even a non genealogist would enjoy this mystery. Lorine McGinnis Schulze has produced a great first time mystery book and I am looking forward to future Janie Riley stories." Dianne S.

"Being a genealogist and knowing many of the things talked about and places visited made reading this book a lot of fun. Can't wait for the next one to come out!! " Cathy N. 

 "I loved this book and couldn't put it down!"

"Death Finds a Way" kept me engaged with the story right to the end." Susan

Excerpt from Chapter One

The Steamer Baltic, April 5, 1878

Sixteen-year-old Katie shivered in the cool morning air and pulled her woolen cloak tighter as she nudged her brother. Tendrils of glossy blue-back hair escaped from her hood and she impatiently pushed them back. “Joey!” a soft cry escaped Katie’s lips. “Look! That must be New York!” Brother and sister were standing on the deck of the ship that had brought them from Queenstown Ireland. The bow plunged through the murky water and the shoreline loomed closer. “Finally,” muttered Joey, “I can hardly wait to get off this damn thing and on to solid ground again!”

The passage had not been an easy one. Joey had been ill for most of the voyage across the Atlantic. They were both happy to be on deck where the smell of salt air filled their nostrils. Being stuck below in steerage was miserable. Katie wasn’t sure she would ever get the smell of urine, vomit, and other body waste out of her nostrils. Babies with colic screamed long into the night, hungry children cried for hours, and passengers who were sick moaned and retched with horrible gagging noises. Women cried out in fear on hearing the ship groan and creak as its wooden hull protested with every wave that hit. Katie had taken to wrapping her cloak around her ears at night so that the dreadful sounds were muffled.
She shivered again, partially from the cold and partially from nerves. They were starting a new life in a foreign country. She remembered vividly the day Joey came in from the fields and she had to tell him that their beloved ma was gone. Pa had died of the fever just a few months before and their ma had followed not long after.

Now here they were here in a city where they knew no one. Joey had a few pounds to see them through until they could find work but Katie was terrified it would not be enough. She hoped that the emigration agent had been telling the truth when he said jobs were there for the taking in New York City. She prayed she could find a position as a maid or downstairs kitchen girl in a good home, while Joey figured that with his strong muscles and young back he’d work on the docks or help in a stable. He was good with horses and even though he was only 18, no one knew more about gentling or taming a horse than he did. 

The cool wind had reddened Katie’s cheeks and they felt numb. She was glad the bad weather had finally lifted and she had something to look at besides waves and gray water. The sun was just coming up and Katie imagined she could feel a slight warmth from it already. She could hear the cries of gulls overhead, this sign of land bringing comfort to her.

Joey nudged her. “Katie, look! I think we’re coming into the harbor.” He pointed to an island on one side, mainland on the other and the narrowing gap of water between them. Their excitement, coupled with apprehension, built. What would happen now? How long would it take to get off the ship, find their baggage, and get on their way? But on their way where? Katie reminded herself that they did not have a place to stay or employment waiting for them.  

She saw that they were heading to the island and soon they were anchored. Passengers were told to gather on the deck while officials undertook a quick inspection of their hair and mouths. Joey whispered that these were Health Inspectors checking for disease. Anyone who was found in an unhealthy state would be kept in quarantine. An hour later, the inspection was over and a few sobbing women and young children had been taken away. Katie silently said a grateful thank you for not being one of those rejected.

The ship was once again heading away from the island and Katie could see a large circular building up ahead. When the ship anchored, other officials came on board and began checking each passenger’s baggage. More hours passed and Katie felt faint from hunger. The bit of bread and meat she’d eaten at last night’s supper was gone from her stomach, and it was now long past their usual breakfast time.  Joey kept reassuring her that they were fine, it was almost over and soon they’d be on their way but she was beginning to doubt it.

Finally the exhausted passengers were herded into smaller boats. She clung tightly to Joey’s sleeve, terrified that in the crush of milling bodies they’d be separated. Joey thrust a small piece of bread and some money into her hand “Take this,” he whispered fiercely, “and if we get separated, find a spot where carriages come, and wait for me there. I’ll find you.”
With trembling hands, Katie stuffed the money into the pocket of her full skirt, where it nestled beside the embroidered hanky her ma had given her for her last birthday.
“Joey, I’m scared!” Katie’s voice shook slightly.

What happens to Katie and Joey? What adventures await them? Find out in the genealogical mystery novel "Death Finds a Way: A Janie Riley Mystery" available on and as a Paperback or E-Book

Visit my author website for details of my upcoming book in this series - "A Grave Secret"

1 comment:

Auntie Em said...

Sounds like a good read!