In the early 1920s, photographer Nellie Burns leaves Chicago to find adventure and a career in the West. She lands in Ketchum, Idaho. Out one night photographing moonshadows on snow, she discovers and photographs a dead body. When the body disappears and her negatives are stolen, she joins the chase to solve the mystery and find her negatives.
But the Basque sheriff does not welcome her help, and the Chinese residents in town suspect Nellie herself of murder. As Nellie unravels the mystery of the missing body, she encounters a tangled web of revenge, opium addiction, obsessive love and loss, and a haunting story of devotion.
I loved this book! It’s been a few months sinice I finished it, but I find that many scenes have become a permanent part of my memory. The author draws such detailed word pictures that I felt like I was there, in the vehicles, in the moonlit snowfields, in the various buildings, with interesting people I wanted to know. Until now, I could never put a mystery down until I’d read the last few pages as I had to know how it ended! With this book, for the first time, I didn’t want to spoil it for myself. I read it like normal people do, tryiing to guess as I read along. I was grateful for the unspoiled journey, with an ending that neatly wrapped up all the loose ends and presented the reader wih a logical and interesting conclusion. I appreciated the area’s history and the interesting characters that seemed so real I wanted to be there with them. I was sorry when it ended. It all seemed so true, I’d like a series of books with these characters in this location! Anyway – interesting book and I loved it!
Julie Weston have woven a convoluted plot that kept me guessing throughout the book. Her characters were well-drawn and believable.Their emotions ran deep. Her depiction of setting was so realistic I could feel the cold, taste the snow, and see the moon shadows. This is my first reading of Ms. Weston’s work but it will not be my last.
In the 1920s photographer Nellie Burns sets out to photograph the Moon’s shadows on snow and soon makes a gruesome discovery. The book is an entertaining read that took me back in time and to places and histories that were completely new to me. The well developed characters are memorable and the plot unfolds nicely as the reader learns about mining in Idaho and the art of photography. Weston knows her stuff, for sure.
I look forward to getting in bed early every night to read this well written, engaging book! Being super picky about the books I read, this good read rates high on my list of favorite books!!
This is really a great read. But a word of caution, if you are reading this book on the subway you are liable to miss your stop. But it is worth the ride. By RWB a NYC strap hanger
Lots of interesting characters. Loved getting a feel for what life was like in 1920’s Ketchum Idaho before the founding of Sun Valley in the 30’s. Looking forward to the next installment.
Moonshadows kept me fascination from beginning to end. The story begins when photographer Nellie Burns arrives in Idaho hoping to launch a career there. On her first photo shoot she happens upon a cabin and a very dead body. By the time she summons help, the body has disappeared. She attempts to help the authorities untangle the mystery but the sheriff seems to think she is the murderer. Read and enjoy!
I thoroughly enjoyed Moonshadows. The sense of place and time created in the novel by author, Julie Weston, felt authentic, at times gritty and at times magical. I look forward to more mysteries with Nellie Burns and her new found friends in Ketchum, Idaho.
Moonshadows by Julie Weston Review Reading this wonderful book transported me to the 1920s to a place that I have never been. It was wonderful to read and feel how it was to live and work back in that time period. Nelli Burns and the other women of that era certainly had a rough road to make something of themselves or to be taken seriously especially in a business setting. I found myself trying to figure out how I would have survived and what I would have done if I had to live back then. I am far to spoiled now and began to really consider how it was then and compare it to how it is now for women. What a remarkable difference that I rarely think about. I was drawn into the story and lives of all of these characters, especially Nelli’s from the very start of the book and they gripped me until the very end. I actually know of a few women from the past who survived and thrived as Nelli did through so much hardship, so many people telling them they couldn’t or shouldn’t be working yet, they fought through it all and gave us what we all have today. We can certainly thank all of them for that. I found the relationships between these characters who were all so unique and different from one another yet they all pulled together to help one another in small or large ways just to get through their difficult lives and survive. Characters like Rosy Kipling, Ali Kee, Gwynn Campbell, and Sheriff Azgo among others each had their own personalities, some had their own biases yet in their own ways made their way through life at times finding out new things about each other as time and the story moved forward. This book gave me insights to a time and land that were almost beyond the grasp of how things are in today’s world. It is well written, easy to follow, grabs your interest and keeps it from start to finish. I really enjoyed it from start to finish especially the characters. I felt I knew them all by the end of the story.
Settle in for an engaging period mystery with Moonshadows by Julie Weston. Nellie Burns steps into a man’s world of photography in the small mining town of Ketchum, Idaho in the early 1920s. In Chicago she’d worked in a photography studio, but only with portraits. Now she plans to follow her heart’s desire with nature photography. Nellie hires crusty retired miner Rosy Kipling to take her out to capture a winter night scene where “the moon will shine full on and create shadows on snow.” Although he’s never far from his bottle of whiskey, he and Nellie form a sort of bond. While on her cold night-time trek, she makes a startling discovery at a nearby cabin. She discovers a hideous crime, then another. Nellie uses her talents as a photographer to capture on film what she discovers, but then finds herself embroiled in the mystery. Nellie’s fierce desire to be independent may cause her to be a victim as well. As the story spins into a tight mystery, Nellie emerges as a reluctant heroine, sometimes doubtful of her course, but determined that right will prevail. The reader sees, through Nellie’s observant eyes, the flavor of Idaho’s rugged landscape in the early 20th Century. Moonshadows is packed with Idaho history, rich characters and information about the early days of photography and its cumbersome equipment. Weston does a worthy job of capturing the spirit of small town living and the attitudes of the day. Moonshadows is the first of the series, ”A Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery.” For more information about the author, visit julieweston.com
HOLD STILL. It takes a long time for a portrait photo shoot in the 1920’s. Nellie knows this. In the mystery Moonshadows by Julie Weston and set in small town Ketchum, Idaho, Nellie also comes to know of the danger of possessing a photo which could change the course of a murder investigation. Even though the author crafts accurate details of life, dress, prejudice, mining, and of course, photography — all of which takes the reader back in time whilst enjoying a good yarn, do not read this mystery if alone in a log cabin on a snowy night anywhere in rural America.
I received an Advance Reading Copy (paperback) of this novel from the author, and I also purchased the Kindle download, so I was able to read the novel in two formats. This is a riveting historical mystery complete with fascinating period detail from the 1920s, and a strong and independent heroine, Nellie Burns, who would "not be reduced to groveling and simpering for a man in order to marry and be imprisoned in a house… She must find her own path." And she does. A path full of excitement, adventure, and colorful characters. Julie Weston’s vivid writing, full of sensory detail, brings the world of Ketchum, Idaho to life and gives the story a sense of immediacy. A complicated whodunnit full of twists and turns, in which Nellie Burns solves two murders with help from help from a dog named Moonie.
Weston’s book relives the early days of mining in Idaho. Nell, a young photographer from Chicago, is endearing as she pursues a career in the Wood River Valley capturing moonshadows on snow only to discover double murders. She must figure out the crimes before she is the next victim. I read it to the end and can’t wait for the next installment which may pair her with the Basque sheriff and reveal Sun Valley’s sheep ranching history. Weston is a fifth generation native of Idaho who grew up in the mining town of Kellogg. Her love of her native state and it’s landscapes and people are obvious. Marcia Liebich
Great combo of mystery, literary fiction, historical fiction and just darn good storytelling. Throughly enjoyed.
“Remove everything that has no relevance to the story,” said Anton Chekhov. “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” Julie Weston’s MOONSHADOWS rises to Chekhov’s standards. Packed with rich details of history, geography, and character, MOONSHADOWS is a delightful and absorbing mystery. Nellie Burns is the perfect imperfect first-wave feminist heroine: determined to negotiate her own way—sometimes with nearly fatal results—as she faces the raw power of nature and the rough realities of frontier life in 1920s Idaho. Nellie is determined, too, to make sure the things she learns about tolerance and trust in a town that has plenty of ethnic tensions are passed on to others. Her stubborn insistence on testing her talents and courage leads her to err at times, but it is this same trait that sees her through solving the puzzle of what appears to be a double murder before she herself can be counted among the corpses. And in the process, she establishes herself not only as an emerging detective, but as a gifted photographer.