New Book released 9/6 in Hardcover and Ebook

Paperback due out this coming May. I’ve been delighted with the professional reviews. Here’s the one from Publishers Weekly. https://www.publishersweekly.com/9781448306848

Published in: on September 13, 2022 at 9:32 am  Leave a Comment  

A terrific review for my New Book

The third in the Mystic’s Accomplice series is set in Chicago during the 1920s. It’s fun using what I’ve learned about the Roaring Twenties to make this mystery a special one. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mary-miley/deadly-spirits/

Published in: on September 13, 2022 at 9:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Guest Blogging

Author Donis Casey asked how I came to write historical mysteries. Here’s my reply, along with her generous review of my latest.

http://www.doniscasey.com/?p=1762

Published in: on January 21, 2022 at 8:57 am  Comments (1)  

A Rare Starred Review from Publishers Weekly!

Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, Miley’s vibrant sequel to 2021’s The Mystic’s Accomplice finds young widow and mother Maddie Pastore working as a shill and researcher for spiritualist Madame Carlotta Romany when a thuggish man crashes a séance and demands Carlotta contact his brother, bank teller Herman Quillen, who died after ingesting a poisonous “smoke cocktail.” But when Maddie digs into Quillen’s background, she discovers he had no brother. In fact, Quillen’s sister is convinced her brother was murdered. Who could have wanted the inoffensive and colorless Quillen dead, and who was the mysterious “brother” trying to find out at the séance? Could it have something to do with $100,000 missing out of a huge deposit by the mob at Quillen’s bank? The bagman who’s on the hook for the missing money believes Maddie knows where the money is, and he’s determined to get it from her any way he can. Miley’s storytelling skills do justice to her clever, gutsy, and endearing protagonist. This is a real treat for readers who love stories set in the Roaring ’20s. (Jan.)
Published in: on January 18, 2022 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

First Guest Blogger of the New Year

I’m 2022’s first guest on the TYPE M FOR MURDER blog. Check it out. https://typem4murder.blogspot.com

Published in: on January 8, 2022 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Second in Series Released Today

Spirits and Smoke, the sequel to The Mystic’s Accomplice, is an ideal pick for readers who enjoy Jazz Age mysteries with feisty female sleuths, sparkling historical detail and Prohibition high-jinks.

Released today in hardcover and ebook formats (paperback available in August). Find it at your public library, local bookstore, or online!

Published in: on January 4, 2022 at 4:38 pm  Comments (1)  

First of New Series Released

A wonderful surprise–my new mystery got a starred review (a rare thing!) in the Library Journal. Released June 1 and selling well, especially to libraries.

*Miley, Mary. The Mystic’s Accomplice. Severn House. Jun. 2021. 224p.  $28.99. 


Grieving pregnant widow Maddie Pastore didn’t know what her husband did for a living, until the Chicago mob shows up at his 1924 funeral. She ends up broke and loses her house, but she’s determined to make a living without calling on the mob for help. When the mystic Madam Carlotta, asks her to a séance, Maddie sees opportunity. She offers to research Carlotta’s clients, and discovers she’s good at digging through newspapers and wills and talking with servants. One of the mystic’s clients always cancels her sessions, claiming illness; Maddie learns the woman lost her husband and a nephew to tragedy and she begins to worry that the client could be the target of a killer . . . VERDICT Miley (“Roaring Twenties” series) returns to the jazz age in this mystery introducing a remarkable amateur sleuth, widow, and mother. It skillfully combines the tantalizing atmosphere of a speakeasy- and mob-filled Chicago, historical figures, and an intriguing mystery.—Lesa Holstine, 

Published in: on July 1, 2021 at 2:23 pm  Comments (2)  

Prohibition’s Greatest Myths

The perfect book for me, right? This new (2020) book, Prohibition’s Greatest Myths, combines two of my main interests: history myths and the Roaring Twenties. It’s a small book, only about 150 pages, with ten essays by ten scholars (historians with a couple of sociologists and political science professors thrown in for good measure) that purport to reveal “the distilled truth about America’s anti-alcohol crusade.” A good debunking, right? Wrong.

What I found was a bit different. The only myth actually debunked was #5: Alcohol Consumption Increased during the Prohibition Era. Alcohol consumption did not increase. It declined quite a bit in the first years then gradually rose, but even after Prohibition’s repeal in 1933, people drank less on average than before. Not until the 1970s did alcohol consumption rise to pre-Prohibition levels. Okay, good debunking job.

The other nine essays serve merely to show that the statement (called a myth) is an accurate generalization that becomes more complex when one digs deeper. Which we could say about any generalization. That’s what generalizations are for. For example, in the essay “Prohibition Started Organized Crime” I read that there was some manner of organization in crime before Prohibition, but Prohibition “provided an unparalleled opportunity for expansion and development of such crime.” Sure. But generally speaking, Prohibition marked the explosion of organized crime like nothing that had ever been seen. In another example, the author intending to debunk the myth that “Religious Conservatives Spearheaded the Prohibition Movement” says it is “only partially true.” The movement appealed to more than just religious conservatives. The religious conservatives who led the movement in the early 19th century “were evangelical Christians of course” but their motives were different than modern Christian fundamentalists. Okay, but they’re still religious conservatives leading the movement. It’s a valid generalization.

The essays were interesting. It is the title that misleads. These aren’t myths that are debunked. These are valid generalizations that are explored in greater depth. But perhaps Prohibition Generalizations Explored in Greater Depth wouldn’t be as appealing a title.

Published in: on February 11, 2021 at 9:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Gangster Map 1927

When we think about gangsters in Chicago in the Roaring Twenties, we think of Capone’s outfit, O’Banion’s North Side Gang, the Gennas, and a few others. Those were certainly the main ones, but according to research done by Frederic Thrasher, a sociologist at the University of Chicago in the 1920s, Chicago had some 1,300 gangs. He estimated that there were about 25,000 men and boys in those gangs. This is the map he drew to show their location. (See https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/map-monday-chicago-gangland for more information.)

Published in: on January 28, 2021 at 2:25 pm  Comments (1)  

Kiddie Koop: The 1920s version of Pack-N-Play

I remember my grandmother talking about the Kiddie Koop she used back in the 1920s when her two sons were babies. I also saw it when I was young. The wood frame was blue and the fine mesh screen around it was just like window screen. So I gave my main character Maddie a Kiddie Koop (a used one, because she’s poor) for Baby Tommy. The ad above is later, probably from the 1950s, but you get the idea.

Published in: on January 20, 2021 at 4:29 pm  Comments (2)