Fundraising the Dead by Sheila Connolly is the first book in the new “Museum” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), October 2010

At the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society in Philadelphia, fundraiser Eleanor “Nell” Pratt solicits donations—and sometimes solves crimes. After all, murder is not good for public relations.

At the museum, a few missing documents could be a major embarrassment. When a collection of George Washington’s letters is lost on the day of the Society’s grand gala, heads will certainly roll…but no one expects an archivist to be found dead.

Fundraiser Nell Pratt is frustrated when the Society president—whom she also happens to be dating—doesn’t seem to be pushing for an investigation. And when Nell goes digging for answers herself, she just may uncover a long, rich history of crime.

When board member Martha, aka Marty, asks Nell to look into missing documents, she immediately seeks help from Alfred, who is archiving the collection. After a fundraising event, Nell finds Alfred’s body whose death is deemed accidental. After finding the papers Alfred left and talking with Marty, they both conclude that something is amiss with Alfred’s death and instead of one mystery, there are two. This book starts out slow, but once the murder mystery comes into play, the story kept my attention and I couldn’t put the book down. A betrayal of trust leads Nell and Marty to ply their knowledge of the inner workings of the museum and set in motion a plan to solve both crimes. With the FBI looking into one aspect of the crime and the women engaging in tactical support, you’ll have a fun time watching them bring this case to a close with some unsuspecting twists. This is a good start to a new series. My rating: 4 stars

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