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Whole minutes passed when I didn’t think of my man and the swimming lesson set up for the next day, if no one was murdered before then, or the cars stopped, or a bomb go off somewhere…

On a hot, humid Monday afternoon in July 1919, Maeve Curragh watches as a blimp plunges from the sky and smashes into a downtown Chicago bank building. It is the first of ten extraordinary days in Chicago history that will forever change the course of her life.

Racial tensions mount as soldiers return from the battlefields of Europe and the Great Migration brings new faces to the city, culminating in violent race riots.

Each day the young Irish immigrant, a catalogue order clerk for the Chicago Magic Company, devours the news of a metropolis where cultural pressures are every bit as febrile as the weather. But her interest in the headlines wanes when she catches the eye of a charming streetcar conductor.

Maeve’s singular voice captures the spirit of a young woman living through one of Chicago’s most turbulent periods. Seamlessly blending fact with fiction, Mary Burns weaves an evocative tale of how an ordinary life can become inextricably linked with history.


Praise for The Reason for Time

“An engaging work of historical fiction” —Foreword Reviews

“The character and her life are completely engrossing and entirely believable.” —Coast Reporter

 “The story is both fevered and thoughtful as the days unfold, a well-paced work that ebbs and flows with just the right amount of tension…Maeve’s voice has a distinct rhythm all its own, which…lends the story a rich authenticity. Maeve herself feels real as well, a complex character full of hope and savvy…A spirited, spunky young woman, Maeve is not perfect. But she is likable, and her story is compelling…Full of history, local color, compelling characters, and a complex storyline, The Reason for Time is a quick read, but one that lingers and makes one wonder about the many other stories that could be told of that tumultuous summer of 1919.” —Chicago Book Review


Trade Paperback ♦ ISBN 978-0-9967558-1-8 ♦ $16.99

Ebook ♦ ISBN 978-0-9967558-2-5 ♦ $6.99

Available through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

FICTION/ Historical ♦ FICTION/ Literary

5.5″ x 8.5″

216 pages

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The Second Hanley & Rivka Mystery

On a spring morning in 1872, former Civil War officer Ben Champion is discovered dead—a bayonet protruding from his back. A routine case for Chicago detective Frank Hanley soon becomes anything but, as his investigation into Champion’s life turns up hidden truths.

Meanwhile, Rivka Kelmansky’s long-lost brother arrives on her doorstep, along with his mulatto wife and son. Fugitives from an attack by night riders, they know too much about past actions that still threaten powerful men—defective guns provided to Union soldiers, and an 1864 conspiracy to establish Chicago as the capital of a Northwest Confederacy. Champion had his own connection to that conspiracy, along with ties to a former slave now passing as white and an escaped Confederate guerrilla.

Hanley and Rivka must untangle this web of circumstances, amid simmering hostilities still present years after the end of the Civil War, as they race against time to solve the murder, before the secrets of the past claim more victims.


Praise for For You Were Strangers

A “complex tale of hidden identities and motives” —Publishers Weekly

“Readers with a love for, or burgeoning interest in, Chicago will find For You Were Strangers as satisfying as a richly coursed meal of the era.”—Foreword Reviews

“A simply riveting combination of historical novel and detective mystery. A deftly crafted mystery/suspense thriller, For You Were Strangers clearly documents author D. M. Pirrone as a master of the genre.”—Midwest Book Review

“It isn’t hard to find a good novel set during the Civil War, but it’s rarer to find one that nimbly leaps back and forth between the war itself, to the social upheaval that arrived immediately afterward. D.M. Pirrone’s superb For You Were Strangers does just that…Even if there had been no murder in this engrossing novel, the history covered here would still make for page-turning reading…Readers who prefer relaxation reading could possibly be overwhelmed by this complex, challenging book. But readers who like deeply drawn characters combined with a whopping helping of history’s hard lessons will love it. I certainly did.” —Betty Webb, Mystery Scene

 “Both the sweltering, rebuilding city of Chicago and the ruined South are described in a rich tapestry that captures the time and mood of their people. Pirrone’s writing is as detailed and crisp as her research into the people, vice, and lingering racism of Chicago…the intrigue with which Pirrone surrounds the murder is well-crafted. For fans of Chicago history this is one not to miss, but the story will also hold the attention of anyone looking for a little mystery with their history.” —Historical Novels Review


Trade Paperback ♦ ISBN 978-0-9890535-9-4 ♦ $16.99

Ebook ♦ ISBN 978-0-9967558-0-1 ♦ $6.99

Available through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

FICTION/ Mystery & Detective/ Historical

6″ x 9″

320 pages

to download printer-friendly information about this book click here

Readers will also enjoy the first Hanley & Rivka mystery Shall We Not Revenge.