Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Spotlight of City Of Fortune by Victoria Thompson


This December, USA Today bestselling author Victoria Thompson delivers the next gripping installment of her Counterfeit Lady series, which follows a young con woman who assumes a new identity in the early-twentieth century.
December 6, 2022


"Thompson’s command of period detail and her insight into such issues as the era’s blatant sexism put her in the forefront of historical mystery writers." --Publishers Weekly

“Thompson’s fans have been able to witness her fine ensemble cast grow and mellow through time….The stories continue to be engrossing and rich in historical detail as each illuminates another corner of the metropolis.” – Booklist

"Don't miss City of Lies, an exciting story of intrigue, deception and love --" --Catherine Coulter, Author of Insidious

"Suffragists, socialites, grifters, and goons at the last gasp of the Gilded Age. This is how to start a series! Thompson brings an irresistible heroine onstage, backs her up with a terrific cast of sidekicks, and delivers a rattling good plot. There's rich thread of US history skillfully woven in too. I loved it." --Catriona McPherson, bestselling author of the multi-award-winning Dandy Gilver series.

"Completely captivating! Clever, engaging and romantic, this unlikely suffragette will have you cheering her courage--and eagerly awaiting her next adventure. Loved it."--Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark award wining author




In CITY OF FORTUNE, Elizabeth Miles must use every ounce of her craftiness to even the score when a day at the races reveals sabotage and subterfuge.

After his venture into thoroughbred racing resulted in a step up in life, the wealthy but uncouth Sebastian Nolan is anxious for his daughter to learn the ways of polite society and attract a suitor, so he enlists the help of his lawyer and his new wife, Gideon and Elizabeth Bates.

However, Elizabeth is not exactly the society girl Nolan believes her to be, and Irene Nolan seems more interested in horses than husbands. When Irene jumps at the chance to introduce Elizabeth to her horse, Trench, and his rider, Cal Regan, Elizabeth soon realizes there is undeniable chemistry between Irene and Cal. 

But she knows that Sebastian would never allow his daughter to marry a jockey. When Cal and Trench injure themselves on the track, Elizabeth and Gideon learn that the mishap was not an accident—the horse and rider are victims of sabotage.

It turns out that the skeletons in Sebastian Nolan’s closet are out for revenge, and it is up to Elizabeth to come up with the quintessential con to help Irene and Cal. 

She enlists the help of the ever-honest Gideon and those closest to her to come up with a scheme that will either ensure young Irene and Cal their happiness or have disastrous consequences.



The ladies recognized the yellow silks Cal Regan wore and they made all the appropriate remarks about how beautiful Trench was.  He was indeed.  A dark gray with white stockings and a white blaze on his face, he stood out from the all the other horses and not just because of his unusual coloring. He seemed taller and larger and gave the impression of being carved from living stone. Gideon had no trouble at all understanding why Nolan had placed all his hopes on this animal.

Irene had hurried on ahead and she was already beside Trench, in earnest conversation with Mr. Quaid and Cal Regan.

“I can’t find a thing wrong with him, Miss Nolan, and neither could the vet,” Quaid was saying.

“He worked out fine this morning,” Regan confirmed, obviously anxious to put her mind at ease. 

Irene reached up and gently stroked the enormous stallion’s face as if he were a lap dog. “I just have this feeling…”

“Females and their feelings,” Mr. Nolan said in an attempt to lighten the mood, but Irene scowled.  “Quaid knows what he’s doing, Irene, and so does Cal.  If they say he’s good to go, then we have to trust them.”

“It’ll be all right,” Regan said softly. “I’m going to win this one for you.”
Irene gave him what she might have thought was a grateful look in return, but even Gideon could see she felt more than gratitude for the jockey.  She might tower over him, but she obviously cared for him, and he undoubtedly returned her feelings. 

Could the two of them be in love?

Gideon glanced at Nolan to see if he had noticed, but he was too busy looking over his horse. What would Nolan say if he thought his daughter was in love with a jockey? Probably what any wealthy father would say if his daughter was in love with the chauffer. Jockeys as good a Regan earned a generous salary, but their careers were too often cut short by injury or simply by the bad luck of losing too many races. Nolan would want much more security than that for his only child. Irene would know that, of course, and she couldn’t possibly be seriously involved with Regan.

The call came.  “Riders up!”

“We need to get back to our box so we can see the race,” Nolan said.  “Come on, Irene.  Cal will take it from here.”

Irene cast the jockey one last longing look and then followed the rest of them as they made their way back.  Gideon was glad to see his mother link arms with Irene as they strolled.  She would do her best to calm the girl. Gideon gave Elizabeth his arm.
“Do you think there’s something wrong with the horse?” she asked him quietly so Irene wouldn’t hear.

“I have no idea, but surely the trainer wouldn’t let him race if there was.”

“Racehorses are such delicate creatures, for all their strength. So many things can go wrong with them.”

“Let’s hope it’s just pre-race jitters on Irene’s part.”

The horses were parading by the time they found their places again. They watched as each one reached the barrier.  It seemed to take an age for them all to line up, although it was probably no more than a minute or two.  

The remaining crowd yelled, “They’re off!” as the barrier flew up and the horses darted forward. It was a slow start, and Regan kept Trench from taking the lead, allowing the speedsters to charge ahead and wear themselves out. They had just rounded the first turn when he gave Trench his head.  The stallion started to pull away from the pack when something happened. 

They were all on their feet immediately, trying to see, but the horses were on the far side of the track and the rail was in the way.  One thing was for certain:  Six horses had come out of the first turn, but only five were entering the final turn.  None of those five jockeys wore the Nolan yellow silks.

“What happened?” Irene cried.  “Where are they?”

Then they saw Trench.  He had risen and staggered away from the rail, and to their horror they saw he was dragging Cal Regan whose foot was caught in a stirrup. 

Irene screamed, and she was running away from the box and down to the track before anyone could stop her.  Nolan ran after her without a word.

Excerpted from City of Fortune by Victoria Thompson Copyright © 2022 by Victoria Thompson. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.



Monica Z. Photography 2015

Edgar® Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Edgar and Agatha Award nominated Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt, and the Sue Grafton Award nominated Counterfeit Lady Series set in early twentieth century New York City and featuring con artist Elizabeth Miles. 

She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook MANY GENRES/ONE CRAFT. 

A popular speaker, Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master's program in writing popular fiction. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and a very spoiled little dog. 

Learn more online at




  1. Mystica VarathapalanDecember 14, 2022 at 2:54 AM

    Horse racing and this age together makes a fine setting

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mystica.

      Nice to see you.