Mystery Mondays | The Red Queen Dies by Frankie Y. Bailey

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Frankie Y. Bailey
Advance Reader Copy, 294 pages
Publication date:
Published September 10th 2013
Minotaur Books
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The year is 2019, and a drug used to treat soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder, nicknamed “Lullaby,” has hit the streets. Swallowing a little pill erases traumatic memories, but what happens to a criminal trial when the star witness takes a pill and can’t remember the crime? When two women are murdered in quick succession, biracial police detective Hannah McCabe is charged with solving the case. In spite of the advanced technology, including a city-wide surveillance program, a third woman is soon killed, and the police begin to suspect that a serial killer is on the loose. But the third victim, a Broadway actress known as “The Red Queen,” doesn’t fit the pattern set by the first two murders. With the late September heat sizzling, Detective Hannah McCabe and her colleagues on the police force have to race to find the killer in a tangled web of clues that involve Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.


I love when an authour puts a new twist on a popular genre. This is what Frankie Y. Bailey does with her book, The Red Queen Dies. The Red Queen Dies is a good example of a fresh take on a mystery. Set in a futuristic setting, The Red Queen Dies still has the backbones of your typical police procedural although with some science fiction elements.

The protagonist is Hannah McCabe, a female detective in the year 2019 who is investigating the death of a famous actress. What’s special about this case and the later deaths that follow it in the book are the references and nods to the classic tales of the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. I really enjoyed seeing the nods to made to different adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz through the connections the victims have as I’m a fan of both books.

As a female reader I appreciated the fact that Hannah was a strong, independent and highly capable detective who just happens to also be a biracial woman. In addition to the main focus being on the procedural elements of the mystery I was impressed with the fact that there was not a lot of romance in the book. This is because often when there is a female protagonist or even when in many cases when the main character is a male there is often some romance that is usually forced into the plot. So it was refreshing to find that there was barely a mentioned of Detective Hannah McCabe’s personal life which was pretty refreshing.

Overall The Red Queen Dies is a thrilling mix of science fiction and mystery though I felt the conclusion and reveal fell a little bit flat I did enjoy the ride this book took me on. The dialogue throughout the book was very engaging and I loved the focus on the case rather than the characters in this book. The ending of this book definitely left a few questions unanswered and I hope there will be more books so I can get to know the characters and the world better.

If you like this book, you’ll love: The Red Pole of Macau by Ian Hamilton

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.