Title: Parlor Games
Author: Maryka Biaggio
Publication Year: 2013
Publisher: Books on Tape
Edition: eGalley and audio
Date Completed: April - 2013
Parlor Games was an interesting debut novel which was based on real life events of a woman named May Dugas who stood trial for extortion in 1917. She made the news not only in her hometown of Menominee, but also in Michigan, New York and even London. The story opens with May telling her version of events beginning when she was only 18 years-old (1887), when she left home for Chicago hoping to earn money to help her family out.
When she arrived in Chicago she ends up living at swanky bordello, using her looks to charm and attract rich and famous men who find themselves immediately drawn to her. It isn't long after that she learns to use her charm and seduction to get herself invited to parties and events attended by the rich of the richest. She quickly realizes that this is the lifestyle she wants and doesn't plan to settle for less.
She cons her way time after time and even bilks a friend out of an inheritance along the way. She has a few setbacks, like when she meets a wealthy man and thinks wedding bells may be in her future, only to find a Pinkerton's Detective hot on her trail. Leaving Chicago and traveling to places like Oregon, California and even Holland and Shanghai, May never gives up her pursuit of high society. She eventually marries a Dutch Baron, howver, Baroness May de Vries (although she's gone by other names) days living the good life may very well be numbered.