The Talented Miss Farwell; Emily Gray Tedrowe
Custom House Publishing - 2020
Becky Farwell is a bright young woman who learned to take charge when at an early age. Her mother died when she was young and she took care of the house and quickly learned how to turn around her father's failing business, which she basically ran up until his death. Her father had no business sense but, Becky had it all. By most standards Becky's life is rather boring, a loner who worked too much and played too little. She does develop a fine appreciation for art after picking up a piece at an estate sale that she absolutely adores and, then as if a lightbulb goes off in her head, a new focus.
After her father's death she continues to live in the family home in Pierson, Illinois. She gets a job in accounting at Town Hall at the age of 19 and is quickly promoted to Assistant Comptroller and then Comptroller by the age of 23 - her superiors have so much confidence in her take charge attitude and abilities that she has almost no oversight. Her outside interest continues to be art and she learns all she can about the art scene, galleries and art shows. On weekends she heads to Chicago to immerse herself in the art scene. There she meets a man named Mac who shows her the rope and even suggests she go by the name of Reba. Becky (Reba) begins to dress the part, even renting a pricey condo for her weekend art escapes. Unfortunately, this dual lifestyle all costs money, lots of money but the bright, resourceful Becky figures a way to get what she wants even though the scheme she comes up with. Embezzlement, however, is a crime.
Becky (Reba) is an unlikeable character yet, I was pulled in by just how cunning this young woman was and how her criminal mind worked. It was fascinating to see how her art obsession took over rational thinking. I did find it hard to imagine her pulling off this double life: CFO by day and the high states domestic and even sometimes international art fancier on weekends.
The Talented Miss Farwell is a clever work of crime fiction loosely based on a true story. Although this one starts off a bit slow, I enjoyed the story quite a bit. Becky was a brilliant con artist, master of deceit who found a way to skim money off the government to support her obsession.
Rating - 4/5 stars