To Slip the Bonds of Earth

Katharine Wright Mystery

By Amanda Flower

ISBN 9781496747662


While not as famous as her older siblings Wilbur and Orville, the celebrated inventors of flight, Katharine Wright is equally inventive – especially when it comes to solving crimes – in USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s radiant new historical mystery series inspired by the real sister of the Wright Brothers.

December 1903: While Wilbur and Orville Wright’s flying machine is quite literally taking off in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina with its historic fifty-seven second flight, their sister Katharine is back home in Dayton, Ohio, running the bicycle shop, teaching Latin, and looking after the family. A Latin teacher and suffragette, Katharine is fiercely independent, intellectual, and the only Wright sibling to finish college. But at twenty-nine, she’s frustrated by the gender inequality in academia and is for a new challenge. She never suspects it will be sleuthing…

Returning home to Dayton, Wilbur and Orville accept an invitation to a friend’s party. Nervous about leaving their as-yet-unpatented flyer plans unattended, Orville decides to bring them to the festivities . . . where they are stolen right out from under his nose. As always, it’s Katharine’s job to problem solve—and in this case, crime-solve.

As she sets out to uncover the thief among their circle of friends, Katharine soon gets more than she bargained She finds her number one suspect dead with a letter opener lodged in his chest. It seems the patent is the least of her brothers’ worries. They have a far more earthbound concern—prison. Now Katharine will have to keep her feet on the ground and put all her skills to work to make sure Wilbur and Orville are free to fly another day. (From Goodreads)


This is a solid first entry in a new series! It combines the best traits of cozy mysteries and historical mysteries, resulting in a very satisfying novel. We meet Katharine Wright, the younger sister of Wilbur and Orville. She may not have solved crimes in real life, but she did teach high school Latin and helped in her brothers’ bicycle shop.

I enjoyed getting to know the fictional Katharine, her family, and her friends. The author brings engaging people and events to life through expert character and plot development. Katharine, at 29, was older than most unmarried women of that era. Some thought she was single because she was perceived as stubborn. She did not like how different life was for men than for women in the early 1900s and had no desire to get married. A teen when her mother passed away, Katharine became the female head of the household at fifteen. She attended college, and later hired a maid so she could teach school. Katharine is my favorite character despite sometimes being impulsive to act or judge, and I am looking forward to learning more about her.

Orville and Wilbur came home from Kitty Hawk to celebrate Christmas after their first real, albeit brief, flight in their flying machine. Katharine was invited to a Christmas party that evening at the home of the PTA president, as were others who helped with a special fundraiser. Orville finally agreed to go with her. He took the only copy of the drawings  so he could take a break from the festivities to find a corner in which to study them with Wilbur’s suggested changes.

Katharine hesitated to attend the party, as Benny, the PTA president’s son, had seriously acted out in her class the previous day. Katharine decided it was the last time he did so, and sent him home early from school. Rumor had it that his mother wanted to have words with her, but in the meantime, she was going to enjoy the party.

Herman, a guest and high-level employee of Benny’s father, taunted Orville when he joined the “singles” for parlor games. A short time later, Katharine found Orville searching for the jacket he left in the parlor. The only copy of the drawings was in that jacket! Minutes later, Orville pulled her into the billiards room. He found Herman leaning on the pool table, covered in blood, dead, with one of Orville’s screwdrivers covered in blood next to him. Orville’s jacket was neatly folded over a chair, but the plans were not in it. Benny was in a corner, also covered in blood, stunned, saying he found Herman and tried to save him. Despite his father’s social standing, Benny was taken to the police station. Police were interested in Orville, too, due to the words he and Herman had, and his initials being carved in the murder weapon.

Katharine knew Orville didn’t kill Herman. She knew her student was obnoxious, but not a killer. Orville begged for her help finding the drawings before Wilbur found out they were missing or someone else patented their design. Benny wanted her to know he didn’t kill Herman, and also asked for her help. 

An intelligent woman and hard worker, Katharine got more out of a day than most people. It was a good thing school was on holiday break, as the search for the drawings and the real killer, along with the school fundraiser, filled her time. It was almost impossible to set this novel down! I enjoyed some of Katharine’s escapades while searching for the drawings. Humor was often subtle, but there were some very funny scenes amidst the tension. I appreciated how the author explores true friendship between various people and circumstances. There were amazing twists at the end that I did not anticipate! The conclusion was very satisfying, and I highly recommend this to fans of historical / cozy mysteries!