New York County, Municipal Jurisdiction

Manhattan, July 31, 1880

New York City Police Record: Case File 1306

To whoever should have the misfortune to review this closed—but still unresolved—case, I extend my condo­lences. I tell you truly that all persons involved have been insufferably odd.

All we know directly of Miss Natalie Stewart, disap­peared at age seventeen, is what you will read here in what was left behind as an absurd testimonial.

Herein you shall find pertinent newspaper articles enclosed by Miss Stewart regarding Lord Denbury and his infamous portrait. There are also letters from involved parties.

I am left to conclude that everyone involved is a certifi­able lunatic. Should you wish to indulge yourself and read a young lady’s foolish reveries on such highly improbable events, so be it. Should you believe any of it, I hope you have no business with the New York Police Department now or in the future.


Sergeant James Patt

Excerpt copyright © 2011 Leanna Renee Hieber

About the book:

The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

New York City, 1880. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart’s latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing… Lord Denbury’s soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.

What people are saying:

“You’ll love it if you love murder mysteries with a supernatural twist… the story is so different from other fantasy novels that have been coming out recently. This chilling tale will draw you in and keep you guessing until the very last page!”–Seventeen Magazine

“Hieber applies some real imagination to the story…A good romp with effective suspense.”–Kirkus

“This smart novel will have wide appeal.”–Shelf Awareness

“A hypnotic web of suspense and romance…”–Booklist

Released: November 8, 2011

About the author:

Leanna Renee Hieber graduated with a BFA in Theatre from Miami University, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. She adapted works of 19th Century literature for the stage and her one-act plays such as Favorite Lady have been produced around the country.

Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in her Strangely Beautiful series, landed on Barnes & Noble’s bestseller lists, won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book), and has been optioned for adaptation into a musical theatre production currently in development. Foreign rights have been sold to Poland and Thailand. DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, hit the Kid’s/YA INDIE NEXT LIST as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association. Foreign rights have been sold to China (Complex translation, via Taiwan) and Turkey.

Leanna’s short fiction has been featured in anthologies Candle In the Attic Window and the upcoming Willful Impropriety: Tales of Society and Scandal and the upcoming Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (TOR). A member of performers unions AEA, AFTRA and SAG, Leanna works often in film and television and lives in New York City with her real life hero and their beloved rescued lab rabbit. You can visit her at