by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of No Pity for the Dead, and a link to order it from Amazon, as well as a link to purchase it from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Celia Davies runs a free medical clinic for the poor women of San Francisco. It puts her in contact with people most would like to avoid—the servants, prostitutes and foreigners. Celia lives with her cousin Barbara, a half-Chinese girl who faces prejudice whenever she’s out in public, and Addie their housekeeper.
Owen is a young orphan who runs errands for Celia and hopes for one of Addie’s fine meals. He works for Martin and Company, real estate developers. They have a plan to level the hills of San Francisco which will leave mansions high and dry without a fine lawn and a steep drop to the new street. Values of the homes will drop accordingly.
One of the other workers convinces Owen there’s gold buried in the basement of the real estate offices. While digging for the treasure, they discover a dead body wrapped in a tarp. It’s Virgil Nash, a man who opposed the company’s plans for the streets.
The police are as corrupt as most of the lawbreakers. They’re as apt to arrest someone just because he’s poor and without resources as not, just to say they’ve solved the case. Owen is afraid he’ll be a prime suspect. He would be, if not for Detective Nicholas Greaves. He and Celia have an uneasy friendship. Each would like the idea of being more than friends, but neither is willing to make the first move and risk rejection. He also worries that she becomes too involved in his cases and puts herself into dangerous situations.
The situation is complicated by Jane and Frank Hutchison being friends of Celia’s and their daughter a friend of Barbara’s. It would seem logical that the motive for the murder would be business related, but that hits too close to home for all of them.
This is the second book in the Mystery of Old San Francisco series. Celia is a likable if determined and principled character. Barbara, a typical teen, alternating between sure of herself and full of doubts. Addie is a delight with her saucy remarks and a secret admirer. Owen brings his knowledge of the streets and cheerful manner in exchange for a good meal.
The mystery is complicated in that the police are not respected, the gentry can and will refuse to speak to them and servants are afraid of them. It’s a discouraging job for Detective Greaves, just as Celia’s nursing of the poor is often under appreciated. Their relationship is one to watch as they learn more about each other and find a lot to like. Take a trip back in time and enjoy the slower pace of San Francisco in 1867.
To enter to win a copy of No Pity for the Dead, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “pity,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 8, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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