20/09/2014 um 11:25
Books of 2014 #3 – Bloody Lessons, The Victorian San Francisco Mysteries Series
I stumbled across M. Louisa Locke’s first installment of victorian mysteries set in San Francisco – “Maids of Misfortune” – while I was looking for books about the city, preparing for my trip. I enjoyed the heck out of the adventure of unconventional (but historical accurate) widow Mrs Annie Fuller and her dashing lawyer, Mr Nate Dawson, and was delighted to learn a lot about San Francisco in the process. I was even more delighted as I found out that there was a second book, which I read after my journey. Fast forward to now, two years later, and I had the idea to check if there might be a third book, and lo’ and behold, there is. Needless to say it was on my Kindle instantly.
As with romance books, mystery books come with a sort of ‘rating’ as to what to expect. These are labelled ‘cozy mysteries’ – there’s nothing gory or upsetting in there. In fact, they remind me a lot of Agatha Christie’s books where you’re always trying to figure out who the culprit is, but there’s nothing extremely violent happening. (I could have used a bit more heat between Annie and Nate, but being victorian and acting historically correct you don’t get much besides sweet kisses.)
I like this series a lot for three reasons.
The first one: It plays in San Francisco, one of my favourite cities ever.
The second: The author is a retired history professor, the books are very well researched and cover a specific social issue or trend from the time. The first deals with the working conditions of domestic servants, the second dallies with séances and the third covers the educational system and the problems female teachers faced at the time.
The third reason: The characters. Besides Annie and Nate, there are a lot of recurring side characters, who are all as well thought out as the two main protagonists are. The author manages to make them relateable to modern day readers without ignoring the social standards and circumstances nor the consequences of what would happen if the character would stray away from the social rules. Hence no more heat between Nate and Annie, because her reputation as a respected boarding house owner and widow would be on the line.
The three books in chronological order are:
Maids of Misfortune
And now I have my fingers crossed for a fourth one. There are also companion stories with the focus on some of the side characters, but I haven’t read those yet. I’m sort of partial to Annie and Nate.