My mother-law-Cathy is back with another review today! With BEA all last week, I'm of course behind on my reading, so she stepped up once again. I fail. :( Thanks so much Cathy!
Mystery of Old San Francisco #1
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
In this historical mystery series, a courageous nurse and a war-scarred police detective in 1860s San Francisco champion the down-trodden and fight for justice …
After serving as a nurse in the Crimea, British-born Celia Davies left her privileged family for an impulsive marriage to a handsome Irishman. Patrick brought her to San Francisco’s bustling shores but then disappeared and is now presumed dead. Determined to carry on, Celia partnered with her half-Chinese cousin Barbara and her opinionated housekeeper Addie to open a free medical clinic for women who have nowhere else to turn. But Celia’s carefully constructed peace crumbles when one of her Chinese patients is found brutally murdered…and Celia’s hotheaded brother-in-law stands accused of the crime.
A veteran of America’s civil war, detective Nicholas Greaves is intent on discovering the killer of the girl, whose ethnicity and gender render her as powerless in death as they did in life. Nicholas’s efforts are complicated by Celia, who has a knack for walking into dangerous situations that may lead to answers…or get them both killed. For as their inquiries take them from Chinatown’s squalid back alleys to the Barbary Coast’s violent shipping docks to the city’s gilded parlors, Celia and Nicholas begin to suspect that someone very close to them holds the key to a murderous conspiracy…
My reading weaknesses are mysteries and historical fiction, so No Comfort for the Lost does a marvelous job of sating both of these loves. This is the first in a series and is set in the late 1800's in San Francisco. Ms. Herriman has a gift for painting an accurate and descriptive picture of the era. We can easily place ourselves into this setting.
Celia is a nurse and active in bettering the lives of Chinese prostitutes. A very courageous and forward-thinking venture in those times. When a friend is murdered, Celia is compelled to investigate. She steps on lots of toes including those of Detective Nick Greaves. At first the duo are not on the best of terms, but there is a warming up and a collaboration becomes apparent.
This is a well-conceived mystery because of the extensive research that must have been done to make the plot so convincing. Much of the mystery and investigation touches on actual events of the times. The characters are fully fleshed out and we are drawn to them and care about their well being. We are rewarded in embracing the characters because we know we will meet them again in the next mystery.
On a personal side note, Ms. Herriman lives in our hometown and she attended our book club the evening we were discussing this novel. It was so much fun and interesting to get an inside look into this story and the author.