Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: San Francisco, California in the year 1880.
First Sentence: Laura Dawson surveyed the row of long division problems she had written on the black board.
This novel is the third installment in Locke's Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. Along with the three novels there are four short stories featuring some of the minor characters in the series.
In this novel we have a group of friends attempting to unravel clues to determine the cause of someone's death. But, this novel has another mystery: Why is this group of friends so unwilling to share their thoughts and feelings with each other? When one of them discovers an important clue, or piece of evidence, their first reaction is to keep it to themselves. As the characters discuss the facts they do share, they often come to obviously (to the reader) incorrect conclusions. Because of this, the novel becomes, in my opinion, a frustrating read.
In this installment of the series, we have a group of teachers who have received libelous letters. Some one wants to destroy their reputations. When one of the teachers suffers a fatal fall our main character, Annie Fuller, begins to investigate. Along with managing her boarding house and the investigation, Annie must also manage her feelings for her beau Nate.
Will Annie discover the author of the threatening letters?
Will she discover the true cause of the teacher's death?
And, will Annie finally be true to herself and express her true feelings toward Nate?
I enjoy reading about Locke's interesting cast of characters. Through them we get a peek into the lives of San Franciscans in the late nineteenth century. I look forward to the next novel in the series.