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This is Book 2 of 2 in the "Mystery of Old San Francisco Series". I enjoyed the first one so much, I immediately downloaded this current book. The stories' premise involves Detective Nicholas Greaves, a Civil War veteran turned San Francisco detective begrudgingly working on murder cases with Mrs. Celia Davies, a nurse who owns a free clinic for women. They are appealing characters, because they both have strong convictions that justice must be served for murder victims, irregardless of socioeconomic level or race. Murder cases somehow magnetically attract her, and she enlists the help of the beleaguered detective. They mostly work independently of each other with Celia falling into dangerous situations which irks Detective Greaves to no end. But their interactions emanates strong chemistry which translates to a strong story. The secondary characters 1) Barbara- Celia's Amerasian cousin and for whom she is the guardian 2) Addie- Celia's Irish housekeeper and 3) Owen- a 14 year- old Irish orphan are all strong assets to the stories.
The story begins with Owen finding a decaying dead body in his employer's cellar and seeks Celia's help. The employer happens to be a real estate group that includes one of Celia's close friend. Celia feels compelled to solve the case despite warnings from everyone. The murder victim was the key opposition to some plans that Celia's close friend and partners want to make in San Francisco. There is a wide variety of suspects which kept me guessing. The author's attention to historical details is gratifying. While reading, I really felt immersed in the setting. In my mind, I could imagine the building facades, smell of filthy streets or saloons, and hear clatter of wagon wheels.
A backstory is the potential romance between Detective Greaves and Celia. Celia is still searching for the husband that abandoned her. Greaves thinks Celia is above his station, not to mention she is technically married. Some may think their romantic thoughts are cliché, but it worked for me. I highly recommend this series. If these are released annually, I can't wait for August 2017!
In this followup to NO COMFORT FOR THE LOST, midwife Celia Davies finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation whose suspects include the husband of a very good friend (who is also the father of her young cousin's best friend), the brother-in-law of one of her patients, and several powerful real estate moguls, all of whom have a motive to commit murder. In fact, motives extend back years to the Silver Rush in Nevada. Although rough-around-the-edges Detective Nick Greaves tells her repeatedly not to become involved, Celia feels obligated to find justice and try to clear her friend's husband. She follows several tenative and often dangerous trails throughout the city, and through her efforts the reader is treated to a fascinating historical view of San Francisco, with insights into what shaped the city and why. If I ever get to San Francisco, I'm going to reread these books before I go.
This book kept my interest although the ambiguity over her husband's death(?) feels forced as did the revelation of the murderer. Still I like the main characters. I did find the cousin surly and not at all likable.
I liked book 1 in this series but No Pity for the Dead was even better. I think that getting to know Celia and Nick better made this book better. Filled with twists and turns and many characters from book 1 left me wanting the next book in the series. The one other thing is unlike Celia no corset for me.
I really learned a lot about early San Francisco. I was born and raised there but knew nothing about the 2nd Street cut and the politics involved. Interesting mystery, well written and I recommend the series.
Enjoyed the second installment in this series. I feel well acquainted with the characters thanks to Nancy Herriman's talent for writing. I know San Francisco well and reading the streets mentioned throughout the story makes it all come alive. I recommend adding this series to your list. I hope we see more.