City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley.*
Miranda Corbie is a private investigator in San Francisco, 1940.
It's Chinese New Year, and in celebration, the city is having a three-night-long "Rice Bowl Party" to raise money for war relief in China.
In the midst of the festivities, Miranda watches as a young Japanese numbers runner named Eddie Takahashi is killed in front of her. Certain that it's a murder rather than accidental, she informs the police, who don't believe her.
She decides to find Eddie's killer on her own, since she is qualified after all! The next day, she's offered a real, paying case: find a missing young woman for her stepmother.
These two cases intersect, and Miranda soon finds herself being followed by sinister men and dark automobiles, one of which runs her down. Stubbornly, and despite being thwarted by the police, the Italian AND Japanese syndicates, and many of those she thought were her friends, she persists in the quest that leads her through much of San Francisco and its Chinatown.
Stanley's novel is a love letter to San Francisco, with rich and well-researched historical descriptions. The book is also an ode to classic noir mysteries, and is a pleasure to read. I was almost happy that it was a busy week and I was forced to read in short bursts, so that the book took longer than usual to finish.
Miranda will be back in another San Francisco mystery, which I await eagerly.
*Kelli Stanley was kind enough to send me a copy of CITY OF DRAGONS. When the first one I received was unsigned, she sent me ANOTHER ONE, for which I am extremely grateful.