21 September 2011

Just finished reading...

City of Secrets by Kelli Stanley.

The second of Kelli Stanley's noir series featuring private investigator Miranda Corbie begins on May 25, 1940, the opening day of the second season of the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco.

Miranda is called to the discovery of a murdered performer, a young model by the name of Pandora Blake, who was stabbed and then had an anti-Semitic insult written on her chest with her own blood. Even though Miranda is an employee of Sally Rand Enterprises, fair management tell her she's a "security risk" (because of the incidents in City of Dragons) and ask her not to return to the site.

Out of work, Miranda calls the paper to run her usual ads, but when her own lawyer, Meyer Bialik, asks her to investigate on behalf of his new client who has been arrested for Pandora Blakes's murder, she agrees.

Pleased that she can officially continue to delve into the case, Miranda begins immediately. In her usual style, Miranda approaches her investigation obliquely, and digs up a lot more corruption than she expected.

Kelli Stanley is such a master of noir one could swear that she's Raymond Chandler reincarnated, and Miranda Corbie is the epitome of hardboiled. Unusual for a female character perhaps, but completely believable nonetheless.

And Ms. Stanley makes of San Francisco during the early years of World War II come alive as though the she had actually been there. The amount of research this would have required is mind-boggling, and it's no surprise that she has a scholarly background.

FTC Full Disclosure: Kelli Stanley was kind enough to send me an ARC of City of Secrets. I've done my best to write an impartial review.

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