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City of Secrets (Miranda Corbie Mystery #2)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  171 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Miranda Corbie is back in this sequel to City of Dragons. "Impressive...Stanley's hard-boiled, strong female sleuth stalks Hammett's San Francisco and does the job with all the panache of Sam Spade. Readers will eagerly await the next installment in this exciting new series." --Booklist (starred)

When Pandora Blake is murdered at San Francisco's 1940 World Fair and her body
ebook, 304 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Minotaur Books
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Set in San Francisco in 1940, this story is a reminder that the good old days had some pretty horrific stuff happening. Racism and sexism were rampant, eugenics was regarded as cutting edge science, domestic terrorists both left and right were blowing things up to prove their points. Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford and a lot of other folks thought the Nazis were on the right track and we should leave them alone. Father Coughlin was spewing race hatred over the airwaves.

In the midst of this,priv
I won a copy of City of Secrets through Goodreads Firstreads.
Excellent sense of the time period
Some nice historic detail
Original plot

HIGH F-word count
WAY too much time wasted describing lighting and putting out cigarettes
2nd in Series, really not able to read out of order

Hard-boiled, foul (FOUL)-mouthed, and foul tempered, Miranda Corbie is a former prostitute turned private investigator. She’s also a serious chain-smoker who can’t make up her mind if she’s really trying to quit o
Sep 13, 2011 Marlyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, arc, historical
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
Paul Pessolano
Aug 29, 2012 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“City of Secrets” by Kelli Stanley, published by Minotaur Books.

Category – Mystery/Thriller

Miranda Corbie was a prostitute; she is now a Private Investigator.

The story is set in 1940 during the World’s Fair in San Francisco. Pandora Blake, a model/performer, is found dead and her body is marked with the word “Jew”. This becomes significant in the light that Hitler is now marching towards Paris and the world is becoming aware of his hatred for the Jews.

Miranda finds herself practically alone when
Debbie Maskus
Sometimes, I am amazed by what I do not know, and the eugenics in the United States during the 1930's to 1950's has really shocked me. I know about the terrible treatment of the blacks in the South, but this points to the perils of being Jewish in America, while Hitler exterminates European Jews. Miranda has not lost her grit and stamina, but her smoking has diminished, a little. Parts of the story sends chills up my spine, to think of the suffering of the oppressed. Stanley presents a San Franc ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Esil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book on Goodreads. I hate to be negative about a book that was a freebie by a relatively unknown author, but this book was not my cup of tea. I liked the idea of a mystery set in San Francisco in the 1940s featuring a female detective. But the writing and narrative didn't work for me. The story was very fragmented and the writing seemed choppy. I also found the detective Miranda somewhat irritating and unrealistic for a character set in the 1940's. But I see that this book has receive ...more
Mar 28, 2012 Vinita rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book with high expectations, looking for a taut storyline and an engaging plot. The bitter, angry tone of the protagonist starts off being refreshing, but becomes grating very quickly. The portrayal of San Francisco is interesting.
My main issue with the book is that the plot never really delivers a punch, though you keep hoping for one till the end.
Erin Fanning
May 27, 2015 Erin Fanning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With a heroine straight out of a Raymond Chandler dream and a style that combines noir with her own original twist, Ms. Stanley has created a detective series that I'm very glad to have discovered! I'm looking forward to reading more of Miranda Corbie's cases.
Feb 16, 2012 Cora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I liked this one marginally better than the first in the series, although the same complaints apply: the heroine is too enigmatic for me and the hard-boiled style gets a bit over the top!
Debbie Teixeira Zagorski
Enjoyed the mystery and the main character. Hated that every other line she either smoked drank whiskey or popped multiple life savers. That got annoying after awhile
Nov 15, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a man's world. San Francisco in the 1940s. No place for a dame. Yeah, don't tell that to Stanley's hard-boiled female PI, Miranda Corbie, fedora and all.
Two girls are dead, stabbed and left with the word `kike' drawn on their naked body with their own blood. Europe is at war and some factions in the States are dealing with their own anti-Semitic problems. Aryans in America. In this second of a series, following "City of Dragons," Stanley's noir masterpiece takes us into a dark realm of the
Jan 07, 2012 Hallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miranda Corbie, the character at the heart of Kelli Stanley’s “City of Secrets,’’ combines the tropes of femme fatale and wisecracking private dick. She’s a hard drinking, chain smoking, spunky dame who would shoot me as soon as look at me for calling her spunky.

This sequel to Stanley’s “City of Dragons’’ is set in 1940 in San Francisco at the World’s Fair where Miranda provides private security. There, Sally Rand runs the cooch tent and calls Miranda “the best protection my girls got on the Gay
Judith Starkston
Kelli Stanley has come out with the second in her Miranda Corbie mystery series set in San Francisco in the 30’s and 40’s—this time someone’s killing Jewish women, women whose place on the edges of society makes them particularly vulnerable. No one’s going to step up and bring them justice—or so the powers that be hope. They didn’t count on Miranda.

Previously I’ve reviewed Kelli’s Roman series, which I love (Nox Dormienda and The Curse-Maker ), but City of Dragons and now City of Secrets are j
Disclosures: This was a giveaway on Goodreads. I also have not read the first book in the series.

The beginning of this one was a bit up and down for me. I had trouble getting into the language and feel, perhaps because while I am a mystery lover, noir is not one of my favorite styles. This was likely compounded by the fact that I didn't read the first book in the series and missed a lot of background. The narrative jumps around with the main character's thoughts a bit, is sometimes a bit disjoin
Dec 09, 2011 JeanneBee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love San Francisco and noir this is the book for you. Ms. Stanley knows and appreciates the character of the City and as a result the landscape is a secondary character.

{San Francisco} "redolent and glistening with sing and lamplight, forever a girl you didn't take home to Mother.

"She knew better, of course. San Francisco didn't belong to anybody but her."

"Steamships and sailing ships, pale billows puffing on wind ripped through the gate, more green than golden. Muddy streets, horse manu
Jennifer Chow
Sep 18, 2014 Jennifer Chow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid book with the same exacting historical detail that makes Stanley's books so intriguing. I liked the political background, but since it was stuff I'd encountered before, it didn't pull me in as much as City of Dragons. Also, the scope of the book started out larger and then narrowed considerably as it reached its conclusion.

Although I liked Miranda previously, she started growing thin on me in this sequel. She's still got a feisty attitude, which is great, but she seemed to deliberately
Apr 19, 2014 Chazzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, mystery
Tough talking, cigarette smoking, whiskey drinking, good with a gun P.I., who is a stunner in a skirt—Miranda Corbie. Comparable with the likes of Sam Spade, Philip Marlow and Mike Shayne, Miranda can hold her own while digging for the real story behind the framing of a cop she has no like for but is getting paid for her work.

Miranda not only deals with the violence of two murders, but also the characters that inhabit the under world of the 1940 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Franci
Jun 02, 2015 Evelyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More fairly, 3.5. This is the second book in Stanley's Miranda Corbie series. It's as noir as Stanley's earlier Corbie mystery, both set in San Francisco at the outbreak of WWII.

This book takes place during the spring of 1940 and finds Miranda investigating the murders of two women who were found with a Jewish slur written on their naked bodies. Though the situation for Jews in the US during WWII, and in particular in SF, is of interest, the real focal point is Miranda herself, a tough female p
Monkey King
Sep 06, 2011 Monkey King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read "City of Dragons" as well as a short story that featured Miranda Corbie. "City of Secrets" was good. I have to say that I was more drawn into "city of dragons" but I still liked this one. Being a native to SF, it was really neat to read about the scene in 1940 San Francisco. I liked the world fair environment that Miranda's world is in. I like Miranda and that she is tough but not invincible. I like the drinking and smoking and dialogue. Kelli Stanley did a fine follow up to the firs ...more

This is the sophomore entry in this series featuring Miranda Corbie, P.I. The best thing about this series is the authentic feel of the 1940's San Francisco that Stanley creates. Corbie is a tough broad with an interesting past (a former "escort", a socialist who fought in Spain).

Corbie is working security at the Treasure Island World's Fair when several girls turn up dead. A decent who-dunit with a cast of suspects including anti-semitic Nazi-sypathizers and mobsters.

Points off for misspelli
Jul 26, 2012 Q rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: love
A wonderfully written mystery, it kept me suspended in case of a tragic event. The life of Miranda Corbie is dramatic it will come off the pages if you allow it. So come hope aboard along with this sassy lady who doesn't know when to give up. She's the justice we strive for, the justice that defeats our so called "justice". A woman in a man's world but Ms.Corbie will make you think differently, this world is for both men and women and the rotten eventually get their due justice served right in t ...more
Jun 27, 2015 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, but was a teensy put off by how hard-boiled the female main character is. She is Humphrey Bogart in drag--in fact, I believe she eats one meal in a restaurant featured in one of Dashiell Hammett's mysteries. That is a minor quibble, though. I enjoyed reading the book and getting to know San Francisco and Miranda Corbie. Don't read it if you do not like coarse language; she swears like a sailor.
Apr 18, 2014 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story is good and book is enjoyable. I wish there was a little more character development within main characters and sub-characters. At times I felt like there were pieces of missing within the story for me to know why the main character came to her conclusions. But all in all, it was an enjoyable read.
Apr 20, 2014 Serge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received my copy via a giveaway. This detective story was a very pleasant surprise, and I found myself charmed by the main character, the private detective, Miranda Corbie. Any reader who is familiar with the Bay Area (in California), where the novel is set, will receive extra pleasure.
Richard Brand
All the fun of character and city are still there. The subject and the crime are very interesting and different from other books. I thought that at the end the author just had to punt and make up a murderer as the solution just kind of came out of the blue. I will read some more of Miranda when it is available.
Sep 07, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-fun, 2011
This is the second book in the Miranda Corbie series, and as full of noir-ish goodness as the first. I actually found Miranda's state of mind easier to follow in this one, and again enjoyed Stanley's portrayal of 1930s-40s San Francisco.
Holly West
Apr 16, 2012 Holly West rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this novel. I felt completely immersed in 1940 San Francisco and Miranda Corbie shines. There's also a hint of what's to come for Miranda, which gives me hope she can find some happiness, or at least peace, in her future.
Ken Schloman
Oct 30, 2011 Ken Schloman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worthy follow-up to "The City of Dragons". Like the charachter and setting. Using the historical fact that Nazi leaning organizations existed is a good hook--- it caught me anyway. Good addition to a noir library.
Aug 22, 2016 William rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The over use of foul language quickly become tedious. The authors endless repetition of the heroine's smoking habits is annoying.

I had been drawn to this series for is setting in Pre-World War 2 San Francisco but have found the writing to be unbearable.
Aug 08, 2012 GlenK rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This excellent private eye thriller - the second of the Miranda Corbie series - weaves a genuinely sinister plot line into an evocative 1940 San Francisco setting. A strong protagonist (who drinks and smokes lots!), well drawn supporting characters, and style to burn.
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Read by Theme: City of Secrets by Kelli Stanley 1 15 Aug 03, 2013 08:48PM  
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An award-winning author of crime fiction, Kelli Stanley's first novel in the Miranda Corbie series, CITY OF DRAGONS, was met with overwhelming critical acclaim. It won the Macavity Award (Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award) and was a finalist for the prestigious Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Shamus Award. CITY OF SECRETS, her second novel in the series, won the Golden Nugget Award for best ...more
More about Kelli Stanley...

Other Books in the Series

Miranda Corbie Mystery (3 books)
  • City of Dragons
  • City of Ghosts: A Mystery

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