Ambrose Bierce and the...
Oakley Hall
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Ambrose Bierce and the One-Eyed Jacks (Ambrose Bierce #3)

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  25 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Ambrose “Bitter” Bierce, San Francisco’s infamous and legendary newspaperman and sometime sleuth is hardly surprised to be hired by William Randolph Hearst when his mistress receives threats.

In steamy Sausalito, the playground of the rich and famous across the bay, Hearst’s isn’t the only case on the boil. While Ambrose and his sidekick, Tom Redmond, hunt the killer of a

Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 30th 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 2003)
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Oakley Hall (he wrote the really pretty great western Warlock) was at the end of his life writing mysteries set in 1890s San Francisco in which the detective is the author Ambrose Bierce. There's so much promise in this setup, but the book was plodding and dull. Still, how had I never heard about these?
Hall's a good writer, but this book is not his best. I love the setting (San Francisco in the 1890s), the characters (Ambrose Bierce, William Hearst, Winifred Bonfils), and the plot (scandalous photographs of nearly naked ladies). BUT Hall falls into all the traps that are set for writers of historical fiction. Redmond, his first person narrator, is not that likable. He's antique, quaint at best. The Chinese are caricatures. The tongs seems to be lifted out of a Charlie Chan mystery.
Slight but enjoyable, especially if you a) live in San Francisco, or b) have read Ambrose Bierce. The mystery isn't all that ingenious or compelling; the payoff here is the wealth of 1890s period detail, the cast of real-life characters (in addition to Bierce, William Randolph Hearst and his mother play key roles), and the thrills of Yellow Journalism in its heyday.
A fun read.
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Oakley Hall also wrote under the nom de plume of O.M. Hall and Jason Manor.

Oakley Maxwell Hall was an American novelist. He was born in San Diego, California, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and served in the Marines during World War II. Some of his mysteries were published under the pen names "O.M. Hall" and "Jason Manor." Hall received his Master of Fine Arts in English fr...more
More about Oakley Hall...
Warlock (Legends West, #1) The Art and Craft of Novel Writing Love and War in California Ambrose Bierce and the Queen of Spades (Ambrose Bierce, #1) How Fiction Works: The Last Word on Writing Fiction, from Basics to the Fine Points

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