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Murder at the Portland Variety
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Murder at the Portland Variety (Libby Seale Mystery #1)

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  42 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
The year is 1894 and Portland, Oregon's white slave trade is alive and flourishing thanks to the Shanghai Tunnels underneath the city. When Vera Carabella, a performer at a vaudeville theater, is found murdered in the tunnels, the police write it off as a botched kidnapping. But Libby Seale, a costume seamstress at the same theater, isn't convinced.
Suspicious that Vera's
Paperback, 329 pages
Published October 8th 2005 by Midnight Ink (first published October 1st 2005)
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Took a little ride in a time machine this weekend--back to the 1890s in Portland, Oregon. That's the setting for M. J. Zellnik's Murder at the Portland Variety. The Portland Variety is a theater house where vaudeville acts made up of beautiful dancing girls, magicians, and recycled opera singers entertain Portland audiences. Libby Seale is a seamstress who works backstage to keep the vaudeville players properly dressed. Libby has come to Portland from New York City--escaping a past that she want ...more
Mar 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Not the most exciting mystery, but I'm in a Portland state of mind these days so it worked for me.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Before heading out on vacation, I like to pick up a few novels set in the locations I'm going to -- which is why I picked this up. It's a period whodunit, set in Portland, Oregon at the tail end of the 19th-century, as the town was just starting to shed its pioneer roots and become a true city. The heroine of the story is a seamstress named Libby Seale, a recent transplant to the West coast who is trying to escape some personal problems back home in Manhattan. She works for a variety theater, re ...more
Sep 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is a fun book set in Portland, Oregon. Although I live in Portland myself, I had not heard of the Shanghai Tunnels until reading this book. Grab a copy of "Portland Then and Now" as a visual guide of Portland in the 1890's to accompany "Murder at the Portland Variety" and enjoy the ride back in time.
Sep 29, 2015 added it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This is an engaging historical mystery set in the Portland of 1894, with the heroine-detective being a young Jewish seamstress recently arrived from New York. I would be up for reading the second in the series if it should happen to cross my path.
Kae Cheatham
Dec 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Period piece set in Portland OR 1890s, Historical details were good. Libby Seale is a seamstress at the Portland Variety theater, and tries to determine who is murdering theater girls. This is a first novel, and it shows potential.
Mar 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Not quite the mystery I'd hoped for, but the setting more than makes up for that. I enjoyed reading about Portland of yesteryear, and Libby Seale is a likeable character.
Sep 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008, library
My blog post about this book is at this link.
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I love the descriptions of nineteenth century Ptwon.
Jun 28, 2010 rated it liked it
I picked this up in a desperation moment at the library when I realized I had nothing to read! Was pretty good. Enough so that I will seek out the next one.
Sharon Buxton
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
C. historical mystery, turn-of-the-century
Liz Clappin
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I know this series was axed after the second book, it's a real shame because they're very strong period mysteries. I have read far worse books that were lucky to have good marketing behind them. Libby's back story and personality are strong and for once there are reasonable challenges to sleuthing which is time consuming for someone with a full time job. Good supporting characters, diverse and well drawn thought Peter was a bit needy and flat for my taste. The mystery had a lot of moving parts a ...more
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Miriam Zellnik [1966-] & Joe Zellnik (siblings)
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