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Bloody Lessons

(A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #3)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,377 ratings  ·  203 reviews
In Bloody Lessons, it's the winter of 1880, and the teachers of San Francisco are under attack: their salaries slashed and their competency and morals questioned in a series of poison pen letters.

Annie Fuller, the reluctant clairvoyant, has been called into investigate by Nate Dawson, her lawyer beau, and the case becomes personal when they discover that Laura, Nate's sis
Kindle Edition, 313 pages
Published September 15th 2013 by M. Louisa Locke
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Laurie Fleming This could be read alone because the author re-explains the story. I really think you would like it better if you read the series, however.
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  2,377 ratings  ·  203 reviews

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Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I'm enjoying abou this series is being drawn into the lives of these characters. These people enjoy each other's companionship. The characters are warm and inviting. In each episode, the characters become more bonded and the friendships strengthen.

In this story, we're introduced to Nate's sister. She adds "family" to the circle of friends. She's young, impulsive and has a few lessons of her own to learn as she grows towards maturity.

The mystery portion is light and, I thought, a bit slow
Nancy Butts
I'm afraid I couldn't like this book as much as I did the first two in the series. The author added a third POV character, Nate's sister Laura, and I found that distracting. I also didn't like Laura that much: she is so negative all the time. That was by design, I think, to show Laura's distress. And she does come out of it by the end of the book, but that's a long time to wait to start empathizing with a character whose head you are in periodically.

I also felt that the book was slow, filled wit
Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson have spent the last few months getting to know each other better. Now Nate's sister Laura is staying in Annie's boarding house while she works as a teacher at the local high school. Laura has big dreams to go on to university and become a lawyer like her big brother. She shares those dreams with her dear friend Hattie from Normal School. When Laura is attacked in the alley behind the house, her confidence is shaken. She is too proud to tell her new friends and her br ...more
R.P. Dahlke
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Annie Fuller, widow and boarding house owner, supplements her income as financial advisor to wealthy patrons, but only accepted with the disguise of her alter ego, Madame Sybil, complete with black wig and her star charts. As much as Annie wishes to be able to reveal her talents to the world, she knows this won't happen in 1880. And Annie needs the income, for every day is a struggle to make enough money to keep herself, and the women who depend on her for a living, afloat.

I so enjoyed revisitin
Mick Dubois
I had enjoyed every previous book in this series and also this time I’m not disappointed at all. It’s a pleasant but thrilling mystery with the usual cast of characters, with 1 interesting newcomer. This is the first book that prominently features Laura Dawson, Nate’s sister. She’s only just moved to San Francisco as she’s got a job teaching at Clement Grammar and of course she’s found lodgings in Annie’s establishment. One night when she walks home with Jamie, the son of another guest at the bo ...more
Beverly Locker
Conflicted Opinion ...
For the most part, I enjoyed the storyline of the book. However, Laura's character seemed unreal for a level-headed, educated school teacher ... high-strung, easily angered, and jumping to conclusions about the motives of everyone she met. The book's ending wrapped up the storyline nicely.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have loved the first two books in the series but this one just didn't do it for me. There seemed to be a lot of characters and some different plots going on. Nate's sister is a new character but she seemed so immature I didn't really care for her that much.

Hopefully the next book is better.
Karyl Carlson
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great series

I really am enjoying this series of mysteries set in old time San Francisco. One gets to know the characters well, and they grow and develop as the stories go on.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the way the author starts each chapter with a little excerpt from an actual San Francisco newspaper article from the same year as the novel is taking place. It demonstrates that the kinds of events she is writing about were really happening! In this book of the series, teachers and administrators are receiving letters threatening their reputations. Is the angry source of the letters politically motivated ? Angry about the poor qualifications and favoritism hiring of some teachers? Angry a ...more
I enjoyed the previous two mysteries in this series, but this one just fell flat for me. It was very clear to me who was behind all the trouble (in both the main plot and the subplot), and everything felt too pat and predictable. There was no sense of urgency as there was in the other books. Annie's role seemed heavily diminished, and it was hardly necessary for her to go undercover. Disappointing, because Locke is clearly capable of crafting a much more interesting mystery. This one I didn't fi ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, the book served its purpose -- an engaging, relaxing story to read before I went to sleep. Had I been looking for a riveting, can't-put-down novel, I would have been in the wrong place. The story, while interesting, seemed to go on FOREVER! Especially toward the beginning, there were just too many people and the story seemed to just take a long time to get where it was going. The reluctant lovers were a little too staid, in my opinion. I enjoyed the tidbits from history - most of them s ...more
Laurel Kristick
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this look at teaching in 1880. My grandmother was from a different generation (she was born in 1906), but her stories of her time at normal school and teaching before she married by grandfather made this setting ring true for me.
Glad to see some forward momentum in the relationship between Annie and Nate, and I was well far into the book before I was able to work out who the guilty party was. That's always a good thing.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this, the third novel in the series, there is scandal to be found as we meet up once again with the residents of Annie Fuller's boarding house on O'Farrell and find that Annie has a new boarder. The mystery revolves around scandals within the Board of Education, teachers, and the death of the new resident's best friend.

This is, so far, my favorite in the series. Character development reaches new highs and relationships are better quantified. My decision to start the year with this series was
Mandy Rasmussen
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bloody Lessons by M. Louisa Locke is #3 of the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, but can definitely be read as a stand alone. It’s a historical mystery set during the winter of 1880, in… you guessed it! San Francisco. It involves a bunch of school teachers, a lawyer & a clairvoyant-who doesn’t believe in her work but she’s a single woman in 1880 &… well.. the job supports her.

What did I love about this book? So so much! I’m a history nerd so hearing all the historical aspects is always so
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2-owned-kindle
Book III in the A Victorian San Francisco Mystery series.

Annie Fuller is still being courted by lawyer Nate Dawson and she now has his younger sister Laura staying in one of the rooms in her boarding house. While walking home from work one evening Laura is assaulted by an unknown man. This incident begins the investigation into who it could have been and whether it can be linked to other female teachers that have been threatened recently via notes.

Laura is trying to find her best friend Hattie s
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, history-era
M. Louisa Locke’s Victorian San Francisco mystery series is a very enjoyable series. Annie Fuller is the central character. She is a widow from a not too happy marriage, who relocated to San Francisco from the East Coast. She runs a boarding house, inherited from an aunt, and supplements her income as a clairvoyant and business consultant.

1880 and the teachers in the public school system are having a rough go. Salaries are being cut and they are being criticized on their morals and competency by
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent murder mystery from M Louisa Locke. I like the characters and the details define an earlier time in San Francisco. Everything seems to fit smoothly into the action and there are no jarring notes to make me wonder how believable the plot is. I enjoyed the depiction of women as intelligent, resourceful people while not denigrating the men in the story. This time the murdered woman is the best friend of Laura, Nate's sister. Nate, a lawyer, is the gentleman friend of the boardingh ...more
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Another fabulous adventure with Annie Fuller. I love the depth of all the characters and how involved you get with all of them. It's like having an extended family. The mysteries are well thought out and the historical background of them makes them that much more interesting. I love watching history happen with the story and the news clippings at the beginning of each chapter. This book was back to cleaner language although still a few swear words, not as many as the last one. One paragraph of N ...more
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Annie is a widow who owns a boarding house in 1880’s San Francisco. Her gentleman friend Nate’s sister Laura has just started a teaching job in San Francisco, and they learn that someone is sending anonymous letters impugning the reputation of some of the teachers. Then, when one of them dies under suspicious circumstances, Annie starts to investigate if there is some connection. Are the letters politically motivated, or is there another more sinister explanation? I liked the quotes from histori ...more
Juliana Veale
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised when I read the book. I am a fan of historical mysteries, but I hadn't read a lot of Victorian mysteries based in USA. The author brings to life the life of a low-to-middle income professional during 1880s San Francisco.

The book follows POVs of several characters, Nate Dawson and Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson's sister, Laura freshly new from college. It's with Laura that the mystery originates and the reader delves into the life of a school teacher of that era. Of cour
Although I liked this story, it was a bit convoluted at times. I was confused for awhile about who exactly Seth Timmons was, and how he figured into things.

Laura, Nate's sister, was at times strong and smart, but also very weepy about losing her friend, Hattie. If this was a different genre, I'd assume she and Hattie were lovers, which would make a lot more sense of her reaction. I can forgive it because she faced some tough situations along the way.

As always, Annie is intelligent, capable, an
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this out of order so knew some of the outcomes vaguely and other ruled out possibilities because of relations in next entry, but still enjoyable. Laura Dawson has moved into the boarding house and taking up teaching post from her old school friend. She is accosted in the alley. Her brother is working on a case of nasty notes and aspersions against board members and teachers. Then her school friend has a bad fall and dies in hospital. Are all these connected and what is really going on? In ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still continuing with this series. This one involves teachers in Victorian San Francisco, which was quite interesting. Nate's sister Laura comes to stay with Annie, after a traumatic time teaching in a rural school. Laura is devastated because her friend is getting married instead of continuing with the plans that she and Laura had made while in school. Then the friend dies, in suspicious circumstances, and of course Annie has to help investigate. Poison pen notes being sent to teachers complica ...more
Maureen Hetzel
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful stating in San Francisco in the 1880s and each chapter began with a quote from the SF Chronicle, the newspaper then and now that served the city. Since I Lived in SF for 48 years, the streets were familiar to me but not the buildings and how they were used. The plot was full of appealing characters and the mystery involving threatening letters about teachers most intriguing. Very well written and characters well developed, particularly the inhabitants and servants in a boarding house. ...more
Jacqueline Bradshaw
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ms Locke does it again

This is my third book in the San Francisco Mystery Book series and I think it's the best. Locke's fluid writing style moves the reader through a pleasant journey with an interesting plot, and the continuation of our best loved characters of Annie and Nate. Makes for moments where you feel immersed in a good book. Somewhere between literature and a more complex cozy, this series has found it's spot in my permanent library of 'must keep and re-read' favourite authors.
Faith Justice
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
This is the third book in the series and didn't live up to the the first two (my favorite so far is #2 Uneasy Spirits. It's not a bad book, just a bit blah with mostly walking and talking and, except for the very beginning and the very end, little action. The research and setting, as usual, was top drawer, but the story was a bit boring. ...more
Esther Bos
The Victorian San Francisco Mystery series are a fun read. Written by a retired professor of US and women's history, they include descriptions of Victorian (1879-1880) customs, mores, language patterns, transportation and clothing, and living standards from the parlors of the wealthy to the boardinghouses for middle to lower class workers to the shacks of the laborers and the dormitories of the store clerks.

Along with all that, there is a mystery to be solved and, of course, a little love story
May 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I've read a couple other books in this series and have found all of them enjoyable. They center around a woman financial consultant in victorian times in san francisco. Since men would never accept financial advice from a woman in those times, she poses as a psychic, which is somehow more acceptable. She also dabbles in solving crimes. In this case it involves anonymous letters being sent to teachers, threatening them with blackmail. These are just interesting, enjoyable books that give an inter ...more
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like Locke's Victorian mysteries! I especially appreciate the feisty female characters. In addition to interesting characters, this book also offers two exciting story lines, information on the beginnings of the normal school education movement, and a courageous little dog. Quotes from newspaper stories of the 1880's occurring the beginning of each chapter help to set the mood and provide information on the cultural norms and activities of the time.
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After being a professor of history for over 30 years, I am now retired and writing full time. The books in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series are based in part on my dissertation research on women who worked in the Far West at the end of the Nineteenth Century, and they feature Annie Fuller, a young widow who gives domestic and business advice as the clairvoyant, Madam Sibyl. She is aided i ...more

Other books in the series

A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (8 books)
  • Maids of Misfortune (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #1)
  • Uneasy Spirits (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #2)
  • Deadly Proof (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery #4)
  • Pilfered Promises (A Victorian San Francisco Mysteries, #5)
  • Kathleen Catches a Killer: A Victorian San Francisco Novella
  • Dandy Delivers (A Victorian San Francisco Novella Book 3)
  • Scholarly Pursuits (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery Book 6)

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