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Singapore Sapphire

(Harriet Gordon Mystery #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  2,158 ratings  ·  393 reviews
Harriet Gordon stumbles into a murderous web of stolen gems and cutthroat thieves as she runs from her tragic past in an enthralling new historical mystery series set in early twentieth century Singapore.

Singapore 1910--Desperate for a fresh start and to distance herself from her tragic past, Harriet Gordon finds herself in Singapore at the height of colonial rule. Hop
Paperback, 367 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Berkley
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Abhirup Dutta Curran knew Augustus Foster as an old friend from the Cricket Club. They end up meeting in the Explorers and Geographers Club where Foster treats him …moreCurran knew Augustus Foster as an old friend from the Cricket Club. They end up meeting in the Explorers and Geographers Club where Foster treats him to a Curry Tiffin and some beers, while discussing the case.(less)

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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,158 ratings  ·  393 reviews

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Start your review of Singapore Sapphire (Harriet Gordon Mystery, #1)
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been looking for a good mystery series to sink my teeth into, and this just might be it.

Set in colonial Singapore, Singapore Sapphire introduces us to the strong and unflinching Harriet Gordon, who is trying to earn some money as a typist at a time when women are discouraged from education and working. When her first client is found murdered, she is drawn into the case, along with the kind and intelligent Inspector Curran. As more bodies show up, they soon realize this case is bigger than a
Oct 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, hoopla-libby
Singapore Sapphire (Harriet Gordon Mystery #1)
by A.M. Stuart (Author), Saskia Maarleveld (Narrator)

Harriet Gordon has lost so much, everything, in fact. Now she's living in Singapore with her older brother, Reverend Julian Edwards, headmaster at St. Thomas School for English Boys. While she works part time at the school, to earn her board, she is also offering her skills to those who are willing to pay for her secretarial skills. This leads to her first such job transcribing the memoirs of Sir O
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pretty-good
Initially the superlative vocab of the book made no mistake. 'Comprised' was not bundled with 'of'. The use of the phrase 'hold the fort' didn't include 'down'. There was the drawn match where 'named for' was used instead of 'named after'.

But the story itself was ill served about halfway through the book. The promising, easy and breezy pacing of the book was butchered in my humble opinion. I am not used to the climax to kick in halfway through.

That fault maybe lies with me but then I can only na
Holly  B
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld Series: Harriet Gordon Mystery, Book 1 Length: 10 hrs and 48 min

Audible Review

I'm a mood reader and I love historical mysteries, so when I saw this new series with a Singapore setting that takes place in 1910, I just had to try it. The narrator was excellent and really enhanced the experience. She does have an accent, so I had to concentrate in the beginning until my brain adjusted! There is also a quite a large cast to keep tabs on which was a bit
Oct 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An historical mystery, set in beautiful Singapore and written by one of my favourite authors, Alison Stuart. And it is the first in a series! What more could I ask for?

The action takes place in 1910 when all of the important jobs are taken by the British residents who are generally ex army and upper class. Their wives and daughters are encouraged to serve afternoon teas and visit each other for entertainment. The main character in our story however not only wants to work but has to to make ends
Harriet Gordon is a young English widow who lost her husband and young son to typhus in India, where she was helping her husband, a doctor, tend to the poor. After a difficult time back home in England, she decides to join her brother, the Reverend Julian Edwards, headmaster of a boys’ school in Singapore.

The Singapore that Harriet arrives to in 1910, is very much at the height of British colonial rule, but also populated by a mix of other European cultures, especially Dutch, as well as Malay,
It was 1910 when Harriet Gordon escaped the tragedy of her past to Singapore. Her brother, Reverend Julian Edwards, was master at the local school and Harriet did some unpaid work for St. Thomas. But needing funds saw her advertising herself as a personal secretary and when she began typing the manuscript for Sir Oswald Newbold, she had no idea her acquaintance with him would cause such dramatic changes in her life.

The murder of Newbold was particularly vicious – Harriet finding him was shocking
Sherwood Smith
This impeccably researched historical mystery is closer to thriller than it is to romance, though the two lead characters are the widowed suffragette Harriet Gordon and Inspector Robert Curran, who many of the British imperialists living in Singapore tsk over because they feel he's "gone native."

Some readers might object to the very nature of the book, depicting English people during the height of the imperial period (on the verge of its fall); I thought Stuart did a superb job of walking that k
Oct 03, 2020 rated it liked it
I got this when it went on sale for $1.99. It has an interesting 1910 colonial Singapore setting, when Europeans, especially those from Great Britain, more or less controlled Singapore and many other places around the globe, such as India, Malaysia, many parts of Africa, etc. You name it, the Great White Race had taken control of it.

To fully enjoy the book, lay your 21st-century sensibilities and wishes for revisionist history aside. Go with the fact that colonialism was part of the way of the w
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such an awesome story, I do love a good mystery and this one hit the spot, set in Singapore in 1910, MS Stuart took me back in time to murders and a gang smuggling gems and a story that I did not want to put down. I am loving Harriet and Inspector Robert Curran and am truly thrilled that this book is the start of a series.

Harriet Gordon has decided to start afresh in Singapore with her brother, Reverend Julian who runs a school, Harriet has been through a lot and is settling in in Singap
Nov 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
I liked this opening book to a (for me!) new series! :)

The most fascinating thing here is the ambience: Singapore! WOW!

I've been in Sipgapore and to see the difference between Singapore now and Singapore in 1910 was so very much exciting!

The story flows smoothly and the mystery solving is logical and interesting.

I liked both Harriet and Curran. They're very life-like characters with flaws and strengths and they act according to them.

I found another very good series! Yeah!!!
***Short version: An interesting setting, likable characters, and a plot involving greed and murder all combined to make a strong start to a new historical mystery series. It was superbly topped off by a stellar performance by the narrator. ***

The year is 1910 and Harriet Gordon, a young English widow, is trying to leave a traumatic past behind her by joining her brother in Singapore where he serves as the Headmaster for a boy's school. She does some clerical work for the school but as that is m
Colonial Singapore and murder! Great reading!

It's the early 1900's in Singapore. So realistic I felt I was there!
Harriet Gordon, widowed and made childless in one fell swoop in India due to Typhus, went home to England. It was there she came in contact with the Suffragette Movement, an organization that espoused those things she'd not only envisioned, but felt deeply. That path ended badly and she joined her brother in Colonial Singapore where he is the Reverend and Headmaster of a prestigious
Merry Jewelhound
I am going to be a bit of a downer here as I thought this book was only OK. The first half of the book laying out the characters and the mystery seemed to drag for me. I had looked forward to a book not in an area that I normally would read. Singapore did not end up sounding romantic and faraway....just hot and muggy. At about the 50% mark of the audiobook (which the reader did a good job on) something finally started to happen. The perpetrators were starting to slip up and the mystery was being ...more
Chloe Frizzle
A slow murder mystery. Set in Singapore, but with mostly European characters. Not much character work.

Booktone = New York Pink (intellectual, plot focus). https://youtube.com/watch?v=AD4WKlAB0Jw
Singapore Sapphire was a mild, if not interesting, historical mystery. Set in 1910 in one of three British colonies known as the Straights Settlements, A.M. Stuart wrote an atmospheric sense of place. The sweltering heat and cultural diversity under British rule offered a different kind of setting. I felt a moderate amount of tension between the Brits, Dutch and native residents as was to be expected.

Mrs. Harriet Gordon and Inspector Robert Curran were an unusual alliance. She was a widow livin
Barb in Maryland
3.5 stars rounded up for unusual locale.
Interesting start to a historical mystery series.

I liked the unusual setting (Singapore in 1910). The author did a great job in depicting the tropical location, without making it seem like an exotic paradise. Our heroine, Harriet Gordon, is a widow with a secret. living with her bachelor brother Julian Edwards, headmaster of a school for English boys. Harriet's desire to earn money as a private secretary leads her to Sir Oswald Newbold, who desires someone
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some stories you just have to devour, they're so compelling. This is such a one.

Harriet Gordon, widow, stenographer and suffragette, and the dedicated Inspector Curran, the not-quite gentleman detective, are two of my new favourite characters, brought together in colonial 1910 Singapore by a murder that spreads tentacles far and wide.

As the title indicates, precious gems are involved, although Harriet herself is the real 'gem', a woman of education, principles, and, for the times, a very pract
Barbara Senteney
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2019
Harriet is a nice young woman who has lost her husband and child to colera. She decides to move to Singapore for a new beginning. She has to earn a living so after advertising in the newspaper she is hired by a wealthy eccentric to write his memoirs. Reporting to work to retrieve her typewriter she finds her employer and his man servant brutally murdered. Inspector Curran shows up to investigate and the mystery begins.

What I thought was going to be a historical romance I soon found was truly a t
Sharon Huether
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After losing her husband and son in India, Harriet Gordon works at a school in Singapore where her clergyman brother Julian serves as headmaster. She decides to offer stenography services to provide income. She discovers her client Oswald Newbold's murdered body. Harriet's skills impress Inspector Curran. A clue VOC, which most people consider the old East India Company, surfaces. Inspector Curran and Harriet both know it must bear a different meaning. As the investigation begins to focus on the ...more
In Singapore Sapphire, Harriet Gordon was a fascinating three-dimensional character who had a sorrowful past scattered with dark moments that she desperately wanted to keep hidden. She worried how her past would affect her brother if it was ever to come to light. He was a good man who put himself into a rather precarious position in order to offer her a fresh start and she wanted to make sure that his decision never came to haunt him. To this end, Harriet tried to be as helpful as she could and ...more
Jul 03, 2022 rated it liked it
This book reminded me of the bubble the British created in the places they colonized. It was as if no people other than Europeans were of any consequence. The lovely setting of Singapore 1910 drew me in, but although I was interested in the place and several of the British characters were well developed. There were no Asian characters of any depth and that was disappointing, it would have made the book more enjoyable for me. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator, Saskia Maarleveld was exc ...more
Jennifer Kloester
This delightful book has been my bedtime reading for the past week and I've enjoyed every minute of it. A.M. Stuart is an accomplished writer with the kind of style that lets you see the settings and characters as if you were watching a film. This novel transported me to Singapore in the early twentieth century and was so convincing that I could almost feel the heat and humidity. The sense of the colonial era is well realised and the author has done an amazing job researching the time and place. ...more
Jan 16, 2021 rated it liked it
This is Historical Fiction - Mystery. I will start by saying that I loved the MC, Harriet. I'd read more in this series just because of her. She was smart and witty. Definitely a very strong character. I also liked the Inspector. They worked well together in this one.

This book had many great elements, including well placed characters. There was much to like, but there were also some plot related things that were a little too obvious that kind of took the "wow" out for me. So 3 stars.
Lynn Horton
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Singapore Sapphire is a delightful piece of debut historical fiction. Stuart does an excellent job of depicting the setting, and her character development is strong. Each character (of many) is distinct enough to stand apart, and the story moves in a straight line—a good thing. I found myself caring about her protagonist and the police inspector, and especially about the little boy, Will. (The kitten was a bonus.)

Two other (slightly weird) things impressed me about this book. First, the author's
rui ♡³
May 31, 2022 marked it as eeyur
Shelves: local-新家坡
i don’t know how i feel about the fact that a white author who “lived in singapore” wrote a book that centres british people (our colonisers) in a story about colonial singapore, or the fact that its protagonist, a british person, is making use of a british colony as a “fresh start” :/ that feels gross to me. singapore has been misrepresented enough in western media as it is, what with crazy rich asians being touted as a diversity win despite the harmful stereotypes and notions it perpetuates. ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I received this as a Christmas gift from my niece and I flew through this story. I'm a fan of cozy mysteries and to me, this falls into that category. I really enjoyed Harriet Gordon and her supporting crew. I also liked the setting, different from many cozy mysteries. The writing is crisp and compelling. I'm so happy to have been introduced to this series and look forward to reading more about Harriet!
Happy New Year!
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the mood for a multiple murder/gem smuggling mystery with a bit of romance and family drama and a fair amount of diverse culture? Then this is your book.
Harriet, newly arrived in Singapore in 1910, is the richly nuanced main character. Most characters are well developed, although a couple surprises near the end seem a bit “out of the blue.” The culture of colonial Singapore is clearly drawn. The main characters are mainly upper class British, with the requisite
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Australian author, A.M. Stuart, began her writing career half way up a tree in the school playground where she wrote her first (unpublished) historical romance. She now writes historical romance as Alison Stuart (a Goodreads author).
Born in Kenya, her family came to Australia when she was ten years old. She has also lived in Singapore.
In her life outside writing, she enjoyed a varied career as a l

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Harriet Gordon Mystery (4 books)
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