Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ambrose Bierce and the Queen of Spades (Ambrose Bierce, #1)” as Want to Read:
Ambrose Bierce and the Queen of Spades (Ambrose Bierce, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ambrose Bierce and the Queen of Spades

(Ambrose Bierce #1)

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  10 reviews
When the Morton Street Slasher leaves the corpses of his victims on the tangled gaslit streets near San Francisco's Union Square, he marks each body with a playing card. Ambrose "Bitter" Bierce, the city's famed newspaperman, immediately blames the rash of murders on his sworn enemies, the Southern Pacific Railway magnates. Bierce and his young protege at the Hornet, Tom ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Penguin Books (first published 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ambrose Bierce and the Queen of Spades, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ambrose Bierce and the Queen of Spades

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  95 ratings  ·  10 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ambrose Bierce and the Queen of Spades (Ambrose Bierce, #1)
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book could have been a masterful thriller-historical novel, as its plot and twist are interesting, but it was executed in a very uninspired way. A serial killer + The California Gold Rush + the Southern Pacific Railway magnates.
nice little mystery but even better historical fiction and quite prescient social commentary for the early 21st century corporate takeover of usa govt and people. young reporter works with ambrose Bierce to take down the Southern Pacific Rail Road and the politicians they call things like the Senator from Southern Pacific and the Representative from Halliburton (oops, hah), I mean the honorable Judge of the district of BP (oops, dang, hah) and also try to solve a series of murders of working ...more
James Dalessandro
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Ambrose Bierce mysteries, set in Gold Rush San Francisco and featuring one of the most extraordinary protagonists in the character of Ambrose "Bitter" Bierce, are classics. "Queen of Spaces" starts each chapter with a quote from Bierce's "The Devil's Dictionary," a work of humor and biting satire that is the worthy equivalent of anything Mark Twain produced. No mean feat there. Oakley Hall's style, his portrait of old San Francisco, the period detail and human observations all combine to ...more
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it
This book isn't a great mystery novel, but it sure is riveting as a piece of historical fiction about San Francisco right after the Gold Rush, which by the way is my favorite era of history. I loved how all the characters were real people who existed at the time.
Luciana Darce
Jul 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Sinceramente? Eu não tenho muita certeza do que fazer desse livro. Por um lado, eu adorei a figura do Bierce - não importa quão misógino o cara seja, obcecado com a corrupção dos magnatas da ferrovia South Pacific. A reconstituição história também foi primorosa, capaz de evocar, realmente, São Francisco pelos fins do século XIX.

Por outro lado, a narrativa às vezes escapa do eixo; muitas tramas paralelas que podem ou não convergir numa enorme teia de conspirações. Acho que eu talvez tivesse
May 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This was quite a good historical mystery, heavy on California history, authentic period detail and dialog, and a sympathetic but not always flattering portrayal of Bierce. Every chapter starts with a quote from the Devil's Dictionary, and a great deal of Beircian wit, sometimes directly quoted from his journalistic essays, is included. Both the working girls whose careers are ended by the Morton Street Slasher, and the romance of the protagonist, a protege of Bierce's, with a society girl above ...more
Aug 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Another contribution to the notion that real life historical personages might make intriguing mystery novels. This work involving the very real and somewhat controversial Ambrose Bierce has a nice sense of San Francisco to it.
set in 1800s San Francisco; interesting look at the railroads influence and a fictional depiction of Bierce
Apr 18, 2016 rated it liked it
It's a fun setting (San Francisco in the 1880s) and an amusing conceit (Ambrose Bierce as a detective) and that's all I need to say.
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This book might not be the best mystery novel however it is a good piece of historical fiction about San Francisco after the Gold Rush.
rated it liked it
Dec 20, 2008
rated it liked it
Nov 13, 2011
Peter Danbury
rated it really liked it
Sep 17, 2012
Thaizy Alves
rated it liked it
Apr 12, 2017
rated it liked it
Sep 02, 2008
rated it it was ok
Jan 28, 2010
rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2019
rated it really liked it
Sep 13, 2009
rated it liked it
Jun 03, 2009
Joanne Miller
rated it liked it
Oct 13, 2014
rated it liked it
May 07, 2010
Samuel Regueira
rated it liked it
Sep 09, 2017
rated it it was ok
Jul 17, 2013
Douglas lee
rated it really liked it
Apr 24, 2016
rated it really liked it
Oct 04, 2013
David Alex
rated it liked it
Dec 07, 2016
Parker T. Geissel
rated it it was ok
May 15, 2016
Kevin Perry
rated it it was ok
Jan 02, 2018
rated it liked it
May 07, 2012
rated it really liked it
Aug 23, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Death of a New American (Jane Prescott Mystery, #2)
  • A Death of No Importance (Jane Prescott Mystery, #1)
  • Bruno, Chief of Police (Bruno, Chief of Police #1)
  • The American Agent (Maisie Dobbs, #15)
  • Lady Takes the Case (Manor Cat Mystery #1)
  • The Clerkenwell Tales
  • A Tale of Two Murders
  • Northanger Abbey (The Austen Project, #2)
  • The Baker Street Letters (Baker Street Letters, #1)
  • Snoopy and the Red Baron
  • Peanuts Revisited: Favorites Old and New
  • Moriarty Returns a Letter (Baker Street Letters, #4)
  • The Brothers of Baker Street (Baker Street Letters, #2)
  • The Mortal Immortal: The Complete Supernatural Short Fiction of Mary Shelley
  • The Sting of Justice (Burren Mysteries, #3)
  • Sanditon: Jane Austen's Last Novel Completed
  • Berlin Noir
  • The Baker Street Translation (Baker Street Letters, #3)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Ambrose Bierce (5 books)
  • Ambrose Bierce and the Death of Kings (Ambrose Bierce, #2)
  • Ambrose Bierce and the One-Eyed Jacks (Ambrose Bierce, #3)
  • Ambrose Bierce and the Trey of Pearls (Ambrose Bierce, #4)
  • Ambrose Bierce and the Ace of Shoots (Ambrose Bierce, #5)

News & Interviews

"Stay calm and read on" might be our collective slogan for the coming months. Since we all might need some help with that, we asked Goodreads m...
102 likes · 98 comments
“If you read novels you sympathize with people who are different kinds of people than you are.” 0 likes
More quotes…