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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)
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Janete
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.
Tuck
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
Ariane
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
...more
Hedgewitch
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
Peter
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.
Kimberlyn
set in 1800s San Francisco; interesting look at the railroads influence and a fictional depiction of Bierce
nina
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.
Carol
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.
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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
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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)

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