Monica's Reviews > City of Secrets

City of Secrets by Kelli Stanley
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's review
Nov 30, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: crime-and-or-evil, historical
Read in November, 2011

Set in San Francisco in 1940, this story is a reminder that the good old days had some pretty horrific stuff happening. Racism and sexism were rampant, eugenics was regarded as cutting edge science, domestic terrorists both left and right were blowing things up to prove their points. Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford and a lot of other folks thought the Nazis were on the right track and we should leave them alone. Father Coughlin was spewing race hatred over the airwaves.

In the midst of this,private detective Miranda Corbie is trying to find out who murdered two women, marking their bodies with anti-Semitic slurs. She breaks all the rules, of course, puts herself in jeopardy, also of course, and eventually figures it out.

The descriptions of the city scenes, the atmosphere and the historic details are very well done, as are the insights into the politics of the time and place. I'm not so fond of the main character - the hard-boiled but vulnerable broad private eye has one or two more chapters in her back story than necessary, I think - Spanish Civil War vet, ex-escort, horrible alcoholic father, vanished mother, dead lover...and a partridge in a pear tree?
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