My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I won a copy from a Goodreads Giveaway which in no way influenced my review. I have a love of historical mysteries and this one had a little something extra, set in Alaska around 1917. Charlotte Brody came to Cordova Alaska I assume in book one (this is #2) because of her brother who is a doctor there. During her first go around as a sleuth she partnered up fairly well with Deputy James Eddington as they have a good working relationship which seems to be turning into something more.
In this one, Charlotte, busy working as a journalist for the local paper stirs up trouble by taking on the Temperance League, pointing out the growing crime rates in dry counties (as the 18th amendment isn’t a thing yet). She’s quickly distracted from that by a fire at the local hardware store. Mr. Fiske, the owner is found inside, dead but not from the flames. Charlotte learns from her closest female friend in town, Brigit, the local madam (I do have to wonder what her brother, the deputy and her boss think of this as it’s not really addressed) that Fiske liked to step out with her girls and that his wife had a lover.
Convinced she needs to find out the truth, Charlotte starts looking for Caroline Fiske’s lover and has to wonder if the local arsonist James was hunting is behind this or is this something different? She believes it’s something different. Charlotte is also distracted by her budding romance with James which is complicated by her coming off a bad relationship back east (that resulted in an abortion so keep that in mind if that bothers you. There is a lot about dealing with the aftermath and a woman’s right to choose which seems to have bothered a few readers who think they have the right to tell others what should happen with their bodies) and his ending marriage that she knew nothing about.
Also in the mix is a young girl, Rebecca whose mother was the Fiskes’s maid before she died and Rebecca’s older brother who has been in trouble with the law and has a chip on his shoulder. They’re mixed race, White and Native which means no end of prejudice for them to fight. Charlotte doesn’t want to see the girl, who is bright and ambitious, be forced out of school because she has to work to stay alive.
I really enjoyed the characters and the story but I was disappointed by the ending. Still I’m looking forward to more.
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