The intrigue and danger of 1908 Los Angeles propels the pages of this well-researched, fast-paced fictional mystery by author Jennifer Kincheloe. This is the second in her Anna Blanc mystery series, a protagonist who is one of the first women working on the police force. Her investigative skills are put to the challenge when she and her former sweetheart, police officer Joe Singer, discover a body in notorious Chinatown — The Woman in the Camphor Trunk. This book is based on a true crime story, and it also deals with the discrimination and racial tension mostly in the Chinese community in Los Angeles at that time.
The plentiful details about the historical setting provide a rich sense of the societal and environmental elements impacting the characters. You’ll simply absorb so much interesting information about this fascinating time in the growth of this city, and also its unique culture. It’s an incredible backdrop for the dynamics of these fascinating characters that, each in their own way pursue justice.
Anna has an insatiable desire to solve crimes, and this passion, matched with her endless energy and insightful analytic skills and the reader discovers a thoughtful, intelligent chase to resolution. Of course, that doesn’t always mean that Anna plays strictly by the rules. She is found on occasion to follow instinctive impulses and reactions, even when it comes to crime scenes and handling evidence, which can get her into dicey and dangerous situations that make for suspenseful reading.
Other characters, with their own struggles and goals, are a delight to read about. It’s so interesting to learn about the working conventions of the time that the police and criminals work with. It’s also interesting to see the evolution of non-working relationships between characters.
Author Jennifer Kincheloe was a research scientist with an MPH from Loma Linda University and a Ph.D. from UCLA, where she was on the research faculty. Her delight in reading drove her to write. She was off to a great start when her first book in this series, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc ,was a finalist in the Lefty Awards for Best Historical Mystery, The Colorado Author’s League Award for Best Genre Fiction, the Macavity Sue Feder Award for Historical Mystery, the Mystery and Mayhem Award, and is the WINNER of the Colorado Gold for Best Mystery. Book three in the Anna Blanc mystery series is coming out in Fall of 2018.
And if you want to hear more from the author, listen to Kendall & Cooper Talk Mysteries with Jennifer Kincheloe.
Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.