San Francisco in 1940s setting for detective novel

  • By Oline H. Cogdill Associated Press
  • Monday, August 4, 2014 11:57am
  • LifeGo-See-Do

“City of Ghosts” (Minotaur), by Kelli Stanley

A love of San Francisco — its flaws, strengths and eccentricities — permeates Kelli Stanley’s intriguing novels about private detective Miranda Corbie. Stanley’s novels capture San Francisco — and the United States — in the years just before World War II.

War has been on Miranda’s mind since she was a nurse in the Spanish Civil War. In “City of Ghosts,” set during 1940, Miranda cautiously watches what’s happening in London, especially when it appears that her long-lost mother may be living in England. The private detective has little hope that she could bring her mother back to the United States until James MacLeod, an agent with the State Department, enlists her help. He wants her to investigate Huntington Jasper, a chemistry professor suspected of being a spy for the Nazis. The U.S. won’t acknowledge Miranda’s assignment if she’s caught, but the job comes with hefty pay and a ticket to England.

Miranda’s case leads her to dealers specializing in artworks stolen by the Nazis from their Jewish owners. Complications arise when Miranda is implicated in a series of murders, including that of a wealthy client and an acquaintance.

Stanley keeps the novel on a brisk course as Miranda confronts her own city of ghosts, including a dysfunctional childhood, her stint as a prostitute for one of San Francisco’s top madams and the people whose deaths still haunt her. Fiercely independent during a time when that wasn’t in fashion, Miranda continues to be a true survivor.

Stanley’s affection for San Francisco establishes a strong sense of place and time in “City of Ghosts.” It is, Miranda muses, “A city made by dreamers who died paupers and paupers who lived like kings, dreams keeping them alive in the only way that mattered.”

The author’s clear-eyed view of San Francisco and of Miranda’s character adds to the strength of the novel’s engrossing historical fiction.

Online:

http://kellistanley.com/books/miranda-corbie/city-of-ghosts/

More in Life

Lots to see in Upper Skagit, even if the eagles are elusive

A guided hike through a mossy old-growth forest more than makes up for a lack of raptor sightings.

Shopping cart showdown: Which stores have best food prices?

Jennifer Bardsley compares Fred Meyer, PCC, QFC, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, WinCo and Whole Foods offers.

Take a closer look: Winter gardens share gifts in subtle way

Go on a neighborhood walk this month to enjoy the seasonal beauty offered by a variety of gardens.

Lucasfilm
                                Daisy Ridley stars as Rey in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend of all-time

The Disney blockbuster became just the fourth film to open above $200 million domestically.

Samish Flats in Skagit County prime turf for winter birders

This spot is great for birdwatching because of the mostly flat land, marshy areas and open water.

Outdoor classes and activities in and around Snohomish County

GET OUT Christmas bird count: Volunteers are needed for the Everett-Marysville Christmas… Continue reading

Relationship do’s and don’ts: Lessons from 40 years of marriage

Paul Schoenfeld reflects on what he’s learned about relationships after four decades with his wife.

Making it through the holidays on 4 legs and 4 wheels

1. Driving safety Here are some travel tips from the Red Cross… Continue reading

The top 10 albums of 2017: From Jay-Z to St. Vincent

This year saw an upward trend in music industry revenue due to the popularity of streaming services.

Most Read