Published: August 4, 2015
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
Celia Davies, a nurse in San Francisco of the 1880s walks a fine line between several worlds, each controversial in its own way. Working as a nurse is acceptable, however she has her own clinic with no male doctor to answer to. Her husband has disappeared and while she has a private investigator looking for him, she half hopes he is not found. And contrary to society’s dictates she treats not only the Chinese in their appointed neighbourhood—she treats prostitutes. return to him—it is one across time. Six years before, while on an archaeological dig with her father, Lisbeth fell into a well and found herself in ancient Carthage. There she met, and fell in love with, Cyprian.
Detective Nicholas Greaves came west at the end of the Civil War to leave behind his own painful past. While corruption exists within the San Francisco Police department Nicholas will not put aside his ethics and sense of justice. That includes walking the streets of Chinatown and investigating crimes committed against all of its people, including prostitutes. When a former prostitute is found murdered on the docks, despite his Captain’s admonitions to leave it alone, Nicholas continues to investigate.
When a young Chinese friend of Celia and her cousin, Barbara’s is murdered, Celia is determined to find the killer. Despite Nicholas’s efforts to dissuade her, Celia continues to dig to find Li Sha killer. Even when she and her household are threatened, she continues on her path. Despite his determination to keep Celia safe he and Nicholas form a tenuous partnership to find the killer. Can they find him before the murder strikes again?
Nancy Herriman’s NO COMFORT FOR THE LOST caught my attention as soon as I saw the series title: A Mystery of Old San Francisco. Aside from living in the San Francisco Bay area and having worked in the City for a number of years, the history of the “city by the bay” has long interested me. Herriman does not disappoint.
Each character, including the secondary characters, have multiple layers making each memorable in their own way. Even Li Sha who readers meet after she has been killed is fully developed with her own secrets, needs and desires. As her story unfolds you come to know her and feel the anger at her senseless killing.
Nicholas and Celia have many layers and despite getting to know them in NO COMFORT FOR THE LOST, you can see there is still much more to them—things that will undoubtedly be revealed in the books that follow. Addie, the Irish housekeeper with her husband hunt was a wonderful addition—hopefully she will not settle on a suitor too soon because of how fun her current “search” for a beau is going.
I didn’t warm up to Celia’s cousin Barbara mainly because of the constant reminders of how fragile she was. She is supposed to be a teen, but her age isn’t clear and the direct mention of her being a teen doesn’t come until almost the end of the book. The turn off on the character came not so much because she was fragile and sensitive but because of the constant reminders of it. After the first 20 reminders I got it; after the next 20 it was old and I didn’t really care what happened to her. Her role in the mystery, however, was nicely done.
Herriman does a wonderful job of weaving together San Francisco during its early years, the histories of the two main characters and a mystery that kept me guessing until the very end who did it.
NO COMFORT FOR THE LOST is definitely one to add to your must read list.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.