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Bloody Lessons: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery [Kindle Edition]

M. Louisa Locke
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.49
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Book Description

In Bloody Lessons, it's the winter of 1880, and the teachers of San Francisco are under attack: their salaries slashed and their competency and morals questioned in a series of poison pen letters.

Annie Fuller, the reluctant clairvoyant, has been called in to investigate by Nate Dawson, her lawyer beau, and the case becomes personal when they discover that Laura, Nate's sister, may be one of the teachers targeted for attack.

In this installment in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, readers will find the same blend of a cozy mystery and romantic suspense, played out against the historical backdrop of late 19th century San Francisco, that they found in Maids of Misfortune and Uneasy Spirits.

If you are new to this series, you will still enjoy spending time with the lively residents of Annie Fuller's boarding house and visiting San Francisco when Golden Gate Park was filled with horse-drawn carriages, politics were controlled by saloon-keepers, and kisses were stolen under gaslight.

Books In This Series (4 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews


    "Ms. Locke's book is the third in her Victorian San Francisco Mysteries (and she has two short stories in the series too), and she continues the strong characters and interesting views of Victorian San Francisco. This reviewer was raised across the bay from the city, and finds the mix of mystery, San Francisco history and strong women characters very appealing." -Laura Strathman Hulka, Story Circle Book Reviews
    "This new mystery is, once again, cleverly created, with clues, red herrings, and the ending is perfectly done. I highly recommend the entire series." -Rebecca Dahlke
    "Writing characters that are engaging to the modern reader, but true to their time period is tricky. As someone who has read a lot of primary source material (e.g. letters from various war fronts, period newspaper articles, etc.) in addition to being an avid reader of historical fiction, I find Locke's handling of her characters simply amazing."-William Ockham

    About the Author

    M. Louisa Locke, a retired professor of U.S women's history, features women's occupations in her Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. In Maids of Misfortune, Annie Fuller, a widowed boarding house keeper and pretend clairvoyant, goes undercover as a domestic servant to solve a murder, in Uneasy Spirits, Annie and romantic interest, San Francisco lawyer Nate Dawson, investigate fraudulent trance mediums, and in Bloody Lessons, they try to determine who is attacking San Francisco teachers. The fourth book in the series, Deadly Proof, due out in early 2015, is about women in the San Francisco printing industry. Dr. Locke is on the Board of Directors of the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative, writes about self-publishing at and is an active member of the Alliance of Independent Authors.

    Product Details

    • File Size: 2688 KB
    • Print Length: 313 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1492159042
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: M. Louisa Locke (September 15, 2013)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00EEKVSD0
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Lending: Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,339 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Next Installment in a Very Engaging Series September 17, 2013
    Format:Kindle Edition
    I always find myself enjoying M Louisa Locke's engaging, cozy mysteries, set in Victorian San Francisco and this new novel is no exception. They are written with a tremendous sense of historical accuracy coupled with a real affection for her characters on the part of the writer. In Bloody Lessons we revisit the charming, clever Annie Fuller running her comfortable boarding house, while dispensing astute financial advice in the guise of a psychic medium. This is the only way in which she can get her clients to take her seriously, at this time - but you get the feeling that things are about to change!
    The novel begins with Laura Dawson, the young sister of Nate Dawson, the attractive lawyer with whom we (and Annie) have become familiar throughout the first two novels in the series. Laura has come to San Francisco to take up a position as a teacher but almost immediately she has two deeply distressing experiences, which will colour the rest of the story. Soon, Annie and Nate are drawn into a complex series of events which centre on the school system and a number of pernicious anonymous letters. This is 'cozy crime' so there is little to shock or disturb, but a very great deal to interest - and I always find this writer's work interesting. In this case, the school setting fascinated me, and since the novel is set in a place which is quite unfamiliar to me, this added an extra dimension of gentle pleasure. These make great bed-time reading. They won't give you nightmares, but you will quickly feel a part of Nate and Annie's world. And as the novel gathers pace towards the end, this becomes a genuine page turner - not least because the writer has allowed us to become so fond of her well drawn cast of characters.
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    20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent character-driven mystery September 16, 2013
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    Locke is one of my favorite writers. Her in-depth knowledge of the time period (she's a retired history prof) gives her books real historical flavor, the mystery is top-notch, but it is her handling of the characters, even the supporting cast, that make this book (and the whole series) really special. Writing characters that are engaging to the modern reader, but true to their time period is tricky. As someone who has read a lot of primary source material (e.g. letters from various war fronts, period newspaper articles, etc.) in addition to being an avid reader of historical fiction, I find Locke's handling of her characters simply amazing. Many of her characters have uncommon (but never impossible or too modern) goals or ideas for their times, but it is often that conflict between the times and her characters' personalities and foibles which drives the plot.

    The story in Bloody Lessons is set against a backdrop of a very real political and social crisis in San Francisco in the late 1870's and early 1880's. In many ways the actual events were far more sensational and unbelievable than the happenings in the book. The mystery revolves around teachers and teaching during a time when the public school system in California was the focus of an intense partisan conflict.

    The primary character, Annie Fuller, is a widowed boarding house owner and part-time clairvoyant whose newest boarder, Laura Dawson, is assaulted in the alley behind the boarding house. Laura is not only a teacher, but also the younger sister of Annie's love interest, lawyer Nate Dawson. The situation only gets murkier from there.
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    14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Ms Locke does it again! September 29, 2013
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    San Francisco comes alive in this latest addition to M Louisa Locke's cozy Victorian mystery series. Each book in the series not only provides an entertaining `whodunnit' but also uses social issues of the times to drive the plot such as servants' working conditions (Maids of Misfortune) and spiritualism (Uneasy Spirits). This time the political machinations behind the public education system provides the catalyst for events that lead the ever resourceful Annie Fuller and her fiancé, Nate Dawson, into an investigation to discover the identity of a blackmailer. In addition to this story thread, Locke has introduced Laura Dawson, Nate's sister, who has her own mystery to uncover. The strong willed, ambitious Laura (good heavens, a woman who wants to eschew marriage so she can go to university?) is a welcome addition to the cast of characters as her relationship with a civil war veteran reminds the reader how soon after this conflict Bloody Lessons is set, and highlights the age-old plight of returning soldiers who are expected to transition easily back into civilian life after suffering psychological and physical trauma.

    Locke deftly weaves the back story of her other two novels into the book so that it can easily be read `out of order', however, those who have already been introduced to the lively and sociable residents of Annie's boarding house will enjoy learning more about their lives, and indeed, some of their darker secrets.

    The romance between Annie and Nate is not without continuing complications despite the fact they are officially courting.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars good read---comfortable
    another good installment
    Published 1 day ago by flowerchild
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    I love all her books!
    Published 3 days ago by C. Burton
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Plot With Well-defined Characters In An Interesting Era.
    BLOODY LESSONS is a mystery suspense story set in San Francisco in the early 1880’s. M. Lousia Locke focuses on the life of her protagonist, Annie Fuller. Read more
    Published 6 days ago by John Kurtze
    4.0 out of 5 stars a little mystery with a little romance
    I like this series. The stories are a bit of a mystery combined with a little romance. I think because they are set in a different time frame helps keep my nerves in check, so I... Read more
    Published 7 days ago by dolphinwatcher
    3.0 out of 5 stars This book is too long and too boring. The "suspense" as to who is the...
    This book is too long and too boring. The "suspense" as to who is the culprit, becomes obvious in the middle of the book. Read more
    Published 11 days ago by Nurit Amit
    5.0 out of 5 stars A exceptional good read
    Interesting how life was in the 1880's. How hard the people worked, how limited women 's freedoms were. Those that had to work jobs were very limited. Read more
    Published 13 days ago by judy buckland
    2.0 out of 5 stars Victorian?
    Here's a modern writer who attempts a story set in Victorian times, constantly giving herself away as a contemporary writer. Read more
    Published 15 days ago by CRE
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great characters
    Wonderful book, well written and developed. The writer knows her time period. Will now start reading the next book, and start waiting for more.
    Published 18 days ago by G
    5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Mystery
    I loved the actual ads and news stories used at the beginning of each chapter. I have always been interested in this time period as my grandparents were new immigrants themselves. Read more
    Published 21 days ago by hester friedman
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Good Author.
    Published 1 month ago by J.R.
    Search Customer Reviews

    More About the Author

    M. Louisa Locke, a retired professor of U.S. and Women's History, has embarked on a second career as an historical fiction writer. Her Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, Maids of Misfortune, Uneasy Spirits, and Bloody Lessons, feature Annie Fuller, a boardinghouse owner and clairvoyant, and Nate Dawson, a San Francisco lawyer, who together investigate murders and other crimes.

    Her short stories give secondary characters from this series a chance to get involved in their own minor mysteries. Dr. Locke is an active member in the Alliance of Independent Authors, and a Director of the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative. Dr. Locke is currently working on Deadly Proof, the next full-length installment of her Annie Fuller/Nate Dawson series. For those of you who have read her work, Locke would love to hear from you at If you wish to learn more about her books, her research, or to sign up for her newsletter so you will be notified of new publications, go to

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