From Publishers Weekly
The suffrage cause, embodied by three pretty suffragists (the "trey of pearls" of the title), provides the background for Hall's fourth literate historical (after 2003's Ambrose Bierce and the One-Eyed Jacks), set in San Francisco in 1892. Curmudgeonly journalist Ambrose Bierce and his young sidekick, Tom Redmond, look into the shooting death of popular preacher and notorious ladies' man Henry Devine. A second murder follows, of banker William P. Jaspers, whose wife was a devotee of the Reverend Devine. In between interviewing jealous husbands and trying to locate possibly vengeful offspring, Tom pursues his free-love-advocating cousin Amanda Wilson with mixed success, while Bierce exchanges barbs with novelist Gertrude Atherton and otherwise comments cynically on the proceedings. During one interlude, the author of The Devil's Dictionary cites approvingly examples of Ulysses S. Grant's direct and vigorous prose. Hall's spare, laconic style is of comparable quality. Despite a contrived denouement that allows Redmond to perform some stagy heroics during a suffragist parade and a remote killer who remains little more than a set of motivations, Hall delivers an ingenious twist at the end, with subtle hints along the way, that should catch most readers by surprise.
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Oakley Hall is a novelist who never seems to make a wrong move... -- Richard Ford
Oakley Hall is one of the countrys finest writers. -- Robert Stone
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