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Ambrose Bierce and the Trey of Pearls (Ambrose Bierce Mystery Novels) Hardcover – January 22, 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
Book 4 of 5 in the Ambrose Bierce Series

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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 country’s finest writers. -- Robert Stone --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Ambrose Bierce Mystery Novels
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (January 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670032700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670032709
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,697,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Sparrow R. Jones on February 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Hall's novel is part mystery, part history, part romance, thoroughly wonderful. The story takes place in San Francisco where journalist Ambrose Bierce (an actual historical figure, probably best known for his "Devil's Dictionary") and his assistant (the narrator of the book) are attempting to unravel a murder that appears to be related to the "Trey of Pearls," three beautiful suffragettes.

One of the Pearls is second cousin to the narrator who falls in love with her and tries to woo her. The young lady is uninterested in marriage, however, being a proponent of the new-fangled philosophy of "Free Love" which states that marriage is slavery and a woman can only truly love someone when she enters the sexual relationship free of artificial social, religious, and legal bonds. Will Bierce find the murderer? Will the lovely suffragette relent and marry her enamored cousin?

The tension level in this book is just right - not cranked up to thriller-levels of anxiety but satisfyingly present enough to keep the reader turning pages. The glimpse of historical San Francisco and the delightful close view of Bierce are icing on the cake. A lovely, light read. Apparently, the author has written a series of Ambrose Bierce mysteries. I definitely enjoyed this one enough to want to seek out the others.
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