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Death at Chinatown (Emily Cabot Mysteries) (Volume 5) Paperback – August 6, 2014
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From the Inside Flap
In the summer of 1896, amateur sleuth Emily Cabot meets two young Chinese women who have recently received medical degrees. She is inspired to make an important decision about her own life when she learns about the difficult choices they have made in order to pursue their careers.
When one of the women is accused of poisoning a Chinese herbalist, Emily once again finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation. But, before the case can be solved, she must first settle a serious quarrel with her husband, help quell a political uprising, and overcome threats against her family.
Timeless issues, such as restrictions on immigration, the conflict between Western and Eastern medicine, and women's struggle to balance family and work, are woven seamlessly throughout this riveting historical mystery.
Rich with fascinating details of life in Chicago's original Chinatown, this fifth book in the Emily Cabot Mysteries series will continue to delight history buffs and mystery lovers alike.
About the Author
Frances McNamara grew up in Boston, where her father served as Police Commissioner for ten years. She has degrees from Mount Holyoke and Simmons Colleges, and is now a librarian at the University of Chicago. She is working on the sixth book in the Emily Cabot Mysteries series, Death at the Paris Exposition. When not working or writing she can be found sailing on Lake Michigan.
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Top customer reviews
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Emily Cabot finds herself conflicted and torn between the responsibility of motherhood and the challenge of continuing an academic career with a lectureship at the University in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Anthropology. An escalating resentment and misunderstanding is creating serious tension in her marriage relationship. Suddenly she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation, a political uprising, and deeply involved in the lives of two young Chinese doctors, recent University graduates.
McNamara skillfully weaves issues of the need for immigration reform and the bias resulting from the fear of Chinese infiltration into our country in 1896, the prejudice against married women having a career in academic circles, and the steeped traditions of China, which stifles the opportunities of her new Chinese friends.
Although at times the dialog may seem tedious with repetition; it may also be seen as deliberate as it keeps the reader abreast of the logic of police investigation procedures and the natural deductive skills of the successful detective. I found it a challenge to match wits with Emily Cabot and police Detective Whitbread.
“Death at Chinatown” is a brilliant blending of the mystery suspense genre and the historical novel, with just the right balance of romance with a subtle reminder that social reform is an ongoing process needing change.
Timely, engaging, informational, and entertaining.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.
In this book, the setting is 1896 Chicago, mainly in the Chinatown area. Two young Chinese women are newly graduated from medical school, and are planning to return to China to open a hospital. Rival Chinese gangs clash over the politics of their homeland, and one of the young doctors is blamed for a murder. Emily helps to solve the mystery, and also settles some of her own struggles with career and motherhood.
I liked the setting of the book, and the vivid descriptions of the time period. The book also portrays the issues women had being accepted in traditionally male careers, especially after they were married and had children. I wish I had read the previous four books before reading this one, so I'd have been more invested in Emily's back-story and her colleagues. As it was, I had to get to know them as I was reading, and it distracted me from getting immersed in the story. I also found Emily's character to be a little bit vague and bland. I grew up reading feisty Nancy Drew mysteries, and I wished for that kind of spunk and fire in Emily.
The author's descriptions of the restaurants, herbalist's shops, dry goods stores, clothing and culture of the residents of Chinatown were very realistic, and the way she fit Chinese poetry and fables into the story was seamless. My favorite part of the book was the Afterward, which told the reader some of the background of the real-life characters in the book, and explained some historical context that added an extra dimension to the story.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by The Cadence Group for review purposes.