Revenge in Rubies
Harriet Gordon Mystery, Book #2
By A. M. Stuart
Author Website: amstuartbooks(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
When Harriet Gordon receives word from a friend about a tragic death, she and Inspector Curran are thrust into a web of family secrets that threatens to destroy them both in this all-new mystery from the author of Singapore Sapphire. Singapore.
1910 Singapore. Harriet Gordon has found fulfillment at last. Her young ward, Will, has settled into his new home with Harriet and her brother, Julian. And Harriet’s employment as a typist at the Straits Settlements Police Force has given her an intriguing way to occupy her time and some much-needed financial independence. But when her friend and employer, Inspector Robert Curran, is called to the scene of a brutal murder and Harriet is asked to comfort the victim’s family, her newfound sense of contentment is abruptly shattered.
Sylvie Nolan, the new and much-younger wife of Lieutenant Colonel John Nolan, has been bludgeoned to death in her bedroom. The tightly knit military community in Singapore quickly tries to close ranks to hinder Curran’s investigation. Harriet has ties to the Nolan family and realizes that her friendship with the colonel’s sister might prove useful to Curran’s efforts to find the culprit. But to get close enough to the family’s secrets, Harriet must once again face her painful past and Curran is forced to dredge up some long-buried secrets of his own.
And when more shocking deaths occur that all seem linked to Sylvie’s murder, Harriet and Curran realize that they too are in the sights of a callous killer. (Goodreads)
I am a fan of historical mysteries, and the Victorian/Edwardian eras are most appealing to me. Revenge in Rubies, the second mystery featuring Harriet Gordon, is an absorbing tale with an exotic atmosphere full of murder with an honor before all sentiment set in British Colonized Singapore at the turn of the twentieth century.
After fleeing her past in London, Harriet has settled in Singapore, living with her cleric brother Julian and ward Will while working for the local police. She is thrown into an investigation when her boss is called to investigate the gruesome murder of Sylvie, the young wife of the local regimental commander. The near impenetrable military community’s reluctance to accommodate Inspector Curran and his current ill health make investigating difficult. However, Harriet’s friendship with Sylvie’s sister-in-law provides an in to make inquiries. As the body count rises and secrets are revealed, both military and familial suspects abound, and Harriet and Curran must do their best to solve the mystery.
I really like Harriet. She is obviously resilient, intelligent, and ever curious. She does occasionally make missteps, some with big consequences, but she, overall, makes an admirable sleuth. Inspector Curran is diligent, respectable, and perceptive. Readers learn quite a bit about him and his love Li An. Other characters are well drawn and engaging. I appreciate that Stuart does not sugar-coat the inequities and treatment of both the Chinese and Indian residents in Singapore. The British are not depicted as devils or saints making it feel like an appropriate representation of colonial life in 1910. The murder mystery is well executed with plenty of twists and turns. I did not figure out whodunit until quite late in the story. The pace is steady throughout and the story compelling.
I greatly enjoyed Revenge in Rubies and look forward to many more adventures with Harriet and Inspector Curran.