Thursday, August 1, 2019

ARC Review: Singapore Sapphire by A. M. Stuart

Singapore Sapphire
Author: A. M. Stuart
Series: A Harriet Gordon Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Berkley (August 6, 2019)

Description: Early twentieth-century Singapore is a place where a person can disappear, and Harriet Gordon hopes to make a new life for herself there, leaving her tragic memories behind her--but murder gets in the way.

Singapore, 1910-- Desperate for a fresh start, Harriet Gordon finds herself living with her brother, a reverend and headmaster of a school for boys, in Singapore at the height of colonial rule. Hoping to gain some financial independence, she advertises her services as a personal secretary. It is unfortunate that she should discover her first client, Sir Oswald Newbold--explorer, mine magnate and president of the exclusive Explorers and Geographers Club--dead with a knife in his throat.

When Inspector Robert Curran is put on the case, he realizes that he has an unusual witness in Harriet. Harriet's keen eye for detail and strong sense of duty interests him, as does her distrust of the police and her traumatic past, which she is at pains to keep secret from the gossips of Singapore society.

When another body is dragged from the canal, Harriet feels compelled to help with the case. She and Curran are soon drawn into a murderous web of treachery and deceit and find themselves face-to-face with a ruthless cabal that has no qualms about killing again to protect its secrets.

My Thoughts: Harriet Gordon is in Singapore living with her brother after losing her husband and son in India and joining the suffrage movement in England. She was imprisoned and force fed which almost killed her. She is looking for a new start.

Harriet is doing unpaid work at the school where her brother is headmaster. So she goes looking for clerical work to give her some wages. Her first client is Sir Oswald Newbold who is writing his memoirs. He was an explorer who opened Burmese ruby mines to British buyers. But when Harriet goes to retrieve her typewriter after their first session, she finds him brutally murdered and his home trashed.

Inspector Robert Curran is put on the case and realizes that Harriet makes an excellent witness but she is also very wary of the police. When a young man that Harriet met at Sir Oswald's is also found murdered, Harriet decides to get involved in the investigation.

There are quite a few suspects in this story. Could it be someone from Sir Oswald's past? Is it a member of the Explorers and Geographers Club? And what is the connection with the father of one of the student's at her brother's school?

I enjoyed the setting and time period. 1910 in Singapore was quite a melting pot. I liked Harriet and her desire for women's rights and a career. I liked that she and Curran both were able to look beyond the normal British-centric viewpoint which was common. 

Favorite Quote:
She'd been returned to her parents' home in Wimbledon, close to death. As she lay in her childhood bed recovering from her ordeal, listening to the sound of middle-class life in the house around her, she made a decision. The fight would go on without her. Somewhere between James's death and that grim cell in Holloway she had lost her way.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I like that it is set in Singapore in 1910, I think I would enjoy the book.


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