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In Bloody Lessons, it's the winter of 1880, and the teachers of San Francisco are under attack: their salaries slashed and their competency and morals questioned in a series of poison pen letters. Annie Fuller, the reluctant clairvoyant, has been called into investigate by Nate Dawson, her lawyer beau, and the case becomes personal when they discover that Laura, Nate's sis In Bloody Lessons, it's the winter of 1880, and the teachers of San Francisco are under attack: their salaries slashed and their competency and morals questioned in a series of poison pen letters. Annie Fuller, the reluctant clairvoyant, has been called into investigate by Nate Dawson, her lawyer beau, and the case becomes personal when they discover that Laura, Nate's sister, may be one of the teachers targeted for attack. In this installment in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, readers will find the same blend of a cozy mystery with romantic suspense, played out against the historical backdrop of late 19th century San Francisco, that they found in Maids of Misfortune and Uneasy Spirits. If you are new to this series, you will still enjoy spending time with the lively residents of Annie Fuller's boarding house and visiting San Francisco when Golden Gate Park was filled with horse-drawn carriages, saloon-keepers controlled politics, and kisses were stolen under gaslight.


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In Bloody Lessons, it's the winter of 1880, and the teachers of San Francisco are under attack: their salaries slashed and their competency and morals questioned in a series of poison pen letters. Annie Fuller, the reluctant clairvoyant, has been called into investigate by Nate Dawson, her lawyer beau, and the case becomes personal when they discover that Laura, Nate's sis In Bloody Lessons, it's the winter of 1880, and the teachers of San Francisco are under attack: their salaries slashed and their competency and morals questioned in a series of poison pen letters. Annie Fuller, the reluctant clairvoyant, has been called into investigate by Nate Dawson, her lawyer beau, and the case becomes personal when they discover that Laura, Nate's sister, may be one of the teachers targeted for attack. In this installment in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, readers will find the same blend of a cozy mystery with romantic suspense, played out against the historical backdrop of late 19th century San Francisco, that they found in Maids of Misfortune and Uneasy Spirits. If you are new to this series, you will still enjoy spending time with the lively residents of Annie Fuller's boarding house and visiting San Francisco when Golden Gate Park was filled with horse-drawn carriages, saloon-keepers controlled politics, and kisses were stolen under gaslight.

30 review for Bloody Lessons

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    What I'm enjoying abou this series is being drawn into the lives of these characters. These people enjoy each other's companionship. The characters are warm and inviting. In each episode, the characters become more bonded and the friendships strengthen. In this story, we're introduced to Nate's sister. She adds "family" to the circle of friends. She's young, impulsive and has a few lessons of her own to learn as she grows towards maturity. The mystery portion is light and, I thought, a bit slow What I'm enjoying abou this series is being drawn into the lives of these characters. These people enjoy each other's companionship. The characters are warm and inviting. In each episode, the characters become more bonded and the friendships strengthen. In this story, we're introduced to Nate's sister. She adds "family" to the circle of friends. She's young, impulsive and has a few lessons of her own to learn as she grows towards maturity. The mystery portion is light and, I thought, a bit slow moving but it was interesting. There's a bit on the political side of San Franisco at this time, difficulties in the educational system, there's an element of abusive relationships. It's a bit of a mish-mash but it comes together in an entertaining manner.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Butts

    I'm afraid I couldn't like this book as much as I did the first two in the series. The author added a third POV character, Nate's sister Laura, and I found that distracting. I also didn't like Laura that much: she is so negative all the time. That was by design, I think, to show Laura's distress. And she does come out of it by the end of the book, but that's a long time to wait to start empathizing with a character whose head you are in periodically. I also felt that the book was slow, filled wit I'm afraid I couldn't like this book as much as I did the first two in the series. The author added a third POV character, Nate's sister Laura, and I found that distracting. I also didn't like Laura that much: she is so negative all the time. That was by design, I think, to show Laura's distress. And she does come out of it by the end of the book, but that's a long time to wait to start empathizing with a character whose head you are in periodically. I also felt that the book was slow, filled with lots of exposition about the state of education in the 1880s, and of politics in San Francisco at that time. At times the book felt more like a textbook than a novel. Even when Nate and Annie were talking, it often seemed more like two people lecturing one another than really relating. All this disappears in the final ten percent of the book, where the exposition drops off, the pace picks up, and at last you feel a sense of urgency and drama. I like the ending a great deal, and for that reason, I will eagerly await the next book in the series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson have spent the last few months getting to know each other better. Now Nate's sister Laura is staying in Annie's boarding house while she works as a teacher at the local high school. Laura has big dreams to go on to university and become a lawyer like her big brother. She shares those dreams with her dear friend Hattie from Normal School. When Laura is attacked in the alley behind the house, her confidence is shaken. She is too proud to tell her new friends and her br Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson have spent the last few months getting to know each other better. Now Nate's sister Laura is staying in Annie's boarding house while she works as a teacher at the local high school. Laura has big dreams to go on to university and become a lawyer like her big brother. She shares those dreams with her dear friend Hattie from Normal School. When Laura is attacked in the alley behind the house, her confidence is shaken. She is too proud to tell her new friends and her brother what has spooked her. Dandy the dog senses something is wrong and will protect his friends at any cost. When Laura finally meets with Hattie, the other woman has new hopes and dreams and Laura is perplexed and hurt that her friend has abandoned everything for a MAN and not just any man, an teacher and administrator at the school where Laura works. Then Laura learns that someone has been sending threatening and accusatory letters about some of the teachers and Hattie has a terrible accident, it seems like Laura's nightmares are coming true. She must trust Annie and Nate enough to let them help her get to the bottom of the mystery. Annie is secretly thrilled to be investigating with Nate again but it's not enough for her. She wants more from their relationship but isn't sure that's what Nate still wants. Will she allow herself to trust him enough to tell him her fears and her dreams? On the mystery side, this book is nowhere near as compelling as the last volume. The murder happens a couple of chapters in and at first I was in doubt as to whether there even was going to be a murder. I didn't care about the notes at all and it just took too long to put it all together. I knew who it was almost right away but I didn't know how to connect the dots. I also guessed who it was that attacked Laura though how that played out was a bit of a surprise. The writing style isn't very good in this book. As a former professor, the author should know some basic rules of grammar, like never start a sentence with "And" or "But." However, she seems to ignore that rule even though most of the book is all about teaching and the curriculum at a San Francisco High School in 1879! There was rather too much of that. I could tell the author was an educator and passionate about the subject but as someone who absolutely does not want to teach, I could care less. It was somewhat interesting to learn what women were studying at that time and the gains women in the west were making towards women's rights but other than that I was completely uninterested. On the romance side, I had wished for more kissing. I got my wish and then some. With kissing comes Annie's dreams of someday having children with Nate and his fantasy of watching her undress at night. There was a bit too much of that and not enough talking. I had hoped that by now Annie would have opened up to him or at least this book would have her trusting Nate and opening up and the next one would proceed to full on courting mode. I really did not like Annie in this novel. Not EVERY woman dreams of having a husband and family. I could relate much more to Laura, at least at first. It seems like her plot was going to change a bit though and that disappointed me. My education, with the goal of supporting myself has always been my main focus. I have zero interest in children - can't stand babies at all and could relate to Laura's feelings about Hattie's future. Probably I would have acted the same way at her age if my friends had started getting married that young. I hope Laura stays strong and accomplishes her goals without any silly complications like romance, marriage and children. I share Laura's opinion of Hattie's new dreams and I also jumped to the same conclusions Laura did about a certain man. He didn't seem like a romantic figure or a killer. I don't see what Hattie saw in him. I didn't like any of the other new characters and had a hard time keeping them and their schools straight. There was just too much going on to remember. The introduction of Seth was stupid and pointless except to complicate Laura's plot and the whole thing with Buck kind of fizzled out with him being a stereotypical character. This is the worst entry in the series so far. I can't get the 4th volume or short stories at this time but I would like to read them anyway.

  4. 4 out of 5

    R.P. Dahlke

    Annie Fuller, widow and boarding house owner, supplements her income as financial advisor to wealthy patrons, but only accepted with the disguise of her alter ego, Madame Sybil, complete with black wig and her star charts. As much as Annie wishes to be able to reveal her talents to the world, she knows this won't happen in 1880. And Annie needs the income, for every day is a struggle to make enough money to keep herself, and the women who depend on her for a living, afloat. I so enjoyed revisitin Annie Fuller, widow and boarding house owner, supplements her income as financial advisor to wealthy patrons, but only accepted with the disguise of her alter ego, Madame Sybil, complete with black wig and her star charts. As much as Annie wishes to be able to reveal her talents to the world, she knows this won't happen in 1880. And Annie needs the income, for every day is a struggle to make enough money to keep herself, and the women who depend on her for a living, afloat. I so enjoyed revisiting this house, with its charming characters--Beatrice the cook, Kathleen the housemaid, Barbara, her son, Jamie and his cheery little Boston Terrier, Dandy, and of course, Annie's love interest, Nate, the handsome young lawyer whose efforts to court Annie frequently rub her the wrong way. Then there's the author's ability to make the reader feel how San Francisco must have been all those years ago. The crowded, noisy streets, the fog, and how the city hadn't yet expanded beyond Portrero Hill or into Sausalito or Tiburon. In this latest story, Nate's younger sister, Laura, comes to San Francisco to accept a teaching job and the logical place for her to stay is Annie's boarding house. But when Laura is attacked in the alley behind Annie's boarding house, Annie is suddenly afraid for her newest tenant. Then anonymous letters accusing first one and then another teacher of "unseemly" behavior, and trouble seems to double up. Okay, so nasty letters don't sound like much by today's standards, but in 1880, a teacher could lose his, or her, only source of income. From teacher to a boarder, the evil seems to spread, sparing no one. When Nate is hired as attorney to help uncover the culprit, Annie naturally fits into the picture as part of the investigation. The author never sugar coats how difficult life is for women in this oft glamorized time in American history. From the boarders to the boarding house help, the reader will quickly see how close women live to the edge--from pressure to keep up their hard work lest they be fired from their poorly paid jobs, to having their reputations ruined, which for a "lady" might mean anything from loss of family prestige to being cast out of one's home). Yet, love, laughter and happiness are threaded through the book. The characters grow, change, become better people--or they are unmasked for the villains they are. This new mystery is, once again, cleverly created, with clues, red herrings, and the ending is perfectly done. I highly recommend the entire series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mick Dubois

    I had enjoyed every previous book in this series and also this time I’m not disappointed at all. It’s a pleasant but thrilling mystery with the usual cast of characters, with 1 interesting newcomer. This is the first book that prominently features Laura Dawson, Nate’s sister. She’s only just moved to San Francisco as she’s got a job teaching at Clement Grammar and of course she’s found lodgings in Annie’s establishment. One night when she walks home with Jamie, the son of another guest at the bo I had enjoyed every previous book in this series and also this time I’m not disappointed at all. It’s a pleasant but thrilling mystery with the usual cast of characters, with 1 interesting newcomer. This is the first book that prominently features Laura Dawson, Nate’s sister. She’s only just moved to San Francisco as she’s got a job teaching at Clement Grammar and of course she’s found lodgings in Annie’s establishment. One night when she walks home with Jamie, the son of another guest at the boarding house, she gets assaulted in the back alley. She wonders if it may have something to do with a man named Seth about whom very little is told. That’s not her only worry, as she’s suspicious about the man with whom her best friend Hattie is engaged, the vice-president of the school she works in. As a fact, Laura got the job because Hattie gave it up as her lover might otherwise be accused of favouritism. Laura doesn’t buy it and thinks that Hattie betrayed all their ideals and plans. A few days later Hattie ‘falls’ down the stairs and dies a few hours later of her injuries and blood loss. She manages just to utter a few mysterious words that could mean that it was no accident but that she was pushed or maybe getting pregnant was no accident for that was the reason why she was rushing to get married so soon. Nate asks Annie’s help with an anonymous letter in which Mr Emory is accused of illegally appointing an unqualified family friend as a teacher in Girl’s High. That’s where Barbara Hewitt, Jamie’s mother, also works. The previous year the board of school administrators diminished the pay of primary school teachers with 30%. A factor that may or may not be taken into account as a reason for the accusation. During the previous term, more similar letters had been received by the board. I think it adorable how Nate frets about himself. He’s terribly insecure when it comes to Annie and thinks that he makes a bad impression compared with her dead husband and father, that they were men of the world and much better at ease when complaining about bad service, or low-quality goods. He’s totally unaware that those are exactly the reason that she loves him because he thinks about other people and their feelings. But Annie has to open up a lot more to him than she does right now. He’s not a clairvoyant and if she doesn’t talk about the bad things in her past, he won’t know about them. 1 of the funny differences with our own time is that Jamie doesn’t think twice about walking home with one of the teachers; nowadays a child wouldn’t be seen dead doing that. People did walk a lot more in those days than we do nowadays. It’s only if they must travel an extensive distance that they take a cab or hansom as you can see in the book. It can be because I’m not an American but I’m a bit lost in the terminology of all the different educational systems and schools that existed: grammar school, normal class, girls’/ boy’s high, primary school, … and what sort of degrees are needed to teach in each of those. Or what’s the difference between a teaching degree from normal school or that from State University? Despite all her progressive and modern ideas and beliefs, Annie remains very much a woman of her time. It’s, depending on how you look at it, endearing and cute or just ridiculous how she holds on to many rules of the social and moral etiquette of the day and age. So she will always leave the door of the parlour ajar when she retreats with Nate for a cosy afternoon chat. It's very nice and pleasant to see how Laura and Annie quickly bond and become friends that confide in each other. It’s not only Nate that forms a connection between both young women, they both have very progressive, feminist ideas for their time and age and also similar moral principles. They both come from a rather protected youth without much interaction with girls their own age. In school, Laura formed a strong and intimate bond with Hattie and that loss devastates her; Annie never had a close friend before. It’s sad if you know how many restrictions there existed on the interaction between men and women and how all-important one’s reputation was in those day’s. The restrictions mainly addressed what women could not do, as the men could do more or less anything they wanted. Any whisper of a scandal would harm the woman 100 times more than the man involved. And then I’m not talking about silly customs as open doors, but almost every aspect of daily life was regulated. Unchaperoned outings, talking to unknown men, dress code, … really everything! I don’t think I would be able to live under such a strict social regime and transgress most of those regulations, which would have made me a complete pariah without any prospects for marriage, company or social relations with any respectable person. As always, Mrs Locke did her homework and we get lots of details about the problems and social difficulties of women, and teachers most specific in the Victorian era/ post-civil war period. They weren’t paid much and their salaries were even decreased. On top of that, they had to answer to such unrealistic ideals that it’s a miracle that enough teachers could be found. It’s not something I can remember but it is not all that long ago that female teachers were supposed to stop working when they got married, a demand that was never made from their male colleagues.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Beverly Locker

    Conflicted Opinion ... For the most part, I enjoyed the storyline of the book. However, Laura's character seemed unreal for a level-headed, educated school teacher ... high-strung, easily angered, and jumping to conclusions about the motives of everyone she met. The book's ending wrapped up the storyline nicely. Conflicted Opinion ... For the most part, I enjoyed the storyline of the book. However, Laura's character seemed unreal for a level-headed, educated school teacher ... high-strung, easily angered, and jumping to conclusions about the motives of everyone she met. The book's ending wrapped up the storyline nicely.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I have loved the first two books in the series but this one just didn't do it for me. There seemed to be a lot of characters and some different plots going on. Nate's sister is a new character but she seemed so immature I didn't really care for her that much. Hopefully the next book is better. I have loved the first two books in the series but this one just didn't do it for me. There seemed to be a lot of characters and some different plots going on. Nate's sister is a new character but she seemed so immature I didn't really care for her that much. Hopefully the next book is better.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karyl Carlson

    Great series I really am enjoying this series of mysteries set in old time San Francisco. One gets to know the characters well, and they grow and develop as the stories go on.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bobbi

    I didn’t enjoy the storyline quite as much as the first two, but still a very enjoyable read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    I love the way the author starts each chapter with a little excerpt from an actual San Francisco newspaper article from the same year as the novel is taking place. It demonstrates that the kinds of events she is writing about were really happening! In this book of the series, teachers and administrators are receiving letters threatening their reputations. Is the angry source of the letters politically motivated ? Angry about the poor qualifications and favoritism hiring of some teachers? Angry a I love the way the author starts each chapter with a little excerpt from an actual San Francisco newspaper article from the same year as the novel is taking place. It demonstrates that the kinds of events she is writing about were really happening! In this book of the series, teachers and administrators are receiving letters threatening their reputations. Is the angry source of the letters politically motivated ? Angry about the poor qualifications and favoritism hiring of some teachers? Angry about the 1/3 cut in pay for the primary teachers! (And that did actually happen!). One young woman loses her life after feeling pressured to quit teAching and her death seems to be linked to the potential scandals as well. Our favorite Victorian sleuth puts her powers of observation and play-acting to work to bring about resolution.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I enjoyed the previous two mysteries in this series, but this one just fell flat for me. It was very clear to me who was behind all the trouble (in both the main plot and the subplot), and everything felt too pat and predictable. There was no sense of urgency as there was in the other books. Annie's role seemed heavily diminished, and it was hardly necessary for her to go undercover. Disappointing, because Locke is clearly capable of crafting a much more interesting mystery. This one I didn't fi I enjoyed the previous two mysteries in this series, but this one just fell flat for me. It was very clear to me who was behind all the trouble (in both the main plot and the subplot), and everything felt too pat and predictable. There was no sense of urgency as there was in the other books. Annie's role seemed heavily diminished, and it was hardly necessary for her to go undercover. Disappointing, because Locke is clearly capable of crafting a much more interesting mystery. This one I didn't find very convincing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Overall, the book served its purpose -- an engaging, relaxing story to read before I went to sleep. Had I been looking for a riveting, can't-put-down novel, I would have been in the wrong place. The story, while interesting, seemed to go on FOREVER! Especially toward the beginning, there were just too many people and the story seemed to just take a long time to get where it was going. The reluctant lovers were a little too staid, in my opinion. I enjoyed the tidbits from history - most of them s Overall, the book served its purpose -- an engaging, relaxing story to read before I went to sleep. Had I been looking for a riveting, can't-put-down novel, I would have been in the wrong place. The story, while interesting, seemed to go on FOREVER! Especially toward the beginning, there were just too many people and the story seemed to just take a long time to get where it was going. The reluctant lovers were a little too staid, in my opinion. I enjoyed the tidbits from history - most of them seemed relevant to the novel. I admire this author's dedication to weaving an historical novel.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laurel Kristick

    I loved this look at teaching in 1880. My grandmother was from a different generation (she was born in 1906), but her stories of her time at normal school and teaching before she married by grandfather made this setting ring true for me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Glad to see some forward momentum in the relationship between Annie and Nate, and I was well far into the book before I was able to work out who the guilty party was. That's always a good thing. Glad to see some forward momentum in the relationship between Annie and Nate, and I was well far into the book before I was able to work out who the guilty party was. That's always a good thing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Madelon

    In this, the third novel in the series, there is scandal to be found as we meet up once again with the residents of Annie Fuller's boarding house on O'Farrell and find that Annie has a new boarder. The mystery revolves around scandals within the Board of Education, teachers, and the death of the new resident's best friend. This is, so far, my favorite in the series. Character development reaches new highs and relationships are better quantified. My decision to start the year with this series was In this, the third novel in the series, there is scandal to be found as we meet up once again with the residents of Annie Fuller's boarding house on O'Farrell and find that Annie has a new boarder. The mystery revolves around scandals within the Board of Education, teachers, and the death of the new resident's best friend. This is, so far, my favorite in the series. Character development reaches new highs and relationships are better quantified. My decision to start the year with this series was definitely a good one. I've always had a soft spot for good historical fiction because the story makes it so much easier to grasp the time period without focusing on what happened on a given date. For me, memorizing the date something occurs seems to diminish the import of the event. BLOODY LESSONS continues the underlying premise of Victorian sensibilities but also allows for an examination of the human feelings these proprieties aim to stifle. Each chapter starts with a newspaper snippet that relates to the overall story in a general way which makes me think that a great deal of research has gone into these stories. The Chronicle, founded in 1865, continues publication today. After reading "About the Author," I found out that Dr. Locke knows from whence she writes since she her doctoral research was on late 19th century working women. I am almost tempted to go back and read just these short articles to see how they fit together in context with the story. In a few cases, I think the articles may have influenced the naming of some individuals in the books. There are any number of reasons for adding BLOODY LESSONS, and the rest of the series (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery) to your TBR – history, mystery, and human interest top the list for me. I do recommend that you start at the beginning and work your way through. In that recommendation I would include SAN FRANCISCO STORIES which contains four short stories, a prequel and three interludes that tell the stories between the novels. Right now, I'm off to read the last of the stories so I can post my review of that.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Book III in the A Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. Annie Fuller is still being courted by lawyer Nate Dawson and she now has his younger sister Laura staying in one of the rooms in her boarding house. While walking home from work one evening Laura is assaulted by an unknown man. This incident begins the investigation into who it could have been and whether it can be linked to other female teachers that have been threatened recently via notes. Laura is trying to find her best friend Hattie s Book III in the A Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. Annie Fuller is still being courted by lawyer Nate Dawson and she now has his younger sister Laura staying in one of the rooms in her boarding house. While walking home from work one evening Laura is assaulted by an unknown man. This incident begins the investigation into who it could have been and whether it can be linked to other female teachers that have been threatened recently via notes. Laura is trying to find her best friend Hattie so she can catch up and find out why she left her teaching position (and had Laura move to town to fill in her absence). She is also trying to cope with the attack and has too many suspects that it could be that followed her from her last teaching job. Nate has a client that works with the school board that is trying to figure out where these menacing notes are coming from and why these teachers are being targeted. Annie is asked to assist with her investigating skills. Soon, she is looking for clues while posing as a substitute teacher at the school to see if she can find any information as to who is sending the awful letters. Aside from the terrible news of Laura's friend and all of the hateful letters and rumors flying around about educational staff, Annie is worried she is pushing Nate away. She wants very much to be with Nate but there are so many things from her past that she is unsure of how to bring them up in conversation. Very soon, Annie and Nate need to swallow their pride and just be honest with each other, or else they will never know the true love that they both feel for one another.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chazzi

    M. Louisa Locke’s Victorian San Francisco mystery series is a very enjoyable series. Annie Fuller is the central character. She is a widow from a not too happy marriage, who relocated to San Francisco from the East Coast. She runs a boarding house, inherited from an aunt, and supplements her income as a clairvoyant and business consultant. 1880 and the teachers in the public school system are having a rough go. Salaries are being cut and they are being criticized on their morals and competency by M. Louisa Locke’s Victorian San Francisco mystery series is a very enjoyable series. Annie Fuller is the central character. She is a widow from a not too happy marriage, who relocated to San Francisco from the East Coast. She runs a boarding house, inherited from an aunt, and supplements her income as a clairvoyant and business consultant. 1880 and the teachers in the public school system are having a rough go. Salaries are being cut and they are being criticized on their morals and competency by anonymous letters. Laura Dawson, a new resident of Annie’s boarding house and sister of Annie’s beau Nate, is a possible target of these letters. Laura has come to San Francisco and taken a teaching position after learning of it from Hattie, a close friend and classmate. When the classmate winds up dead, things start to get very interesting. Why did Hattie change from being set on going to University to get a degree and career to settle for getting married? Was Hattie’s death an accident or a murder, as her last words hinted at? Locke’s writing takes you into the late 1800s in San Francisco. The styles, morals, way of life, very different from today’s world: a time that was not a good one for women wanting to be independent. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jann

    Another excellent murder mystery from M Louisa Locke. I like the characters and the details define an earlier time in San Francisco. Everything seems to fit smoothly into the action and there are no jarring notes to make me wonder how believable the plot is. I enjoyed the depiction of women as intelligent, resourceful people while not denigrating the men in the story. This time the murdered woman is the best friend of Laura, Nate's sister. Nate, a lawyer, is the gentleman friend of the boardingh Another excellent murder mystery from M Louisa Locke. I like the characters and the details define an earlier time in San Francisco. Everything seems to fit smoothly into the action and there are no jarring notes to make me wonder how believable the plot is. I enjoyed the depiction of women as intelligent, resourceful people while not denigrating the men in the story. This time the murdered woman is the best friend of Laura, Nate's sister. Nate, a lawyer, is the gentleman friend of the boardinghouse owner Annie, where Laura is currently staying while she teaches in San Francisco. The investigations reveal many potential suspects among the teaching and support staff of three of San Francisco's schools. Between them, Nate and Annie, with the help of Laura, and the young policeman Patrick, work with some teachers whose reputations are at stake, to solve the crime. I can't wait to read book 4 in the series, Deadly Proof.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    Another fabulous adventure with Annie Fuller. I love the depth of all the characters and how involved you get with all of them. It's like having an extended family. The mysteries are well thought out and the historical background of them makes them that much more interesting. I love watching history happen with the story and the news clippings at the beginning of each chapter. This book was back to cleaner language although still a few swear words, not as many as the last one. One paragraph of N Another fabulous adventure with Annie Fuller. I love the depth of all the characters and how involved you get with all of them. It's like having an extended family. The mysteries are well thought out and the historical background of them makes them that much more interesting. I love watching history happen with the story and the news clippings at the beginning of each chapter. This book was back to cleaner language although still a few swear words, not as many as the last one. One paragraph of Nate's erotic wandering thoughts was distracting from the story and overall not really fitting with the usual theme or style of the books. It's not erotic as such but simply more sensual than fits. I'm hoping this doesn't increase. Still in love with these books and have already started on the next one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linden

    Annie is a widow who owns a boarding house in 1880’s San Francisco. Her gentleman friend Nate’s sister Laura has just started a teaching job in San Francisco, and they learn that someone is sending anonymous letters impugning the reputation of some of the teachers. Then, when one of them dies under suspicious circumstances, Annie starts to investigate if there is some connection. Are the letters politically motivated, or is there another more sinister explanation? I liked the quotes from histori Annie is a widow who owns a boarding house in 1880’s San Francisco. Her gentleman friend Nate’s sister Laura has just started a teaching job in San Francisco, and they learn that someone is sending anonymous letters impugning the reputation of some of the teachers. Then, when one of them dies under suspicious circumstances, Annie starts to investigate if there is some connection. Are the letters politically motivated, or is there another more sinister explanation? I liked the quotes from historical San Francisco Chronicle articles at the beginning of each chapter, and the interesting characters in a credible historical context. Hoopla offers several of this series on audio; I look forward to listening to more by this author. Recommended for fans of historical mysteries, and ably narrated by Alexandra Haag.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Garrison

    By far my favorite The third in the Victorian San Francisco mysteries is by far my favorite. The past two books had one mystery to solve and were neatly ended in Agatha Christie style. This one had me guessing the entire time; was Hattie pushed, who’s following Laura, are Seth’s intentions honorable, who is sending nasty notes to San Francisco’s teachers, and what’s the deal with Barbara Hewitt? All of these questions and more are answered in ways I didn’t see coming (which I really appreciate). By far my favorite The third in the Victorian San Francisco mysteries is by far my favorite. The past two books had one mystery to solve and were neatly ended in Agatha Christie style. This one had me guessing the entire time; was Hattie pushed, who’s following Laura, are Seth’s intentions honorable, who is sending nasty notes to San Francisco’s teachers, and what’s the deal with Barbara Hewitt? All of these questions and more are answered in ways I didn’t see coming (which I really appreciate). Like previous books, Locke takes actual events from San Francisco’s Victorian past and flushes out a great story. The characters and their arcs are well developed, and she outdid herself with the plot of this book. This book also shows her growth as a writer. A great read for poolside or fireside, depending on when you read it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    The third in the Victorian San Francisco mysteries is by far my favorite. The past two books had one mystery to solve and were neatly ended in Agatha Christie style. This one had me guessing the entire time; was Hattie pushed, who’s following Laura, are Seth’s intentions honorable, who is sending nasty notes to San Francisco’s teachers, and what’s the deal with Barbara Hewitt? All of these questions and more are answered in ways I didn’t see coming (which I really appreciate). Like previous books The third in the Victorian San Francisco mysteries is by far my favorite. The past two books had one mystery to solve and were neatly ended in Agatha Christie style. This one had me guessing the entire time; was Hattie pushed, who’s following Laura, are Seth’s intentions honorable, who is sending nasty notes to San Francisco’s teachers, and what’s the deal with Barbara Hewitt? All of these questions and more are answered in ways I didn’t see coming (which I really appreciate). Like previous books, Locke takes actual events from San Francisco’s Victorian past and flushes out a great story. The characters and their arcs are well developed, and she outdid herself with the plot of this book. This book also shows her growth as a writer. A great read for poolside or fireside, depending on when you read it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Juliana Veale

    I was pleasantly surprised when I read the book. I am a fan of historical mysteries, but I hadn't read a lot of Victorian mysteries based in USA. The author brings to life the life of a low-to-middle income professional during 1880s San Francisco. The book follows POVs of several characters, Nate Dawson and Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson's sister, Laura freshly new from college. It's with Laura that the mystery originates and the reader delves into the life of a school teacher of that era. Of cour I was pleasantly surprised when I read the book. I am a fan of historical mysteries, but I hadn't read a lot of Victorian mysteries based in USA. The author brings to life the life of a low-to-middle income professional during 1880s San Francisco. The book follows POVs of several characters, Nate Dawson and Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson's sister, Laura freshly new from college. It's with Laura that the mystery originates and the reader delves into the life of a school teacher of that era. Of course, the mystery evolves, encompassing not only those who teach at Laura's school, but even some people from Annie Fuller's boarding house. It's an interesting story and I really enjoyed the extracts from the newspaper preceding each chapter to give the novel more authenticity. Both Annie and Nate are maturing in their relationship to each other, but I think it takes Laura a while before she becomes a fully fleshed out person that can be sympathetic. I think the pace is somewhat uneven, very slow in the beginning, only picking up speed towards the end. Still, it's a good book for a cozy mystery set in a time where the term 'petticoat' was not something the wedding planner introduces to you.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    This is the third in the series and finds Annie investigating very close to home as some of her own boarders become the target of a mysterious threat, including Laura, Nate's sister. It starts with what appears to be a case of mistaken identity but things quickly become deadly as Laura's life long friend is found injured and dying at the bottom of the stairs to her apartment. Annie is drawn in along side Nate as each follows their own leads and goes where the other can't, pulling together the mu This is the third in the series and finds Annie investigating very close to home as some of her own boarders become the target of a mysterious threat, including Laura, Nate's sister. It starts with what appears to be a case of mistaken identity but things quickly become deadly as Laura's life long friend is found injured and dying at the bottom of the stairs to her apartment. Annie is drawn in along side Nate as each follows their own leads and goes where the other can't, pulling together the multiple strands of the story in the final chapters, with plenty of twists and red herrings on the way. I do love how both Annie and Laura keep Nate in his place and maintain their independence despite the turns of events, and the story itself is as intriguing as ever. A great series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pontiki

    Although I liked this story, it was a bit convoluted at times. I was confused for awhile about who exactly Seth Timmons was, and how he figured into things. Laura, Nate's sister, was at times strong and smart, but also very weepy about losing her friend, Hattie. If this was a different genre, I'd assume she and Hattie were lovers, which would make a lot more sense of her reaction. I can forgive it because she faced some tough situations along the way. As always, Annie is intelligent, capable, an Although I liked this story, it was a bit convoluted at times. I was confused for awhile about who exactly Seth Timmons was, and how he figured into things. Laura, Nate's sister, was at times strong and smart, but also very weepy about losing her friend, Hattie. If this was a different genre, I'd assume she and Hattie were lovers, which would make a lot more sense of her reaction. I can forgive it because she faced some tough situations along the way. As always, Annie is intelligent, capable, and a thinker, pondering her own worries about being able to have children with Nate and wondering if she's pushed him too far away. Great series, starting the next book now.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Argum

    I read this out of order so knew some of the outcomes vaguely and other ruled out possibilities because of relations in next entry, but still enjoyable. Laura Dawson has moved into the boarding house and taking up teaching post from her old school friend. She is accosted in the alley. Her brother is working on a case of nasty notes and aspersions against board members and teachers. Then her school friend has a bad fall and dies in hospital. Are all these connected and what is really going on? In I read this out of order so knew some of the outcomes vaguely and other ruled out possibilities because of relations in next entry, but still enjoyable. Laura Dawson has moved into the boarding house and taking up teaching post from her old school friend. She is accosted in the alley. Her brother is working on a case of nasty notes and aspersions against board members and teachers. Then her school friend has a bad fall and dies in hospital. Are all these connected and what is really going on? Interesting look at teaching conditions in 1880 San Francisco and nice to see how Laura and Annie became so close.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Still continuing with this series. This one involves teachers in Victorian San Francisco, which was quite interesting. Nate's sister Laura comes to stay with Annie, after a traumatic time teaching in a rural school. Laura is devastated because her friend is getting married instead of continuing with the plans that she and Laura had made while in school. Then the friend dies, in suspicious circumstances, and of course Annie has to help investigate. Poison pen notes being sent to teachers complica Still continuing with this series. This one involves teachers in Victorian San Francisco, which was quite interesting. Nate's sister Laura comes to stay with Annie, after a traumatic time teaching in a rural school. Laura is devastated because her friend is getting married instead of continuing with the plans that she and Laura had made while in school. Then the friend dies, in suspicious circumstances, and of course Annie has to help investigate. Poison pen notes being sent to teachers complicates the case and another member of the boarding house family also gets involved. I thought this one was the best one yet.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Moran

    Not my favorite This was the third in the series and in some ways it seemed as if it was a different story line. The first third of the book focused on new characters. As a matter of fact I went back to the description of the book because I thought it was a different series. The way the MC was presented in this story was different, almost an afterthought. I was more than half way through the story before the MC really became part of the story. I hope the remainder of the books in this series are Not my favorite This was the third in the series and in some ways it seemed as if it was a different story line. The first third of the book focused on new characters. As a matter of fact I went back to the description of the book because I thought it was a different series. The way the MC was presented in this story was different, almost an afterthought. I was more than half way through the story before the MC really became part of the story. I hope the remainder of the books in this series aren’t handled the same way. The mystery was easily solved and I’m so so about the book. Not my favorite feeling after investing money and time.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Zain

    Very Enjoyable! I really enjoy historical books. Even when they contain a touch of romance. Louisa Locke uses the the 1879 scandal of the San Francisco school board as the background for her mystery. Annie Fuller is surprisingly invited by her beloved Nate Dawson, to go undercover to investigate, when teachers and principals are sent anonymous, hateful letters. Working as a substitute math teacher, she unfortunately risks her life to expose the miscreant. Lots of background on the San Francisco nei Very Enjoyable! I really enjoy historical books. Even when they contain a touch of romance. Louisa Locke uses the the 1879 scandal of the San Francisco school board as the background for her mystery. Annie Fuller is surprisingly invited by her beloved Nate Dawson, to go undercover to investigate, when teachers and principals are sent anonymous, hateful letters. Working as a substitute math teacher, she unfortunately risks her life to expose the miscreant. Lots of background on the San Francisco neighborhoods, lots of interesting information about the workings of the city public school system and lots of inclusive information from the additional characters. Another A+

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Hetzel

    Delightful stating in San Francisco in the 1880s and each chapter began with a quote from the SF Chronicle, the newspaper then and now that served the city. Since I Lived in SF for 48 years, the streets were familiar to me but not the buildings and how they were used. The plot was full of appealing characters and the mystery involving threatening letters about teachers most intriguing. Very well written and characters well developed, particularly the inhabitants and servants in a boarding house. Delightful stating in San Francisco in the 1880s and each chapter began with a quote from the SF Chronicle, the newspaper then and now that served the city. Since I Lived in SF for 48 years, the streets were familiar to me but not the buildings and how they were used. The plot was full of appealing characters and the mystery involving threatening letters about teachers most intriguing. Very well written and characters well developed, particularly the inhabitants and servants in a boarding house. The 1880s were recreates in the pages

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