Back in the fall I was contacted by my friends at Prometheus Books to see if I’d like to read and review THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC. The book sounded great, but it soon disappeared into the piles of things I had around during the holidays, only to be rediscovered recently. What a treasure! I loved this laugh-out-loud funny book about intrepid socialite Anna Blanc and her foray into the dark world of detective work in Los Angeles in turn of the century California.
Here’s how they describe the novel on Edelweiss:
It’s 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels—but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals.
Determined to break free of the era’s rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.
If the police find out, she’ll get fired; if her father finds out, he’ll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he’ll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father’s collapsing bank. Midway into her investigation, the police chief’s son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity. And shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail.
Anna must choose—either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.
Story Locale: 1907 Los Angeles
Series Overview: Los Angeles police matron Anna Blanc bucks society’s mores to solve crime in the early 1900s.
I would LOVE if this became a series! What a fun and well-written read, but it also had a lot to think and talk about in terms of women’s changing roles in society. Poor Anna fought against all the mores holding her in firmly in place, though I particularly liked the horrid chaperone who was supposed to accompany her everywhere.
I also am not aware of too many cozies set in turn of the century LA. Between the historical mystery, the humor, and a little romance, I give this one top marks!
Thank you so much for my review copy!
This book is available at bookstores near you and online (and of course – check your library!).