Wednesday 30 August 2023

Evil in Emerald

Finished August 28
Evil in Emerald by A.M. Stuart

This is the third book in an historical mystery series and is set in Singapore in 1910. Harriet Gordon is a widow living with her brother, a minister and headmaster of a boy's school, and their ward Will, a schoolboy. She helps with the paperwork at the school, and brings in extra income by typing up reports and other documents for the local police. 
Her tennis partner has convinced her to join the Singapore Amateur Dramatic and Music Society (SADAMS) for their upcoming production The Pirates of Penzance. Also in SADAMS are a journalist, Griff Maddocks; a friend and doctor's wife, Louise Mackenzie; a local police constable, Ernest Greaves ; a woman who is rumoured to have been on stage in London, Alicia Sewell; and an insurance broker, Tony Dowling. The director of the society is Charles Lovett, a lawyer, whose wife Elspeth organizes most of the supporting functions, such as costumes, and whose daughter Eunice, helps out wherever needed.
When a body is found badly burned in a fire on SADAM's premises, Harriet becomes involved as both an assistant to the police, and as someone with knowledge of the victim. Her boss, Inspector Robert Curran is in charge of the case, and has made some enemies of some of the colonial planters, one of whom has a definite grudge against him. As Curran investigates, the case takes him to other cast members of SADAMS, as well as to a local planter and another businessman. 
But Curran is also finding that his personal life has him distracted. His long-time partner Li An, a woman from a powerful Kuala Lumpur family is being drawn back into that family; and someone who brings news of his own family in need of assistance appears on his doorstep. 
This is a novel with a lot going on with both Harriet and Curran, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down until I finished it. 
Definitely a series with promise! 

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