Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Entertainment
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Review: 'City of Ghosts' is intriguing novel set in pre-WWII San Francisco

"City of Ghosts" (Minotaur), by Kelli Stanley

A love of San Francisco — its flaws, strengths and eccentricities — permeates Kelli Stanley's intriguing novels about private detective Miranda Corbie. Stanley's novels capture San Francisco — and the United States — in the years just before World War II.

War has been on Miranda's mind since she was a nurse in the Spanish Civil War. In "City of Ghosts," set during 1940, Miranda cautiously watches what's happening in London, especially when it appears that her long-lost mother may be living in England. The private detective has little hope that she could bring her mother back to the United States until James MacLeod, an agent with the State Department, enlists her help. He wants her to investigate Huntington Jasper, a chemistry professor suspected of being a spy for the Nazis. The U.S. won't acknowledge Miranda's assignment if she's caught, but the job comes with hefty pay and a ticket to England.

Miranda's case leads her to dealers specializing in artworks stolen by the Nazis from their Jewish owners. Complications arise when Miranda is implicated in a series of murders, including that of a wealthy client and an acquaintance.

Stanley keeps the novel on a brisk course as Miranda confronts her own city of ghosts, including a dysfunctional childhood, her stint as a prostitute for one of San Francisco's top madams and the people whose deaths still haunt her. Fiercely independent during a time when that wasn't in fashion, Miranda continues to be a true survivor.

Stanley's affection for San Francisco establishes a strong sense of place and time in "City of Ghosts." It is, Miranda muses, "A city made by dreamers who died paupers and paupers who lived like kings, dreams keeping them alive in the only way that mattered."

The author's clear-eyed view of San Francisco and of Miranda's character adds to the strength of the novel's engrossing historical fiction.

___

Online:

http://kellistanley.com/books/miranda-corbie/city-of-ghosts/

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Election 2014
Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media