Review: A Dangerous Business

A Dangerous Business
A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve always enjoyed Jane Smiley’s writing and “A Dangerous Business” is no exception. This is the story of Eliza Ripple who lost her husband in a fight and now has to learn how to make it on her own in 1851 California. She works at a brothel and when women in the town start getting murdered, she and her friend, Jean, decide to solve the mystery of who’s hurting the women.

The characters in this story are all three dimensional and Eliza is a funny and there are a lot of interesting bits about working at a brothel, being a woman in California at the time, the gold rush, the beginnings of Civil War talks and slavery and even women who work at brothels for women.

I enjoyed the writing and this unusual story. I felt like the ending was more abrupt than I thought it would be but, for me, the mystery was secondary to this character-driven story.

with gratitude to netgalley and Knopf for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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