Author: Frances McNamara
Paperback: 226 pages (also available in e-books)
Publisher: Allium Press of Chicago (August 6, 2014)
In the summer of 1896, amateur sleuth Emily Cabot meets two young Chinese women who have recently received medical degrees. She is inspired to make an important decision about her own life when she learns about the difficult choices they have made in order to pursue their careers. When one of the women is accused of poisoning a Chinese herbalist, Emily once again finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation. But, before the case can be solved, she must first settle a serious quarrel with her husband, help quell a political uprising, and overcome threats against her family. Timeless issues, such as restrictions on immigration, the conflict between Western and Eastern medicine, and women’s struggle to balance family and work, are woven seamlessly throughout this riveting historical mystery. Rich with fascinating details of life in Chicago’s original Chinatown, this fifth book in the Emily Cabot Mysteries series will continue to delight history buffs and mystery lovers alike.
The Emily Cabot I met in Murder at Chinatown was a worried little person eager to stay home and care for children that were already perfectly cared for. But there were glimmers of the woman she was in the past that made me eager to read the earlier books in the Emily Cabot series for two reasons: 1) To meet the confident person who flew in the face of convention she once was and 2) To discover why she changed into this homebody that turns her back on all the things it seems she once fought for. Because it is obvious that Emily has had many life changing experiences in Books 1 through 5.
So yes, Emily is going through a tough time in Book Six of the series. But she’s living in a fascinating time and in her travels meets many unusual people (many based on historical figures of the time). The murder she becomes involved in is a confusing web of different people, different cultures and the lies they tell both to get along and to hide the truth about themselves form each other. It was the history woven into this book that held my interest. Not only did I learn about many “advances” both medical and cultural that I didn’t realize could trace their roots to the 1890s but also a peek at the life of women in the 1890s.