Hot Best Seller

Deadly Proof

Availability: Ready to download

It’s the summer of 1880, and once again the lovely and inquisitive businesswoman, Annie Fuller, is helping San Francisco lawyer and beau, Nate Dawson, with a troublesome case. Nate’s client, a female typesetter accused of murdering her boss, refuses to help in her own defense. Complicating matters, Nate’s sister Laura insists on getting involved in the potentially dangerou It’s the summer of 1880, and once again the lovely and inquisitive businesswoman, Annie Fuller, is helping San Francisco lawyer and beau, Nate Dawson, with a troublesome case. Nate’s client, a female typesetter accused of murdering her boss, refuses to help in her own defense. Complicating matters, Nate’s sister Laura insists on getting involved in the potentially dangerous investigation, while Laura’s friend Seth Timmons, troubled Civil War veteran, finds himself a witness for the prosecution. Will Nate be able to win his first big case? Will Laura and Seth find some way of becoming friends? And finally, will Annie and Nate’s upcoming nuptials be derailed by their attempts to track down a killer? Old friends and new readers alike will enjoy Deadly Proof, this fourth installment of the cozy Victorian San Francisco Mystery series that blends light romance, suspense, and a glimpse into the lives of late 19th century women who worked.


Compare

It’s the summer of 1880, and once again the lovely and inquisitive businesswoman, Annie Fuller, is helping San Francisco lawyer and beau, Nate Dawson, with a troublesome case. Nate’s client, a female typesetter accused of murdering her boss, refuses to help in her own defense. Complicating matters, Nate’s sister Laura insists on getting involved in the potentially dangerou It’s the summer of 1880, and once again the lovely and inquisitive businesswoman, Annie Fuller, is helping San Francisco lawyer and beau, Nate Dawson, with a troublesome case. Nate’s client, a female typesetter accused of murdering her boss, refuses to help in her own defense. Complicating matters, Nate’s sister Laura insists on getting involved in the potentially dangerous investigation, while Laura’s friend Seth Timmons, troubled Civil War veteran, finds himself a witness for the prosecution. Will Nate be able to win his first big case? Will Laura and Seth find some way of becoming friends? And finally, will Annie and Nate’s upcoming nuptials be derailed by their attempts to track down a killer? Old friends and new readers alike will enjoy Deadly Proof, this fourth installment of the cozy Victorian San Francisco Mystery series that blends light romance, suspense, and a glimpse into the lives of late 19th century women who worked.

30 review for Deadly Proof

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    This is an entertaining, warm, fun series. The characters and their relationships grow and deepen as the series continues. It's really more of a character study. The mysteries are so light. The murder theme seems secondary to the character development. Despite that, these are entertaining. As I read this book, I wondered about continuing the series. However, the story stopped where I think I can leave the characters to continue their lives without me peering into their pages. I'm happy where this This is an entertaining, warm, fun series. The characters and their relationships grow and deepen as the series continues. It's really more of a character study. The mysteries are so light. The murder theme seems secondary to the character development. Despite that, these are entertaining. As I read this book, I wondered about continuing the series. However, the story stopped where I think I can leave the characters to continue their lives without me peering into their pages. I'm happy where this book ended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dee Arr

    Set in San Francisco in 1880, “Deadly Proof” is a mixture of a legal tale tempered with the background of an earlier time in America. Author M. Louisa Locke deftly provides more than enough information to paint a solid world for her characters to walk around in. Not just another lawyer/mystery/crime story, Ms. Locke takes time to focus on the characters and the social expectations in the 1880s. Both Laura and Annie must confront the mores of that time and deal with the fallout when their persona Set in San Francisco in 1880, “Deadly Proof” is a mixture of a legal tale tempered with the background of an earlier time in America. Author M. Louisa Locke deftly provides more than enough information to paint a solid world for her characters to walk around in. Not just another lawyer/mystery/crime story, Ms. Locke takes time to focus on the characters and the social expectations in the 1880s. Both Laura and Annie must confront the mores of that time and deal with the fallout when their personal agendas clash with society’s rules. It should be noted that this is book four of a five book series. While the book stands alone (and there are plenty of references to inform readers of the ties between characters), I found these same references do not reveal too much about past books, thus giving readers a chance to go back and enjoy the earlier stories. I recommend that if you begin this book and like it, order the first three books and read the series in the proper order. The story itself is enjoyable. Ms. Locke’s research into the printing industry adds depth and color to the book. The novel centers around a woman (Florence) accused of murder, and Annie’s fiancé Nate is the lawyer hired to defend Florence. Annie and Nate’s sister Laura become involved in the case, potentially placing themselves in precarious situations. I found the story realistic, told without any of the fantastic plot devices that ruin other books. The author has mapped out the story well, and thus provides an entertaining read. Normally I would find it quite boring to plow through chapters that have nothing to do with the main plot (the mystery/crime story). However, Ms. Locke’s descriptions and intimate details interjected throughout the conversations allowed greater insight into the world of 1880. Thus, I could easily read about Annie’s upcoming marriage plans and the planned color and material for her wedding dress and not feel that I must speed read or skim until the story gets back to the “action.” This is the action, and I appreciated the information gleaned from these seemingly unimportant scenes. For those who like to know, the author’s writing is as prim and proper as some of her characters. Language and sex are left out of this tale, although the people, being human, do exhibit the sexual tension that exists in budding and mature relationships. I have to mention one more thing. This was the first time I had ever added the narration to a book, and I enjoyed it immensely. Narrator Alexandra Haag has set my personal benchmark for all subsequent narrators. She possessed perfect enunciation, and it was entertaining to listen to her slip from a southern accent to a lilting Irish while dropping down in pitch when speaking for one of the males. This helped to turn a 4-1/2 hour car ride into an enjoyable afternoon, enabling me to finish half the novel during that time. Even though this is my first book in this series, I plan to go back and read the previous three offerings. The writing is solid, but the characterizations and the background history are the five-star elements in this story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    R.P. Dahlke

    Another wonderful historical mystery! I loved the first three books in this series, and this one is just as exciting. I really enjoyed learning about the printing business in the 1880's--the author describes the sounds of the machines and I felt as if I were there. Then too, I had no idea that women could be typesetters, compositors, and even own their own printing businesses. The book builds up momentum with a strong plot and a great who-done it. Great read, wonderful light romance that fits th Another wonderful historical mystery! I loved the first three books in this series, and this one is just as exciting. I really enjoyed learning about the printing business in the 1880's--the author describes the sounds of the machines and I felt as if I were there. Then too, I had no idea that women could be typesetters, compositors, and even own their own printing businesses. The book builds up momentum with a strong plot and a great who-done it. Great read, wonderful light romance that fits the period.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Loved all the passages going into the details of the printing process - I've learned a lot about 18th-century printing from my place of employment, so it was fun to spot some of the differences, but also the great many similarities!

  5. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    July 4, 1880 Annie and Nate are finally engaged and looking forward to a quiet wedding in August with their friends and Nate's family in attendance. Nate's involvement in wedding planning is put on hold when he is asked by the head of the Women's Cooperative Printing Union to defend a female compositor , Florence Sullivan, accused of killing her boss, Joshua Rashers. Mrs. Sullivan won't speak to Nate and he's having a devil of a time trying to prove her innocence and keep the story from becoming July 4, 1880 Annie and Nate are finally engaged and looking forward to a quiet wedding in August with their friends and Nate's family in attendance. Nate's involvement in wedding planning is put on hold when he is asked by the head of the Women's Cooperative Printing Union to defend a female compositor , Florence Sullivan, accused of killing her boss, Joshua Rashers. Mrs. Sullivan won't speak to Nate and he's having a devil of a time trying to prove her innocence and keep the story from becoming a media sensation. Annie seems to have more luck drawing the woman out but the more they hear, the more it seems Florence is guilty to the police. Can Nate wrap up the case before his wedding day? He's determined to see justice done for his client. Rashers printing is one of the top firms in San Francisco and Seth Timmons is happy to have a job there for the summer while he studies for his college entrance exams. A veteran of the Civil War, a cattle rancher, a teacher and now a printer, Seth has been around long enough not to get involved in anything that doesn't concern him and that include's Nate's sister Laura, a fellow Normal School graduate. The two became friendly last spring but now Laura is focused on a law career, she's out of his reach. Plus he's too old and damaged for her, but when she hears about the murder at Seth's place of employment, Laura can't resist helping Nate and Annie investigate bringing her into close contact with Seth. Oh my word this book is LONG! I stayed up until 2 am skimming just to reach the conclusion of the mystery. The story is filled with way too many complicated details about the printing process in the age of steam and movable type. Thank heavens for computers! As much as I love history, I found this subject incredibly dry and it took too much away from the plot. What is more interesting to me is the women's rights angle, referencing a murder from a decade. A woman was tried for killing her lover when he returned to his wife and family. It became the trial of the century in San Francisco and the WCPU doesn't want this current case to become all about the debate over free love and become a media circus. This is why Nate is chosen to represent Mrs. Sullivan because he is new to the profession and not known to the media yet. See, all this was summarized in one paragraph but in the novel it takes CHAPTERS and CHAPTERS. There's only ONE suspect for the murder and the police seem stuck on the motive of revenge of a woman scorned. Why? Why wouldn't the police look for other suspects? No one comes forward to suggest Florence was having an affair aside from Mrs. Rashers. Why not suspect her? There was one character I strongly suspected was the murderer but I was completely wrong. I never guessed who the murderer was or why they did it. The characters in this novel are fairly bland. Annie is kind and intelligent. She is moving away from her ruse as a psychic to giving financial advice as herself. I relate to her wanting a private, intimate wedding with Nate and her longing to just be alone with him and share an intimate moment at the end of a long day. Nate is a male version of a Mary Sue now. He's lost his edge and cockiness. Like Annie, he is kind and sweet. I don't think he's as clever as Annie. She observes people and notices things and is a good judge of character. Laura is more realistic than Annie. She has a temper and is determined to achieve her career goals no matter what. Her romantic plot is more of a slow burn than Annie and Nate's. Seth is the most nuanced and realistic character. He a wounded veteran of the Civil War (he was way too young to join up but I know younger men did) and suffers from what we now identify as PTSD. He can't relate to Laura and her friends easily. Seth keeps himself to himself and socializes with his young apprentice at lunch. He tries to keep at eye on the lad and help the boy out but isn't interested in meaningful friendships with anyone at work. Seth tries to deny his growing relationship with Laura. I didn't care for the usual jealousy plot and the result was REALLY stupid and dangerous but advanced the mystery plot. The boardinghouse is like a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business. I really could not stand that. While the Misses Moffet may make incredible dresses, may be kind ladies, they're also nosy and keep popping in on Annie and Nate's alone time. The silent sister is more to my liking. Mrs. Pitts Stevens is the woman who hires Nate to defend her friend. She's a strong woman who wants to protect her own gender from negative stereotypes. I love that she is a career woman, a women's rights advocate and a free love advocate! (That means women should be allowed to love freely as men do and not be subjected to double standards in dating etiquette, women should be free to choose their own partners whenever and however they wish). Iris Bailor, a 40-year-old compositor can work as well as any man in the printing profession. She looks out for the young apprentices like a mother hen but has more of a cynical, harder edge to her than a motherly type. I admire her for becoming a forewoman. I didn't know women held such jobs in San Francisco in the 1870s and 80s. Mrs. Richmond, owner of the firm, rarely makes an appearance in the novel but she seems to have a strong interest in the firm she owns. She seems fair and it's wonderful to see a female owned business in 1880. However, she is married to a much younger man and has a son around the age of her husband. Could either one of them have something to do with the murder of a rival? Iris's friend, Nellie Granger, may be one of the murder suspects. She not only owns her own firm, she may or may not have become ensnared by Joshua Rashers's famous charm. I hate to speak negatively of female characters but Miss Orrie Childers is an annoying young woman. She's the office gossip and never misses an opportunity to twist a situation to get what she wants. Yet, I feel compassion for her because she didn't have much of an upbringing and was never taught right from wrong. However, I feel less compassionate towards her because she doesn't WANT to learn. As an adult she should want to learn how to get along in society in a more moral way. She expects to get a better job once Florence is officially convicted of murder but Orrie seems too lazy to actually learn to do what Florence does. District Attorney Anthony Dart is a real hard nosed DA and a misogynist. Typical of men at the time, he seems to believe women are the weaker sex and get hysterical when they can't have their own way. I really hated him! Joshua Rasher was a ruthless businessman and a cad. He was not an admirable or likable man and I'm not sorry he's dead but he didn't deserve to be murdered.For such a rotten man who undercut all competition and paid his apprentices peanuts, he sure inspired a lot of loyalty. His longtime foreman, Franklin Griggs, is hoping to take over the management of the company some day soon. He knows all the ins and outs of the business. Griggs is a bit grouchy and drinks too much but he can also be charming. He must be taking pointers from his boss. Catherine Rashers is an odd woman. On one hand she's an intelligent, shrewd business woman despite her husband's attempts to keep her out of his business. She also knows how to play up her feminine wiles and use them to trick men into thinking she's doll-like. Could she be a killer? Absolutely. Mr. Sullivan, Florence's husband, may be the chief suspect besides Florence herself. He was patient with her until now. He's been good with her mother but something made him lose his temper. Did he snap? This book is a slog to get through because of all the history. The mystery is interesting and has a lot of unexpected twists. I wouldn't pay too much for this and be sure to set aside a lot of time to read it. If I had realized how slow it was going to be I would have held on to it until winter when I have more time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    This novel centers on the printing industry of the time. There is a murder in one of the print shops, and the women who found the body is accused of murdering her employer. Nate is retained as her attorney, but she doesn't want to talk. Is she protecting someone? Could one of the deceased business rivals be culpable, or even his not-so-grieving wife? As the trial interferes with Nate and Annie's wedding plans, when can they finally marry? This series is captivating--it transported me to 1880 Sa This novel centers on the printing industry of the time. There is a murder in one of the print shops, and the women who found the body is accused of murdering her employer. Nate is retained as her attorney, but she doesn't want to talk. Is she protecting someone? Could one of the deceased business rivals be culpable, or even his not-so-grieving wife? As the trial interferes with Nate and Annie's wedding plans, when can they finally marry? This series is captivating--it transported me to 1880 San Francisco, with its descriptions of horse carts, fashions, and familiar locations in the city, and quotes from the newspapers of the time at the beginning of each chapter. I enjoyed listening to this audio book, with sympathetic characters, an engaging plot, and excellent historical research.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Glen Stott

    As a murder mystery, this was pretty good; lots of clues, viable suspects, and realistic motives. Woven into the plot is an entertaining, and informative milieu depicting life in San Francisco in the 1880’s. The story happens completely in San Francisco, so there are only occasional references to gun slingers, cowboys, and Indians that you might expect in a novel of that period. What is more evident are the barriers put on women and relationships in that Victorian era. Locke also provides a well As a murder mystery, this was pretty good; lots of clues, viable suspects, and realistic motives. Woven into the plot is an entertaining, and informative milieu depicting life in San Francisco in the 1880’s. The story happens completely in San Francisco, so there are only occasional references to gun slingers, cowboys, and Indians that you might expect in a novel of that period. What is more evident are the barriers put on women and relationships in that Victorian era. Locke also provides a well-researched and described look at the printing business of the time. This is the fourth in a series featuring Annie Fuller and her friends. Annie is an accomplished accountant (difficult in that time), a psychic (Madam Sybil), and runs a boarding house. Her friend, Nate Dawson, is an attorney and want-to-be famous defense attorney. When a local printer, Mr. Rasher, is murdered in his office, Mrs. Sullivan, a typesetter in Rasher’s print shop, is accused and arrested. Nate takes the case. The plot moves very well, given that Locke has to convey a great deal about printing, conditions for women in the work place in the nineteenth century, San Francisco, police work, etc. Rasher was a vicious businessman, growing his company by forcing competitors into bankruptcy. He also was a cad, using is power to overcome young women. He had many enemies with clues pointing to each of them. The solution requires the combined efforts of several characters. I enjoyed the read. I wasn’t surprised when the killer was revealed, however, there were several other options that would not have surprised me either. The characters are interesting and well developed. Though this is the 4th in the series, I haven’t read any of the others. I have a lot of books lined up to read now, so I don’t know if I will get to the others.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nola Arganbright

    Kept me guessing A very thought provoking mystery. Set in San Francisco in the 1880's the book reflects the times and seems to stay historically correct. Great characters and a very strong plot!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cora Lee

    3 and a half stars The story was well done, as I've come to expect from this series, and it's always fun visiting Nate and Annie, but the typos have become distracting.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Another in the series. I thought this one dragged a bit compared to the first three, but still enjoyable.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mac Daly

    When a San Francisco printing shop owner is found murdered with an employee standing over his body with blood on her hands, it seems like an easy case. But, this is a mystery novel, so of course, it is not. Annie and her attorney fiance, Nate are determined to prove the woman innocent, but they are hampered by the evidence and their client's refusal to talk. The mystery is complex enough to keep you guessing, the characters are colorful and it is fun reading about familiar locations as they were When a San Francisco printing shop owner is found murdered with an employee standing over his body with blood on her hands, it seems like an easy case. But, this is a mystery novel, so of course, it is not. Annie and her attorney fiance, Nate are determined to prove the woman innocent, but they are hampered by the evidence and their client's refusal to talk. The mystery is complex enough to keep you guessing, the characters are colorful and it is fun reading about familiar locations as they were over 100 years ago. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sabina

    I seemed to have read this book out of order in the series, but it was written in such a mannor that I felt I wasn't missing anything about charactor devlp. I really enjoy victorian set novals and this was well written! I especially enjoyed the mystery aspect and the author created decent communciation between characters to keep it interesting. I will definately be reading more of her books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Fourth in the delightful series of murder mysteries set in Victorian San Francisco. Our intrepid heroine, Annie Fuller, is finally moving into a more solid role as a female financial adviser and accountant while her fiance, Nate, is doing his first solo court case defending a woman accused of murder who certainly looks guilty, but who won't help defend herself or talk about what happened. Lots of strong female characters in these novels, which I like. And the way everyone is so polite and circum Fourth in the delightful series of murder mysteries set in Victorian San Francisco. Our intrepid heroine, Annie Fuller, is finally moving into a more solid role as a female financial adviser and accountant while her fiance, Nate, is doing his first solo court case defending a woman accused of murder who certainly looks guilty, but who won't help defend herself or talk about what happened. Lots of strong female characters in these novels, which I like. And the way everyone is so polite and circumspect is such a nice change from all the f'ing of novels in modern settings. This is a curl-up-with-a-cup-of-hot-chocolate-on-a-cold-winter-evening kind of reading.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bobbi

    I didn’t like the storyline in this book quite as much as the other books, however I did love the character development of the main characters and that alone was worth the read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carlin

    Another great book from Louisa Locke, a retired professor of US history and women's studies. After reading another mystery with no plot, terrible grammar and no real editing, it was such a pleasure reading Deadly Proof. I know when I read one of her books that not only will I be entertained, but will also learn something more about women's lives in 19th century San Francisco with literate writing and almost perfect editing! This story revolves around the printing business with fascinating descri Another great book from Louisa Locke, a retired professor of US history and women's studies. After reading another mystery with no plot, terrible grammar and no real editing, it was such a pleasure reading Deadly Proof. I know when I read one of her books that not only will I be entertained, but will also learn something more about women's lives in 19th century San Francisco with literate writing and almost perfect editing! This story revolves around the printing business with fascinating descriptions of what goes into setting the proofs for every page of a newspaper, book, broadside and wedding invitation. This apparently was a job that women were allowed to do. The characters of Annie Fuller and her fiancé Nate's sister Laura Dawson are perfect examples of women building lives without being controlled by men. Laura is working as a typesetter and studying for entrance exams to college and, eventually, law school. Annie has made a living running a boarding house and using her strong financial acumen to dispense financial advice under the guise of a clairvoyant, Madam Sybyl. In this, the 4th installment in the San Francisco mystery series, Nate has been retained to represent a woman charged with murdering the owner of a print shop. While red herrings abound the protagonists uncover the murderer while Nate and Annie plan their wedding. I read the first three books over a year ago so I was very happy to get this one free from Amazon via BookBub. I hope #5 will be forthcoming much sooner!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I feel about this installment of this series much as I did with the third: meh. The focus again deviates from Annie and Nate, who are definitely the more interesting characters, even though they still seem to be incapable of communicating appropriately with each other. Now that they're engaged to be married, one would think they'd gotten beyond that! Laura also suffers from the same problems she did in the previous book, suggesting she's incapable of change. I find her to be more annoying than a I feel about this installment of this series much as I did with the third: meh. The focus again deviates from Annie and Nate, who are definitely the more interesting characters, even though they still seem to be incapable of communicating appropriately with each other. Now that they're engaged to be married, one would think they'd gotten beyond that! Laura also suffers from the same problems she did in the previous book, suggesting she's incapable of change. I find her to be more annoying than anything else. And again, the mystery was fairly easy to solve and had no sense of urgency whatsoever. It just meanders around until someone comes up with the obvious answer. I enjoyed the first two books of this series, and I'm sorry to see that it's not living up to that great start. Also, the editing here was very lax. There are numerous and obvious grammar errors throughout the book, something I would expect of a final draft but not a completed manuscript.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Summer 1880, and lawyer and friend of Annie Fuller, Nate Dawson has his first case as lead in a defence trial - a female typesetter - Mrs. Florence Sullivan - is accused of killing the male owner. What possible motive could she have, is she protecting someone. Annie and her friends investigate.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    Listened to this book using Audible. Liked it because some of the characters attended San Jose Normal, which is now San Jose State University, my alma mater. Learned a lot about Victorian San Francisco. Just thought the writing was a little awkward.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chi Dubinski

    Nate Dawson, an attorney, is engaged to a widow, Annie Fuller, who owns a boarding house and moonlights part-time as a psychic, Madam Sybil. The Madam dispenses financial advice, which she gleans from reading the financial papers, and she is also a skilled bookkeeper. When Joshua Rashers, owner of a printing company, is found dead in his office, his body is discovered by his employee, Mrs. Florence Sullivan. Rashers’ widow, Catherine, accuses Mrs. Sullivan of having designs on her husband, and k Nate Dawson, an attorney, is engaged to a widow, Annie Fuller, who owns a boarding house and moonlights part-time as a psychic, Madam Sybil. The Madam dispenses financial advice, which she gleans from reading the financial papers, and she is also a skilled bookkeeper. When Joshua Rashers, owner of a printing company, is found dead in his office, his body is discovered by his employee, Mrs. Florence Sullivan. Rashers’ widow, Catherine, accuses Mrs. Sullivan of having designs on her husband, and killing him in a rage of passion because she was going to be fired . Nate Dawson is hired to defend her, but Mrs. Sullivan will not say a word in her defense. She even refuses to see her husband or her ailing mother. Dawson’s sister Laura is a typesetter, and helps him to investigate the crime. Police aren’t looking beyond Mrs. Sullivan for a culprit. Franklin Griggs, the print shop foreman, says that Florence was a valued employee and would never have been fired. The victim, who had an eye for the ladies and exploited his young female apprentices, also undercut competitors, and was complicit in driving other printing companies out of business. Orrie Childers, an attractive young employee, is spreading gossip about the suspects. During the investigation, Laura crosses paths with Seth Timmons, a man she had met before. They had both been teachers, but had taken jobs in the printing business to help make ends meet. They both hoped to attend the University of California, but will the investigation interfere with their plans to study for the entrance exams? Annie is finding it impossible to plan a wedding amid Nate’s long hours on the case, and not knowing whether their families can travel to attend. An absolutely enjoyable mystery. The details of life in 1880 San Francisco are woven into the story so that the reader is transported into another time and place. Women struggling to gain entrance to the printing trades, and battling with the shop owners and the unions, lend a rich background to this tale of murder.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Madelon

    As I start the fourth novel in this series, I find that as Annie Fuller grows as a person, develops as a character, the books are starting to take on a bit more of an edge. There is still an emphasis on decorum congruent with Victorian morals and customs, but there is less beating around the bush when talking about difficult subjects. Dr. Locke is exceptionally good at describing the San Francisco of the late 19th century, along with the fashions of the day. I have a fairly good mental image of As I start the fourth novel in this series, I find that as Annie Fuller grows as a person, develops as a character, the books are starting to take on a bit more of an edge. There is still an emphasis on decorum congruent with Victorian morals and customs, but there is less beating around the bush when talking about difficult subjects. Dr. Locke is exceptionally good at describing the San Francisco of the late 19th century, along with the fashions of the day. I have a fairly good mental image of what clothing looked like back then, but I do sometimes find myself wishing that the books had illustrations so I would know for sure how a polonaise differs from a long basque bodice. Perhaps one of the most telling lines in the book is "If you want the freedom to pursue a career, have friends of both sexes, determine your own fate, you can't let outmoded ideas of womanly behavior guide you." -- Iris Bailor to Laura Dawson. This sentiment, expressed in 1880, still holds merit today in 2018. The ongoing struggle of the Women's Movement started a long, long time ago, and the idea that women have come a long way still doesn't hold water. This is most especially true in the United States. Diehard feminists might have a problem with some of the underlying subject matter, but reading about how women were regarded then is important to make the point that nearly 140 years later women are still struggling for much the same things. M. Louisa Locke's Victorian San Francisco mysteries are a pleasure to read as they convey things about American history that may have gotten lost, or at the very least not been given their due.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Holly A. Woodruff

    And a Deadly Proof it was... This is book 4 in the series, and I've grown quite fond of Annie Fuller, her boarding house residents, her beau Hate Dawson, and his sister Laura, who figured prominently in book 3. Annie is not as present in this volume. The sleuthing is spread among several of the characters. There is murder, of course, and a mystery to solve, although not a complicated mystery. The joy in this series is getting to know the characters and learning about life in San Francisco in Vict And a Deadly Proof it was... This is book 4 in the series, and I've grown quite fond of Annie Fuller, her boarding house residents, her beau Hate Dawson, and his sister Laura, who figured prominently in book 3. Annie is not as present in this volume. The sleuthing is spread among several of the characters. There is murder, of course, and a mystery to solve, although not a complicated mystery. The joy in this series is getting to know the characters and learning about life in San Francisco in Victorian times. This book gives the reader a lot of background on the printing business in those times, but not so much that you get tired of learning. This series can be considered cozy mysteries. There is no bad language, no sex but a little romance, mild violence but not dwelled on, and delightful characters involved in the mystery. I've read the first 4 books now, and what's nice is that each book can stand alone. While reading the books in order lets you know more of the background of the characters, you could read this book and be satisfied. There is enough backstory given to allow you to enjoy Deadly Proof all on its own. I will continue to read this series and I recommend it to anyone who likes cozy mysteries and historical mysteries, too.

  22. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Rallios

    This is more like 3.5 stars. The story is about 40% mystery and 60% romance, and I am a 80% mystery and 20% romance kind of reader. In other words, I'm not the ideal audience that the author is writing to. Having said that, the story itself has so many characters - names upon names fluttering about like butterflies, too swift to lay hold of - so that after a while I quit trying to remember who Kathleen is or Jaime or... etc. I just found myself reading to get through the story; not something an This is more like 3.5 stars. The story is about 40% mystery and 60% romance, and I am a 80% mystery and 20% romance kind of reader. In other words, I'm not the ideal audience that the author is writing to. Having said that, the story itself has so many characters - names upon names fluttering about like butterflies, too swift to lay hold of - so that after a while I quit trying to remember who Kathleen is or Jaime or... etc. I just found myself reading to get through the story; not something an author wants his/her reader to resort to. Part of the problem is that many of the characters were not developed enough to make them memorable. I love the local and historicity of the story (set in San Francisco during the Victorian era), and that's why I picked it up to read, but the minutiae of the printing business was a little boring, but I can do boring if only I can picture what was being described and something out of it. In this case, it went over my head, so once again I found myself just "reading to get through it." I wish that I didn't have to be so negative, because the mystery part was good, and the romance was well, pretty good - so says the 20% part of me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    While this was a bit of a slow burner, it was surprisingly gripping and tense and really sucks you in without you even realising it, more so as it has the feel of a cozy mystery as Locke draws on her knowledge of the era to create a realistic feel and sense of time and place. Pleasingly all of the characters have depth and are strong in their own various ways including the female characters who are more than the petticoats and flowers that many books set in this time portray, again this is thank While this was a bit of a slow burner, it was surprisingly gripping and tense and really sucks you in without you even realising it, more so as it has the feel of a cozy mystery as Locke draws on her knowledge of the era to create a realistic feel and sense of time and place. Pleasingly all of the characters have depth and are strong in their own various ways including the female characters who are more than the petticoats and flowers that many books set in this time portray, again this is thanks to Locke's knowledge of the time and the societal changes that were underway. The story itself is intriguing with a few twists but primarily follows the various clues and pieces of evidence as and when they appear, allowing the reader to follow the investigation and try to solve the case along side Nate, Annie and co. Best of all, it doesn't matter that you (I) haven't read any of the previous books as the necessary information is covered without losing the current story (although I'll certainly be going back to read the rest).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chazzi

    Nate, Annie Fuller’s fiancé, has asked her to help with a difficult case he is handling. His client is accused of murdering the owner of the printing company she works for, by the owner’s widow. The client refuses to help in any way of clearing herself of the charges. Nate’s sister is also working in the printing trade and decides to become involved in trying to solve the mystery. Her youth and brashness are traits that do not lend to the investigating. In the middle of this, Nate has finally prop Nate, Annie Fuller’s fiancé, has asked her to help with a difficult case he is handling. His client is accused of murdering the owner of the printing company she works for, by the owner’s widow. The client refuses to help in any way of clearing herself of the charges. Nate’s sister is also working in the printing trade and decides to become involved in trying to solve the mystery. Her youth and brashness are traits that do not lend to the investigating. In the middle of this, Nate has finally proposed to Annie and she has accepted. They have set a date, but it may be cancelled due to this case! It is interesting to read about women working in the printing industry at this time. It wasn’t easy or clean and they were still paid much less than men, but it was an income. Again I found myself immersed in the world of Annie Fuller and the Victorian era. Not an easy period for women. I think it is the character being a strong willed lady with the ability to pull in her horns, when necessary, to get to the heart of the matter. I am enjoying this series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Argum

    I skipped book two and three so I was a bit behind times, but not too badly. Some allusions were beyond me, but anything I needed to know was explained. I suspect other than knowing who comes out alive I haven't ruined the two missed books either. A printer is found dead in his office with his compositor leaving the office bloody. She is quickly denounced by the wife of the deceased and arrested. She says absolutely nothing even to her lawyer Nate Dawson. Laura is working at a different printer, I skipped book two and three so I was a bit behind times, but not too badly. Some allusions were beyond me, but anything I needed to know was explained. I suspect other than knowing who comes out alive I haven't ruined the two missed books either. A printer is found dead in his office with his compositor leaving the office bloody. She is quickly denounced by the wife of the deceased and arrested. She says absolutely nothing even to her lawyer Nate Dawson. Laura is working at a different printer, but takes an interest and helps out with her familiarity with the people and practices of the industry much to her brothers dismay. Annie also gets involved as an accountant for the firm of the deceased. Interesting look at women and printing industry. Also wedding plan dismay is ongoing. Fun historical cozy with a pretty good mystery plot to boot.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Friedland

    Of the series, this probably took me the longest to get through, and is probably my least favorite so far. That's not to say this book was bad, I did enjoy it. However, it was a bit slower than the first three, and focused a lot on the ins and outs of Nate's law procedures. I like Nate as a character, I just don't think his work is the most interesting thing that goes on in the story. But one thing that did help me was learning (separate from the book) about the business of printing in the Victo Of the series, this probably took me the longest to get through, and is probably my least favorite so far. That's not to say this book was bad, I did enjoy it. However, it was a bit slower than the first three, and focused a lot on the ins and outs of Nate's law procedures. I like Nate as a character, I just don't think his work is the most interesting thing that goes on in the story. But one thing that did help me was learning (separate from the book) about the business of printing in the Victorian Era. I did like that the book took a closer look at Laura and Seth's relationship, especially as Nate and Annie are finally tying the knot, even though they had to go through a lot even after their engagement. Without a doubt the best thing about this was the relationships between all the characters. I don't know if I'll be rereading, but I am glad I read the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Book four was just as good as book one. It had all of the elements of a cozy mystery that I love. Nothing too graphic and not too safe. So this book gives Nate his first big case, and if I had any complaints it would be the lack of Annie in this book, but the story is so well built that you hardly notice. I also really love Seth and Laura. I want a book about them. I really wanted to know that they would end up together, but I guess I can assume that. I really couldn't decide who the murderer was t Book four was just as good as book one. It had all of the elements of a cozy mystery that I love. Nothing too graphic and not too safe. So this book gives Nate his first big case, and if I had any complaints it would be the lack of Annie in this book, but the story is so well built that you hardly notice. I also really love Seth and Laura. I want a book about them. I really wanted to know that they would end up together, but I guess I can assume that. I really couldn't decide who the murderer was through most of the book. Seth said it had to be a man, and of all the characters I trust him the most, so I knew it was a man. That made it easier to guess. The ending was perfect. Exactly how it should have gone for a couple who are treading the waters of a changing time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This one was pretty interesting! Annie's boyfriend's sister Laura gets a larger role in this book. When the owner of a printing company is killed and his chief compositor (sp?) is blamed based on his wife's accusations, Nate takes on her defense - but she refuses to talk to anyone. Annie is now doing her financial advice as herself, not as Madame Sybil, looking forward to a marriage with Nate. She helps Nate as he is groping for answers and a defense strategy, while Laura is coping with her attr This one was pretty interesting! Annie's boyfriend's sister Laura gets a larger role in this book. When the owner of a printing company is killed and his chief compositor (sp?) is blamed based on his wife's accusations, Nate takes on her defense - but she refuses to talk to anyone. Annie is now doing her financial advice as herself, not as Madame Sybil, looking forward to a marriage with Nate. She helps Nate as he is groping for answers and a defense strategy, while Laura is coping with her attraction to Seth (who also happens to work at the murdered man's print shop.), as well as trying to prepare for university entrance exams. Things get a little convoluted with all the different subplots going on, but all is ironed out in the end.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Belle

    I thought I was going to give up on the series after the first novel - it wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, I just wasn't in love with Annie and Nate as protagonists. Then I read the third book with a heavier focus on Laura and Seth and was sold. This instalment was even better than the last. Somehow along the way Annie and Nate have becoming likeable and the setting and side characters are charming. The mystery is paced perfectly and the developing relationships are so well-written. I can't remember I thought I was going to give up on the series after the first novel - it wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, I just wasn't in love with Annie and Nate as protagonists. Then I read the third book with a heavier focus on Laura and Seth and was sold. This instalment was even better than the last. Somehow along the way Annie and Nate have becoming likeable and the setting and side characters are charming. The mystery is paced perfectly and the developing relationships are so well-written. I can't remember the last book I rated 5 stars. Really glad I kept up with the series - looking forward to cracking into the next book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Sorry to be truthful. I did not enjoy this mystery as much as the three I previously enjoyed from Ms Locke. Not that the basic crime story is not up to par , nor are the characters less well defined or interesting . The effects of the first seeds of "women's lib" were a novelty in the first books , perhaps the novelty has worn off just a little and one tires of these ladies trying to accommodate themselves in as workaholics in a man's world while maintaining their super corseted femininity . The pr Sorry to be truthful. I did not enjoy this mystery as much as the three I previously enjoyed from Ms Locke. Not that the basic crime story is not up to par , nor are the characters less well defined or interesting . The effects of the first seeds of "women's lib" were a novelty in the first books , perhaps the novelty has worn off just a little and one tires of these ladies trying to accommodate themselves in as workaholics in a man's world while maintaining their super corseted femininity . The printing industry of anti ayer is hardly an exciting topic or even useful for my general knowledge .Making extended information is necessary for the plot , but so terribly dull .

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.