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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Second Old San Francisco Mystery Not (Quite) As Compelling As First

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for No Pity for the Dead, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, No Comfort for the Lost.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

When 14-year-old orphan Owen Cassidy discovers a corpse in the basement of the real estate office where he's been working, he turns to the one person he knows will help—not condemn—him.  Celia Davies, a British-born nurse who runs a free clinic for the women of San Francisco, has always been his advocate.  After seeing the body for herself, Celia knows the police must be alerted to the situation.  Detective Nick Greaves is soon on the scene.

The dead man is identified as Virgil Nash.  Plenty of people had motive for offing the importation merchant, who loved to show off his wealth and status.  Greaves' suspicion lands on Frank Hutchinson, one of the real estate partners, who also happens to be his old war buddy.  Although he'd be delighted to arrest Frank, Greaves has plenty of other suspects to interrogate.  Celia, of course, can't stop herself from launching her own investigation.  The more she pokes around, the more she discovers—and the more dangerous her life becomes.  Someone is desperate to stop Greaves and Celia from solving the murder.  How far will they go to prohibit the duo from getting too close to the truth?

I enjoyed No Comfort for the Lost, the first book in Nancy Herriman's Old San Francisco mystery series, so I was excited to pick up the next installment, No Pity for the Dead.  Although I wasn't quite as engrossed in Celia's second adventure, it still made for a good read.  The story gets a bit confusing as there are a few too many characters to keep straight—I had trouble differentiating them all.  Still, the plot moves along at a nice clip.  Celia's a compelling heroine.  Her compassion and fearlessness make her admirable and exciting to follow.  The Old San Francisco setting adds a fun historical element to the novel as well.  Overall, then, I enjoyed No Pity for the Dead.  Not as much as its predecessor, true, but enough.  I'll keep an eye out for the next book in the series.

(Readalikes: No Comfort for the Lost by Nancy Herriman; also reminds me a little of the Veronica Speedwell series [A Curious Beginning; A Perilous Undertaking] by Deanna Raybourn)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and non-graphic references to prostitution, drug addiction, etc. 

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of No Pity for the Dead from Barnes & Noble with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. That's too bad that this didn't live up to the first book but that doesn't seem that uncommon with 2nd books. I do love the concept and setting of this one even if the mystery isn't your favorite. I'll definitely be checking out No Comfort for the Lost.

    1. It is a common problem with second books, unfortunately. I do enjoy this setting/time period and the characters, so I'll definitely continue on with the series. I just hope it picks up a little, you know?

  2. Well that's too bad. Maybe it fell into that middle book syndrome?

    1. Yeah, that's all too common, unfortunately.


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