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A Most Dangerous Woman by L.M. Jackson
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A Most Dangerous Woman

by L.M. Jackson

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Good read i have read this twice now the first time was when it first came out in paperback, gave it to family and it has been pass on through out family and friends, with the comment always coming back " what a great book" I have bought it in ebook formate when the second book (The Mesmerist's Apprentice) came out to reread, still has good has the first time around
  June53 | Mar 13, 2011 |
A standard amateur detective murder mystery, of the 'I must avenge the death of someone with whom I have a vague personal connection!' ilk. Sarah Tanner, a woman of dubious morals who has recently made good as the owner of a coffee shop, has all the credentials for solving a murky crime in a back alley - background, training, connections - but little substance to hold the reader. I found her a little contrived and not very convincing - a woman of 'independent means' accepted by the working class and local ne'er-do-wells, yet who could pass as an educated, 'respectable' lady when required, calling on the service of a gentleman friend to gain entry into polite society.

The plot is intriguing, but there are perhaps one too many twists and turns, which come thick and fast in the final chapters, for a satisfying conclusion - one revelation is shocking, three or four in quick succession cancel each other out. And Sarah's clues were suspiciously coincidental - overheard conversations proving to be relevant, adverts in old newspapers suddenly springing to mind (and hand), witnesses and accomplices readily divulging information - stock-in-trade for the detective genre, but still a test for the reader's suspension of disbelief!

Finally, there is a potentially destructive drinking game to be devised out of this, and other historical novels - a shot for every time Jackson uses the slang word 'ma'am' would have everyone under the table by chapter five! I'm not even sure it's historically accurate - surely 'madam' would have been more appropriate, particularly amongst the middle and upper classes? 'Ma'am' sounds like an American term, or how to address the Queen! The semi-colon is also wheeled out far too often; breaking up sentences where commas would suffice (not recommended for the 'Dangerous Woman' drinking game!)

An average novel - evocative descriptions of Victorian London show up a weak protagonist who could have done with more of a backstory. ( )
1 vote AdonisGuilfoyle | Oct 21, 2008 |
The first copy of this book I got had a misprint. Several pages near the end were duplicated and there were some missing, so I enquired with one of the other branches in the service as to whether or not their copy had the missing pages. I was gutted that I couldn't finish, a little over 50 pages to the end. Today I finished it, and it was worth the wait.

Sarah Tanner is a mystery. She appears out of nowhere in a working class area and sets up shop with a coffee house and what would now be called a cafe. Her hours reflect the businesses in the area. She's content with her new life and doesn't regret leaving her old one behind. This all changes when an old friend is murdered in front of her. The murderer is a policeman and her past precludes her being believed by the authorities. She feels a need to investigate and this drags her back into the murky underworld she's been trying to escape from.

It's an interesting read. The twists near the end took me by surprise as they happen suddenly. Leaving me a little breathless, but it also left me with an urge to read more by this author. The story was gripping and interesting and I really liked the characters created. They were nicely flawed and nothing was necessarily obvious. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Nov 13, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099498391, Paperback)

“It was said that she had the good manners of a respectable upper servant but was far too young to have been pensioned; that she spoke as if she had received an education, but knew the costers’ slang as if she were born-and-bred to it; and that she not only had no husband — which was a commonplace on Leather Lane — but seemed never to have possessed one.”

When the mysterious Sarah Tanner opens her Dining and Coffee Rooms on the corner of Leather Lane and Liquorpond Street, her arrival amongst the poor market-traders creates a stir. Few doubt that she has a past, but no one can possibly predict how it will return to haunt her. When an old friend is brutally murdered by the unlikeliest of assailants, Sarah Tanner is the only witness. Unable to turn to the police, she reluctantly finds herself drawn back into the dark underworld of the Victorian metropolis.

Assisted by unlikely friends, dogged by the criminal machinations of the greatest gamester, felon, villain, swindler, and scoundrel in London, she must unravel a web of treachery and deceit that takes her from the gaming hells of Regent Street to the suburban heights of Upper Holloway, from the slums of St. Giles to the fast-flowing waters of the Thames. Relying on her wits and trading on her past, Sarah Tanner risks gambling her own life upon a desperate quest for justice and vengeance.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When the mysterious Sarah Tanner opens her Dining and Coffee Rooms upon the corner of Leather Lane and Liquorpond Street, her arrival amongst the poor market-traders is a nine-days' wonder. Few doubt that she has a 'past', but no-one can possibly predict how it will return to haunt her.… (more)

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