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The Turquoise Shop (1941)

by Frances Crane

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481524,094 (3.08)5
Fiction. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML:

In a small arts community in mid-century New Mexico, a wealthy patron is accused of murder

In a small, artsy New Mexico town, the arrival of a wealthy stranger from back East is enough to get folks talking. Even a few years after Mona Brandon landed in Santa Maria, the rumor mill still churns with tid-bits about her money, her influence, and ?? when a corpse is discovered in the nearby desert that may or may not be her husband ?? her secret and suspicious past.

From the counter at her local jewelry and art shop, Jean Holly has a front row seat for all this gossip and more, after her acquaintance with Pat Abbott, the detective investigating the apparent murder, turns romantic. With his deductive reasoning and her local knowledge combined, they have everything they need to discover whodunnit. But will they be able to put the pieces together and solve the mystery before the killer strikes again?

With characters and a setting inspired by Mabel Dodge Luhan and the Taos art colony, The Turquoise Shop is a delightful Golden Age mystery adorned with Southwestern historical detail. It is the first novel in the popular and long-running Pat and Jean Abbott series, which charmed mid-century audiences with over twenty-five installments and which was adapted for multiple radio programs in the 40s and 50s… (more)

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» See also 5 mentions

I picked this up as an Advanced Reader's Copy thinking, hey, sometimes I really dig period writing, especially mysteries -- there's something cool about reading a book from the past where you get an entirely different world view and setting.

In this case, not only did I not click with the characters -- honestly, it reads more like a trial report or a newspaper article than a novel -- but I have reached a point where I just can't deal with the inherently patronizing attitudes of the White main characters to the non-White and Indigenous characters who surround them.

To be fair to Frances Crane, I think her characters would have been seen as progressive for her time period, and they are less overtly racist or insulting than Dorothy Sayers or some of the other recent period writers I've been reading. Unfortunately, that isn't sufficient for me anymore.

Advanced reader's copy provided by Edelweiss. ( )
  jennybeast | Sep 12, 2022 |
no reviews | add a review

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That morning as I walked from my house on the mesa to my shop on the plaza the mountains were piled-up purple velvet on a dark sky.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML:

In a small arts community in mid-century New Mexico, a wealthy patron is accused of murder

In a small, artsy New Mexico town, the arrival of a wealthy stranger from back East is enough to get folks talking. Even a few years after Mona Brandon landed in Santa Maria, the rumor mill still churns with tid-bits about her money, her influence, and ?? when a corpse is discovered in the nearby desert that may or may not be her husband ?? her secret and suspicious past.

From the counter at her local jewelry and art shop, Jean Holly has a front row seat for all this gossip and more, after her acquaintance with Pat Abbott, the detective investigating the apparent murder, turns romantic. With his deductive reasoning and her local knowledge combined, they have everything they need to discover whodunnit. But will they be able to put the pieces together and solve the mystery before the killer strikes again?

With characters and a setting inspired by Mabel Dodge Luhan and the Taos art colony, The Turquoise Shop is a delightful Golden Age mystery adorned with Southwestern historical detail. It is the first novel in the popular and long-running Pat and Jean Abbott series, which charmed mid-century audiences with over twenty-five installments and which was adapted for multiple radio programs in the 40s and 50s

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