"An excellent historical mystery"
Jack London visits the back stage of San Francisco's
Midway Plaisance where his girlfriend Little Egypt teaches
dance to the other ladies. However, their interlude ends
when the corpse of Jenny Morris is found in a nearby room.
SFPD Captain O'Donnell leads the investigation, which is a
major surprise to Jack as Barbary Coast dancers are not
worth more than a sergeant heading any police inquiries.
Jack learns a second girl also was killed with the same MO
at another establishment.
Not long afterward San Francisco Mayor Nelson sneaks
into Oakland where Jack lives to hire the writer to conduct
an investigation into the murders. Nelson explains that
the city is bringing in some quality talents who upon
learning about the homicides lean towards canceling the
engagements. Knowing cancellations are bad for his
reelection efforts, Nelson believes Jack with his contacts
throughout the Barbary Coast can uncover the identity of
the killer. Needing the money Jack accepts the job, but
soon finds himself in danger as the killings involve a lot
more than just a lunatic killer.
THE JEWEL OF THE NORTH is an excellent historical
mystery that brings to life the unsavory side of the 1890s
in San Francisco. The star Jack London (before his famous
novels) is perfect for the role of sleuth because of the
great author's lifestyle, which is cleverly intertwined
into the plot. The cast from the dancers to the Mayor adds
depth to the colorful story line. Peter King has provided
sub-genre fans with a gourmet delight starring a writing
great who seems more at home as a sleuth than several other
famous authors converted into fictional detectives.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted August 3, 2001