Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper by Ana Brazil
Publication Date: November 1, 2017
Sand Hill Review Press
Formats: Paperback & eBook
Synopsis: Gilded Age New Orleans is overrun with prostitutes, pornographers, and a malicious Jack the Ripper copycat. As threatening letters to newspaper editors proclaim, no woman is safe from his blade.
Desperate to know who murdered her favorite student, ambitious typewriting teacher Fanny Newcomb launches into a hunt for the self-proclaimed Irish Channel Ripper.
Fanny quickly enlists her well-connected employers—Principal Sylvia Giddings and her sister Dr. Olive—to help, and the women forge through saloons, cemeteries, slums, and houses of prostitution in their pursuit.
Fanny’s good intentions quickly infuriate her longtime beau Lawrence Decatur, while her reckless persistence confounds the talented police detective Daniel Crenshaw. Reluctantly, Lawrence and Daniel also lend their investigative talents to Fanny’s investigation.
As the murderer sets a date for his next heinous crime, can Fanny Newcomb and her crew stop the Irish Channel Ripper before he kills again?
My Review: Fanny teaches typewriting to young girls. She hopes that by learning typewriting the girls will get a good job. When a copycat of Jack the Ripper starts to make threats and claim that no woman is safe from his blade, Fanny’s students tremble with fear and are scared to attend her classes. Suddenly, Fanny’s star pupil is murdered by the copycat. This forces Fanny to investigate the truth of her student’s death. She also enlists the help of her employers; Sylvia the owner of the school, and Sylvia’s sister, Olive, who is also a female doctor, to track down the killer.
Fanny was a likable character. She is very determined to get justice for her student. She is also very inquisitive and observant. I loved getting to know her and learning about her past. She is a kind and caring character. There were a few times that I didn’t like her. I didn’t like how she treated her beau, Lawrence. I thought she mostly manipulated him to get information from him. Thus, while I didn’t agree with the decisions she made, I still found her to be a fun character.
I also liked Sylvia. Sylvia really is devoted to her mission of helping young girls. She also seemed to be very religious. She is also very determined to find the truth and will do whatever is necessary to find the killer. Even when she gets injured, she cares more about the investigation than her injury and is determined that the hunt is still on.
While I like Sylvia and Fanny, my favorite character was Olive. She is bright and observant. However, I thought she was the strongest character out of the bunch. Her career is in a man’s field, and she proves that she is smarter than her fellow male doctors. Thus, I admire Olive’s persistence and find her to be the most fascinating character in the novel.
Overall, Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper is a feminist take on the historical mystery drama. The female protagonists are smart and capable. There is also very little love story. That said, it was a refreshing read. This is not to say that the book did not have any faults. It did. The mystery was very predictable, and I knew the killer right away. There were also some slow parts, and the story was mostly told instead of shown. Still, this is a must read for fans of the genre. I recommend this novel for fans of Echoes of the Storm, A Front Page Affair, and A Deadly Affection.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
About the Author:
A native of California, Ana Brazil lived in the south for many years. She earned her MA in American history from Florida State University and traveled her way through Mississippi as an architectural historian. Ana loves fried mullet, Greek Revival colonnades, and Miss Welty’s garden. She has a weakness for almost all things New Orleans. (Although she’s not sure just how it happened…but she favors bluegrass over jazz.)
The Fanny Newcomb stories celebrate the tenacity, intelligence, and wisdom of the dozens of courageous and outrageous southern women that Ana is proud to call friends.
Although Ana, her husband, and their dog Traveller live in the beautiful Oakland foothills, she is forever drawn to the lush mystique of New Orleans, where Fanny Newcomb and her friends are ever prepared to seek a certain justice.
For more information, please visit Ana Brazil's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Goodreads.
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