Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on August 16, 2015



In 1860s San Francisco, gold buys the best life has to offer. Without it, not even justice is guaranteed…
After serving as a nurse in the Crimea, British-born Celia Davies left her privileged family for an impulsive marriage to a handsome Irishman. Patrick brought her to San Francisco’s bustling shores but then disappeared and is now presumed dead.  Determined to carry on, Celia partnered with her half-Chinese cousin Barbara and her opinionated housekeeper Addie to open a free medical clinic for women who have nowhere else to turn. But Celia’s carefully constructed peace crumbles when one of her Chinese patients is found brutally murdered…and Celia’s hotheaded brother-in-law stands accused of the crime.
A veteran of America’s civil war, detective Nicholas Greaves is intent on discovering the killer of the girl, whose gender and ethnicity render her as powerless in death as they did in life. Nicholas’s efforts are complicated by Celia, who has a knack for walking into dangerous situations that may lead to answers…or get them both killed.  For as their inquiries take them from Chinatown’s squalid back alleys to the Barbary
Coast’s violent streets to the city’s gilded parlors, Celia and Nicholas begin to suspect that someone very close to them holds the key to a murderous conspiracy…
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Praise for the book

“A finely detailed series debut with a sympathetic protagonist and impeccable, colorful depictions of 1860s San Francisco…” ~ Library Journal Starred Review
“Entertaining…readers who like independent heroines should welcome this historical series.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly



The Chinese believed that some days were inauspicious, the ill tidings written in the passage of the heavenly bodies. Celia Davies gazed down at her patient, a delicate Chinese girl whose skin sported more bruises than unblemished flesh, and wondered if today would prove to be one of those days.
“You heal.” The old woman who’d been watching from the doorway flapped wrinkled hands, causing the lengthy twist of her silver-tinged ebony hair to swing across her chest. “You heal!”
“Yes, yes,” Celia answered. “That is why I am here.”
A bead of perspiration trickled down her spine. It was stifling and gloomy in this airless room no larger than a closet, devoid of any furnishings beyond a washstand, a rickety bamboo stool and the miserable cot the girl lay upon.
A room as tight and dark as a coffin.
“I have come to help you,” Celia said to the girl, though she likely could not hear or understand. There was a purple bruise along her collarbone, just above the neckband of her blue cotton sacque, several more along her chin and cheekbone. One skinny arm was wrapped in filthy, blood-stained bandages. The girl’s face was sticky with dried sweat, and she whimpered drowsily. Undoubtedly, she had been dosed with opium for the pain. Celia rested a hand upon the girl’s forehead. Hot but not dangerously so. Not yet.
“She may have inflammation from her wounds. It is bad. Chuung,” she said to the old woman waiting by the open door with its lattice-barred window.
The brothel owner’s hands had returned to the wide sleeves of her high-necked silk tunic, and her features creased with a frown. How much, Celia wondered, did this girl owe her in exchange for passage from China? Two hundred dollars? Three? Her freedom signed away in a contract she probably had not been able to read, and might never escape. If this girl died, the brothel owner would never recover the full extent of the debt.
Celia settled onto the bamboo stool and undid the latch on the black leather portmanteau she used as a medical bag. More droplets of sweat collected beneath her collar, in the pits of her arms, and along her ribs where her corset hugged. She longed for a breath of air.
“When did this happen?” she asked, feeling for a pulse in the girl’s wrist. Weak and fast. Not unexpected. “How many days? Yat.”
Sin leung saam yat.”
Did she mean three entire days? Celia wished Barbara were here to talk to the woman. But her half-Chinese cousin had not been home when Celia had been summoned, and she had rushed to the stews in China Alley with only her portmanteau as company.
“You should have sent for me before now,” she said.
The Chinese woman’s expression, stoic and implacable, hardened. “You heal or you go.”
“I do not intend to let her die.”

About the Author

nancy herrimanNancy Herriman retired from an engineering career to take up the pen. She hasn’t looked back. A multi-published novelist, she is also a former winner of the RWA Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/Romantic Suspense. Her latest release, No Comfort for the Lost (NAL/August 2015), is the first in her ‘A Mystery of Old San Francisco’ series. When not writing, she enjoys singing with various choral groups and eating dark chocolate. After two decades in Arizona, she now lives in her home state of Ohio with her family.

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Nancy is kindly offering 2 copies of her book in this giveaway.  Open to US residents only

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