China Blues

Pamela Longfellow, Author Doubleday Books $18.95 (389p) ISBN 978-0-385-26048-0
Offbeat, unruly characters and vibrant atmosphere spill over the pages of this promising first novel set in San Francisco during Prohibition. Lizzie Stafford has every little thing a rich girl could want. But the view from Nob Hill pales in comparison to the world her flat-broke journalist pal Kit Downie mines for his stories. The joint is jumping at the Blue Canary, a lavish brothel run by Rose St. Lorraine, a Mae West-type madam with a tart tongue and a soft heart. There Lizzie can forget her faithless, politically ambitious husband and dabble in forbidden love with a cool-eyed Chinese gangster while Kit pines for her, and Dido, an icy, black chanteuse, longs for Kit. Bootlegging, the Tong Wars, smoky speakeasies, inept mobsters and the Teapot Dome scandal zigzag through these pages like streaks of lightning. The Jazz Era leaps to life, but the narrative, which starts out with a bang, bogs down toward the end in sticky romance and overwrought plot twists. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-7704-2302-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-28529-1
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