cover image The Woman in the Camphor Trunk: An Anna Blanc Mystery

The Woman in the Camphor Trunk: An Anna Blanc Mystery

Jennifer Kinchloe. Seventh Street, $15.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-63388-363-5

Set in 1908 Los Angeles, Kincheloe’s winning sequel to 2015’s The Secret Life of Anna Blanc finds feisty young assistant police matron Anna Blanc disowned by her wealthy father, who objects to her scandalous pursuit of a law-enforcement career. Tensions with police officer Joe Singer, whom she loves only slightly less than her own independence, compound Anna’s woes. The pair is sent to the city’s Chinatown district, where a suspicious death has been reported. In the apartment of importer Leo Lim, who has vanished, Anna and Joe find a trunk holding the decomposing, half-dressed corpse of a Caucasian woman. Realizing that the victim—a missionary who was Lim’s lover—has connections to her own family, Anna feels honor bound to bring the murderer to justice. A hush-hush investigation ensues, since the Chinese community will face violent reprisals if one of its own is suspected of murdering a white woman. Kincheloe skillfully juxtaposes a witty, playful voice with richly evocative details that bring L.A.’s Chinatown—and its long history of ethnic tensions—to life. Agent: Neil Blair, Blair Partnership. (Nov.)