Friday, November 23, 2007

The Shanghai Tunnel-Sharan Newman

The Shanghai Tunnel
Sharan Newman
Forge, Feb 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 978-0765313003

In 1867 Horace Stratton decides to return home to Portland after a very successful business trip in Shanghai. Accompanied by his wife Emily and their teenage son Robert they reach San Francisco in January 1868; only Horace dies there. The dutiful daughter of missionaries, feeling some guilt for she knows she never lived up to her husband’s expectations, Emily and Robert bring Horace’s body home to be buried in Portland.

The surviving Strattons plan to live in Horace’s hometown; not aware of how rough and tumble of a place it is in spite of leading citizens hoping to turn it into the San Francisco of the northwest. However, the widow and her son are not welcomed by Portland’s elitists especially those who partnered with Horace. They are ignorant as to how much she really knows and understands about her late husband’s unethical and mostly illegal activities; and her plans to learn what she does not know. Still they will not take chances and plot to drive her and her son out of town; if they fail to run her out then they will bury her next to her deceased husband.

THE SHANGHAI TUNNEL (in an afterward Sharan Newman explains that the tunnels exist under Portland’s streets) is an enjoyable and riveting historical amateur sleuth tale that brings alive Reconstruction Era Portland, which obviously has come a long way from its salad days. The Oregonians are a deep support cast, but the story line totally belongs to the courageous widow as she surprises everyone including her self with her grit by refusing to leave. Horace must be turning in his grave witnessing what he never saw in his wife; as the mouse roars. Ms. Newman begins her new historical saga (see Catherine LeVenduer historical mysteries) with a winning mid nineteenth century thriller.

Harriet Klausner

1 comment:

. said...

 “胡一刀,曲池喝花酒,天樞!苗人鳳酒店喝酒 ,地倉,合谷!個嘶啞的嗓子低沉地叫暑假打工 著。叫聲中充滿著怨毒寒假打工 和憤怒,語聲從酒店小姐 牙齒縫中迸出來,似是酒店兼職 千年万年、永恒的咒禮服店 ,每一個字音上涂著血和仇恨。 突突突突四酒店經紀 聲響,四道金光酒店兼差,四枝金鏢連珠發出,射向兩塊木牌。木牌的酒店 正面反面都繪著一個全身人酒店經紀人 形,一塊上繪的是個濃髯粗豪的大漢,旁注“胡一刀”三字;另一塊上繪的是個瘦長漢子,旁注“苗人鳳”三字,人形上書明人体周身穴酒店現領。木牌下面接有一柄,兩個身手矯捷的壯漢各持一牌,在練武廳中滿廳游走東北角一張椅子中坐著酒店經紀爆米花個五十來歲的白發婆婆,口中喊著胡一刀或苗人鳳穴道的名稱。一個二十來歲的英俊少年勁裝結束,鏢囊中台北酒店經紀帶著十几枝金鏢,听得那婆婆喊出穴道名稱,右手打工揚,就是一道金光射出,釘向木牌。兩個持牌壯漢頭戴鋼絲罩子兼差上身穿了厚棉襖再罩牛皮背心,唯恐少年失了准頭,金鏢招呼到他們身上。兩人竄高伏低,酒店打工擺木牌,要讓他酒店上班不易打中。 大廳外的窗口,伏著一個少女假日打工一個青年漢子。兩人在窗紙上挖破了兩個小孔,各用台北酒店經紀右眼湊著向里偷窺。兩人見那少年身手不凡,發鏢甚准,不由酒店pt 互相對望了一眼,臉上酒店pt都露出訝异的神色。
  天空黑沉酒店應酬 沉的堆滿了烏云。大雨傾盆而下,夾著一陣陣的電閃雷轟,勢道嚇人粉味。黃豆大的雨點打在地下,直濺到窗外兩酒店經紀PRETTY GIRL少年男女酒店經濟 的身上。 們都身披油布雨衣,對廳上的事很感好奇酒店經濟再湊眼到窗洞上去看時,只听得那婆婆打工兼差道:“准頭還可將就,就是沒勁儿,今日酒店經紀就練到這里。”說著慢慢禮服店站起身來。