BOOK OF THE DAY
2019 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Entry
By P.A. DeVoe
I had never before read any historical mystery set in the Ming Dynasty of China. The premise intrigued me, and I was not disappointed.
Although the story starts a bit slowly, the beginning was a great introduction to the characters. Hong Shu-chang is a young man who has devoted himself to his studies at considerable expense for his parents. His goal is to get a top government position in order to bring status and a secure financial future to his family and his clan. Upon completion of some of his tests, he receives word that his father and uncle have been killed. The killers haven’t been found. This forces Shu-chang to go to his maternal uncle’s home and fulfill the required two years’ mourning with his relative.
While there, he becomes involved in two other murders and becomes friends with a young woman healer named Xiang-hua whose brother is accused of the murders. Together the two set out to clear Xiang-hua’s brother, and find the real killers.
The plot moves at a good pace, and the characters are well developed. The settings were woven in well and it was easy to mentally put myself in this place. I look forward to a sequel that will hopefully pair these two young people together again and perhaps find the thugs who murdered Shu-chang’s father and uncle.
There are many notes in the back of the book on pronunciation, and notes of historical value as to the time in history. I didn’t know that before I read the book, but I didn’t feel like I missed anything. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good story that crosses time and culture.
Sharon Woods Hopkins’ mystery series featuring mortgage banker Rhetta McCarter and her ’79 Camaro hits close to home. Sharon is a former branch manager for a mortgage office of a Missouri bank. She also owns the original Cami, a restored ’79 Camaro like Rhetta’s. Sharon’s hobbies include painting, fishing, photography, flower gardening, and restoring muscle cars with her son, Jeff. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Guppies, Thriller Writers of America, the Southeast Missouri Writers’ Guild, Heartland Writers, and the Missouri Writers’ Guild.