1928 New York dazzles with extravagant parties and illegal liquor. But beyond the flow of champagne, a murderer waits, with all clues leading back to the Jade Tiger. Can Penelope Harris find the killer before her past catches up to put a noose around her neck?
Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.75 out of 10
Plot: This evocative, 1920s-set mystery engages readers from the get-go. Prohibition, opera, and a Shanghai and New York City setting, result in a dynamic reading experience.
Prose: Cooper’s descriptive prose quickly develops tension and atmosphere. The novel provides a delightful blend of historical details, mystery, and action.
Originality: From the alluring settings to the unfolding mystery and glittering high life, Cooper delivers a truly unique mystery.
Character/Execution: As a former opera singer, nightclub owner, and sleuth, Penelope Harris is a dazzling and capable heroine. The larger cast of characters offers no shortage of potential suspects.
Date Submitted: August 31, 2020
Set in 1928, Cooper’s promising debut and series launch introduces aspiring opera singer Penelope Harris, who has returned home to New York City after eloping against her father’s wishes with shady businessman Kinkaid Ambrose to Shanghai, where they ran the Jade Tiger, a nightclub and casino. She left Shanghai the year before after robbers assaulted her and Kincaid, leaving her injured and Kincaid dead; the ensuing headlines made Penelope persona non grata in the American high society circles her family moves in. Penelope’s account of that fatal night is challenged by an unwelcome visitor from her past, Renee Strong, a singer at the Jade Tiger, who accuses her of having lied about who killed Kincaid and threatens to expose the truth. Penelope’s jeopardy increases after a murder at a party she attends, and she turns amateur sleuth when a love interest, former Shanghai cop Thom Lund, comes under suspicion. Cooper reveals intriguing secrets about her lead that make the prospect of future books welcome. Fans of Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher will enjoy Penelope’s adventures. (Self-published)