The Jade Tiger (A Penelope Harris Mystery)

E. W.

HISTORICAL:  When Mr. Kinkaid Ambrose, Penelope’s husband, is murdered, Penelope leaves Shanghai for New York where she moves in with her mother and brother. In Shanghai, she operated a casino, The Jade Tiger. However, it is hard to leave her past behind since the people she had interacted with at The Jade Tiger somehow follow her to New York, in particular, Renee Strong, who keeps throwing blackmailing daggers at her. Mary Staughton, Penelope’s cousin, hosts a lavish party and invites Penelope. At the party, Thom Lund, her only true love whom she met while in Shanghai, also attends. Sadly, things take a bitter turn when Renee is murdered, and the blame is pinned on Lund. Penelope has to walk through the dark corridors and alleys of her past to find the truth behind Renee’s murder.

“The Jade Tiger” transports the reader to the 1920s, when opera singers and adept piano players graced high-end social events. It gives a stellar display of how law enforcement officers did their job, devoid of most of the high-tech security devices that their ‘colleagues’  enjoy today. While the novel carries a very promising premise, its delivery could have used some more threads of creativity. Some of the scenes lacked the hard punch that keeps a reader miles away from boredom due to extra-long conversations. Getting the reader on the move in search of the culprit would have been better. The 1920s atmosphere, the well-developed characters, and the murder-mystery thread make this novel a worthy read. 

JM Lareen