by A. M. Stuart, narrated by Olivia Dowd
an Audiobook review by Jackie Houchin
EVIL IN EMERALD is a dense, atmospheric and multi-layered mystery novel. It’s set in 1910 in hot and sultry, English-ruled Singapore. The multiple crimes and criminals are widespread and seemingly unconnected. Until the end, of course.
The heroes are Harriet Gordon, widow, tutor, and police stenographer, and Inspector Robert Curran, a principled and honest-to-a-fault policeman who never gives up. Together and apart, they work to solve numerous crimes, including three murders.
But under the visible lives of all the characters in this book run currents of deep and disturbing emotions – grief, humiliation, anger, jealousy, lust, greed, pain of rejection, and love. Stuart writes these powerfully.
The book begins in the light-hearted Gilbert and Sullivan musical, The Pirates of Penzance. Then a leading player is murdered, and the delightful silliness of the Keystone Cops and the Modern Major General disappears. Harriet, who has a minor role in the musical, sleuths among the actors while Inspector Curran follows the evidence. His investigation takes him to other crimes. Then another player is murdered. And another. Who, and why?
Curran never falters in his search for the truth despite being hit again and again with personal tragedies. The solving of the all crimes (except one) is satisfying though tragic, but the book goes on a bit longer, revealing glimpses of secrets which surely must follow and unravel in Stuart’s next book.
I was totally immersed in the story and enjoyed it enough to consider reading the two previous books in the series, SINGAPORE SAPPHIRE and REVENGE IN RUBIES. .
Narrator Olivia Dowd was terrific.