Clara Shortridge Foltz faces a patriarchal nemesis in 1884 San Francisco. When a white prostitute is murdered and flayed down to a skeleton, Clara is hired by the Six Companies of Chinatown to defend the 16 males who are swept up by the Chinatown Squad. This ragtag and corrupt group of sheriffs work for the mayor, Washington Bartlett. The mayor uses the nation’s anti-Chinese sentiment in his quest to win the race for governor of California.
Foltz, the first woman admitted to the California Bar, must learn fast to become a detective in order to prove that her client, journalist George Kwong, is not the killer but was set up by the mayor to take the fall. Along with Ah Toy, her trusted translator and best friend, she is instructed by the head of detectives, Captain Isaiah Lees. Lees becomes enamored with Clara, who is having personal problems with sexual commitment due to her first marriage with Jeremiah Foltz. He was a Union vet who deserted Clara and their five children for a younger woman.
Captain Lees has personal problems of his own, as he has devoted all his time to fighting the corrupt politicians and the Chinatown Squad for 20 years and has not even made time for female relations. Theirs is a very special kind of romance.
Clara brings a national spotlight to bear on her case, as thousands of women flock to the City by the Bay to support her effort to win against these patriarchal forces. The Chinese are also oppressed, and Clara and Ah Toy become embroiled in a deadly came of cat and mouse to trap the real killer and save George Kwong.
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James Musgrave was a professor at the college level at Caltech, Thomas Jefferson University School of Law, and many San Diego universities and colleges, for over twenty-five years. He has developed online course tools, such as his “Judge Jimmy Game,” and he has taught hundreds of classes aimed at teaching his students lessons from law and history. His storylines are unique, well-researched, and full of surprises. He has won many writing awards, and all of his mysteries are featured selections on the American Library Association’s Self-E Program.