Looking for a better life, prostitute Nora Simms arrives in Gold Rush San Francisco with a plan for success: to strike it rich by trading on her good looks. But when a string of murders claims several of her fellow women of ill fame, Nora grows uneasy with how closely linked all of the victims are to her. She must distinguish friend from foe in a race to discover the identity of the killer.
"I LOVED Woman of Ill Fame! Nora Simms is hilarious, heartbreaking, tough, perceptive...and one of the most engaging characters I've ever met between the pages of a book. Wonderful story, great setting and really good writing made this one of the best books I've read in a long time!"
-Diana Gabaldon, internationally-bestselling author of the Outlander series
The whodunit aspect makes Woman of Ill Fame a page-turner, and Mailman manages to keep the reader guessing. Yet it's the depiction of early San Francisco that propels this thriller above its genre, in the manner of historical fiction such as Caleb Carr's The Alienist.
-Kemble Scott, San Francisco Bay Guardian
Mailman serves up vivid description, sparkling prose and a Gold Rush prostitute as scrappy as Scarlett O'Hara.
-Kathleen Grant Gelb, Oakland Tribune
Nora Simms isn't a whore with a heart of gold. She's a whore with a head for gold.... Mailman presents a sprawling, loud and muddy city that fairly pulsates with human energy.
- Edward Morris, ForeWord
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book had it all: history, mystery, sex and a herione you'll adore. I lost sleep reading this. I rarely post reviews but wanted to encourage others to read this. (The heroine is a prostitute so there are sex scenes.....)
I just finished reading this novel and I really loved it! The author did an amazing job -- combining history, sex, feminist consciousness, and a mystery to boot! Brava! Brava! Her salty, sassy language reflects the Barbary Coast of San Francisco from a gutsy woman's point of view.Is there a dictionary of such words that is particular to the era? It was funny/exactly right/ perfectly descriptive. Anyway, I loved the book -- already lent it to a friend (who also loved it), and have another bawdy friend I want to buy it for.
Just finished this book. LOVED IT!! Actually began reading this once before and felt it started off a little slow, so I put it down. Picked it back up a couple of days later (I was enticed by the subject matter) and started it again, boy was I wrong! Loved the character of Nora and her interactions with the other characters. The story had me going to the end and was surprised by the conclusion. Would recommend this to anyone looking for an engrossing read.