My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. Her lover has fled. If news gets out that a white woman was murdered in Chinatown, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna plan to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret. So does good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent Chinese leader who has mixed feelings about helping the LAPD and about Anna.
Meanwhile, the Hop Sing tong has kidnapped two slave girls from the Bing Kong tong, fuelling existing tensions. They are poised on the verge of a bloody tong war that would put all Chinatown residents in danger.
Joe orders Anna out of Chinatown to keep her safe, but to atone for her own family's sins, Anna must stay to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.
Still, how can you not love a book that starts off with Anna sprinting from a police officer with a stolen Chinese head? Then, we have the small problem with Anna having to work with Detective Joe Singer who loves her, but whom Anna determent to not marry since she wants to be a free woman. Which has meant that Joe is starting to look to find love with another woman to Anna's consternation. Then, we have the white women stuffed in a trunk in Chinatown that has to be kept a secret so that it won't turn out into a riot since the finding of a dead white woman in Chinatown could have serious repercussions. So, now Joe and Anna have to try to find who killed the woman and why as well as keeping everything hush hush. Anna also has to fight to keep her jealousy in check every time she sees Joe with a woman that she suspects he's courting.
The Woman in the Camphor Trunk is a worthy sequel to The Secret Life of Anna Blanc. If you haven't read the first book do I really urge you to do so, especially if you love historical mystery books. And, of course, I also recommend this book. And, I'm looking forward to reading book three!
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!