Book Review: The Body in Griffith Park by Jennifer Kincheloe @jenkincheloe @SeventhStBooks

The Body in Griffith Park
An Anna Blanc Mystery Book 3
Jennifer Kincheloe
Seventh Street  Books, July 2019
ISBN 978-1-63388-540-0
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Los Angeles, 1908. Anna Blanc is a former so-so socialite, a flailing police matron, and a killer detective.

Ex-heiress, Anna Blanc, is precariously employed by the Los Angeles Police Department, reforming delinquent children and minding lady jailbirds. What she really wants is to hunt criminals and be alone with Detective Joe Singer–both no-nos that could get her fired. On a lover’s tryst in Griffith Park, Anna and Joe discover the body of a young gambler. Anna can’t resist. She’s on the case.

With a murder to solve and her police matron duties piling up, a young girl shows up at Central Station claiming to have been raped by a man from Mars. The men at the station scoff, but Anna is willing to investigate. Meanwhile, Anna begins getting strange floral arrangements from an unknown admirer. Following the petals leads her to another crime–one close to home. Suddenly pitted against Joe, Anna must examine her loyalties and solve the crimes, even if it means losing the man she loves.

With sentences like this, it’s impossible not to love this book:

Anna arranged her face matrimonially—that is, she
tried to look grown-up, haggard, and a bit sour.

Doesn’t that bring a visual right to mind?

Anna Blanc is a young woman determined to find a place for herself in a time and society that doesn’t encourage women’s independence and she’s chosen to do so in the LAPD, decidedly a bastion of male privilege and dominance. Anna’s boss and only female colleague, Matron Clemens, is a hard taskmaster (taskmistress?) but Anna has proven her detecting skills several times now.

Meanwhile, Anna is carrying on a clandestine romance with Detective Joe Singer and, if they’re caught, Anna could be fired. Knowing that, the lovers go to extraordinary lengths to keep their liaison a secret and they may or may not be entirely successful; in fact, we know they’re not but the powers that be are still in the dark. Regardless, their efforts are inventive and frequently amusing.

On one of their trysts, while Anna and Joe are ostensibly looking for a truant, they discover a corpse. Joe immediately thinks it’s a suicide but Anna is not so sure and her detective talents kick in and, once she points out several observations to Joe, he can’t help but agree. Before all is said and done, a variety of cases will have Anna going in all directions, albeit surreptitiously, and we’re also treated to more of her family drama while Joe continues to support her as best he can in his 1908 manly way.

And who keeps sending Anna bouquets of beautiful flowers?

This is the second book I’ve read in this series—not sure how or why I’ve missed the first one—and I’m an ardent admirer of Ms. Kincheloe‘s obvious research into the early part of the 20th century. More than that, she brings Anna and her surroundings to life, making me want more. I guess I’ll have to go pick up The Secret Life of Anna Blanc while I’m waiting for book #4 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2019.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Body in Griffith Park by Jennifer Kincheloe @jenkincheloe @SeventhStBooks

  1. Hallo, Hallo,…

    Welcome to the community of book lovers who are smitten by Anna Blanc!! I recently hosted the author via my chat @SatBookChat – (on Twitter) – the transcript is still pinned at the moment but I’ll be switching it this afternoon to reflect this #SatBookChat’s guest who is Vivian Conroy. You can still find the transcript which gives out a good convo about the Anna Blanc series, the installments yet to come and a lot of insight into the characters & series overall by visiting the “Moments” for @SatBookChat.

    Secondly,.. I wanted to visit to see your thoughts as I recently released my review as well – for Griffith Park. I’ve had the joy of reaidng this series in order, but I love hearing a new reader’s take on it whose just getting curious about Anna and perhaps hasn’t had the chance yet to read all three installments.

    Ooh! You mentioned Matron Clemens! lol Isn’t she a kick? Love how you described her — taskmistress! Isn’t that the truth? It is like she can’t function if she isn’t controlling all the bits that need done in a certain time frame – of course, that is what Anna was hired on to do but evenso, I feel like Clemens has to have everything ‘neat and tidy’.

    So happy you’ve caught the joy of #AnnaBlanc!

    You and me both! The fourth can’t come soon enough and yet, I’m patient to realise it does take time to write these lovelies that we love to devour!

    Like

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