The Jewel of the North
Call of the Wild author Jack London adds gumshoe to his list of professions in this mystery set on the Barbary Coast, the sleaziest part of San Francisco. Crime is common. Strangely, the murders of several dancers grasp the attention of local authorities and prominent businessmen who seek London’s assistance in catching the killer.
The premise of Jack London as an uncover investigator is quite plausible, as London actually grew up in the area and led the life of a starving artist, relying on the music halls for their nightly buffets and writing inspiration. Therefore, he could snoop around without attracting suspicion. Peter King’s obviously thorough research of the time period and Jack London’s contemporaries provides for a large cast of characters and cameo appearances.
As a new series, this one could be a hit. The protagonist and setting are interesting, King’s writing is smooth, and the events leave one wondering first how Jack got himself into the situation, and next, how he will get himself out. Highly recommended for mystery readers.