Murder, thievery and general lawlessness during the Klondike gold rush.
Young English gentleman John Lansdowne Grenville is heading home from a Canadian adventure in 1899 when he learns of his father’s death and his brother William’s ascendancy to the baronial title. So it’s back to the Klondike for black sheep Grenville, where he’s pleased to run into Sam Scott, the ex-partner who regales him with stories of adventure and enlists him as a partner in his new silk transport business. Scott suspects his rival Benton and his lieutenant Jackson of sabotage. When Jackson’s found dead of a gunshot wound to the chest, Scott is swiftly arrested, and Grenville must exonerate his only friend. A green but eager lad named Trent latches on to Grenville and soon becomes a bumbling Watson to his Holmes. Jackson had many enemies, but local power brokers are content to let hapless Scott take the fall. Scott’s sister Franny, a sexy fan dancer who introduced Scott to Jackson, provides Grenville with his first lead. Meantime, young Emily Turner and her Chinese friend Wong Xi Yan (aka Bertie), hearing that Grenville’s a detective, ask his help in recovering some missing opium. The thrill-seeking Emily can’t resist her own sleuthing—or spinning elaborate yarns to deceive her parents.
Rowse’s first novel, kicking off a proposed series, offers many promising ingredients, but both her plotting and her prose need work.