My review of Jennifer Kincheloe's debut The Secret Life of Anna Blanc first appeared as a starred review in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it today with their permission. I hope you enjoy...
First line: "Anna Blanc wore a six-inch hairpiece made from the tresses of a yak."
When a smart, sheltered socialite schemes her way into the gritty 1907 world of the Los Angeles Police Department, the result is a humorously delightful historical mystery.
Anna Blanc is determined to free herself from the smothering rules of her bank executive father. No beau is good enough for Christopher Blanc, and he insists a chaperone be with Anna wherever she goes, ensuring she doesn't do anything to tarnish her reputation. Anna wants out from under this tyranny. She wants to right wrongs like the characters in the novels she reads covertly. So when an opening for a police matron with the LAPD is advertised in the newspaper, Anna resorts to bribery--and the alias Anna Holmes--in order to fulfill her dream.
Anna learns quickly that her fictional stories are nothing like actual police work. She's utterly unprepared for the realities of her new job; nonetheless she's determined to find a rapist and stop a murderer. But to do this she must keep both of her worlds separate. When they ultimately collide, the result is catastrophic.
Jennifer Kincheloe has astutely balanced Anna's intelligence with the ignorance of an outsider. Her privileged upbringing and society's stringent mores leave her naïve to "street sense" and prone to hilarious mishaps and awkward interactions. Instead of coming across as a bumbling idiot, though, Anna's logic and reason make her endearing and admirable. Her moxie leaves the reader cheering through tears of laughter.
Suspenseful, smart and funny, it doesn't require Sherlock to deduce The Secret Life of Anna Blanc is a crack debut.
The Secret Life of Anna Blanc is available in trade paperback (ISBN: 9781633880801) from Seventh Street Books. You can find a copy at your favorite independent bookstore or the following retailers: