Singapore Sapphire (Harriet Gordon Mystery #1)
Harriet Gordon stumbles into a murderous web of stolen gems and cutthroat thieves as she runs from her tragic past in an enthralling new historical mystery series set in early twentieth century Singapore. Singapore 1910--Desperate for a fresh start and to distance herself from her tragic past, Harriet Gordon finds herself in Singapore at the height of colonial rule. Hoping to gain some financial independence, she advertises her services as a personal secretary. It is unfortunate that she should discover her first client, Sir Oswald Newbold--explorer, mine magnate and president of the exclusive Explorers and Geographers' Club--dead with a knife in his throat.When Inspector Robert Curran is put on the case, he realizes that he has an unusual witness in Harriet. Harriet's keen eye for detail and strong sense of duty interests him, as does her distrust of the police and her traumatic past, which she is at pains to keep secret from the gossips of Singapore society.When a second body is dragged from the canal, Harriet feels compelled to help with the case. She and Curran are soon drawn into a complex web of stolen gemstones and a mysterious gang of thieves who have no qualms about killing again to protect their secrets.

Singapore Sapphire (Harriet Gordon Mystery #1) Details

TitleSingapore Sapphire (Harriet Gordon Mystery #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 6th, 2019
PublisherBerkley
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Fiction

Singapore Sapphire (Harriet Gordon Mystery #1) Review

  • Luffy
    January 1, 1970
    Initially the superlative vocab of the book made no mistake. 'Comprised' was not bundled with 'of'. The use of the phrase 'hold the fort' didn't include 'down'. There was the drawn match where 'named for' was used instead of 'named after'.But the story itself was ill served about halfway through the book. The promising, easy and breezy pacing of the book was butchered in my humble opinion. I am not used to the climax to kick in halfway through.That fault maybe lies with me but then I can only na Initially the superlative vocab of the book made no mistake. 'Comprised' was not bundled with 'of'. The use of the phrase 'hold the fort' didn't include 'down'. There was the drawn match where 'named for' was used instead of 'named after'.But the story itself was ill served about halfway through the book. The promising, easy and breezy pacing of the book was butchered in my humble opinion. I am not used to the climax to kick in halfway through.That fault maybe lies with me but then I can only narrate what I had undergone. If a book made me seriously want to ditch it, then I can't give it 5 stars, can I? But though the mystery element itself was not out of this world, the world building was impeccable. The Singapore of more than a century ago was well lit and shot. It was a fictive world that was well dolled up for our pleasure.I rue the fact that I've given the book 3 stars, but it's going to stay that way. What was needed was a hook, a selling point, a twist. And there was little of that. I do want to observe what is next for this talented author. That's it from me.
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    It was 1910 when Harriet Gordon escaped the tragedy of her past to Singapore. Her brother, Reverend Julian Edwards, was master at the local school and Harriet did some unpaid work for St. Thomas. But needing funds saw her advertising herself as a personal secretary and when she began typing the manuscript for Sir Oswald Newbold, she had no idea her acquaintance with him would cause such dramatic changes in her life.The murder of Newbold was particularly vicious – Harriet finding him was shocking It was 1910 when Harriet Gordon escaped the tragedy of her past to Singapore. Her brother, Reverend Julian Edwards, was master at the local school and Harriet did some unpaid work for St. Thomas. But needing funds saw her advertising herself as a personal secretary and when she began typing the manuscript for Sir Oswald Newbold, she had no idea her acquaintance with him would cause such dramatic changes in her life.The murder of Newbold was particularly vicious – Harriet finding him was shocking. But when Inspector Robert Curran arrived at the scene, he was impressed at her calm demeanor. As the investigation advanced, the connection to rubies and other gems seemed widespread. With a young man missing, a body found in the nearby river and dark secrets finding their way to the surface, Harriet and Curran were facing uncertainty and danger. Who was the mastermind? Would they find the killer before he struck again? Because it was certain he would kill anyone in his path…Singapore Sapphire is the 1st in the Harriet Gordon Mystery series by Aussie author A.M. Stuart (aka Alison Stuart) and I loved it! Two of my favourite genres – historical fiction and mysteries – combined to make an enticing, fascinating look at Singapore when under colonial rule; the daring of criminals in their desire to be wealthy; and the blanket of humidity which hung over everyone, leeching the energy from one and all. Harriet Gordon and Robert Curran were excellent characters. I’m really looking forward to book 2 in the series and have no hesitation in recommending Singapore Sapphire to all fans of historical mysteries.With thanks to NetGalley and Berkley/Penguin Random House New York for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Anna Lee Huber
    January 1, 1970
    My favorite new mystery series! Set in a unique and compelling setting, and filled with fascinating historical research, deft characterization, and thrilling suspense, readers will devour Singapore Sapphire. One of the best books I’ve read this year. I can’t wait to read Harriet’s next adventure.
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    This is such an awesome story, I do love a good mystery and this one hit the spot, set in Singapore in 1910, MS Stuart took me back in time to murders and a gang smuggling gems and a story that I did not want to put down. I am loving Harriet and Inspector Robert Curran and am truly thrilled that this book is the start of a series.Harriet Gordon has decided to start afresh in Singapore with her brother, Reverend Julian who runs a school, Harriet has been through a lot and is settling in in Singap This is such an awesome story, I do love a good mystery and this one hit the spot, set in Singapore in 1910, MS Stuart took me back in time to murders and a gang smuggling gems and a story that I did not want to put down. I am loving Harriet and Inspector Robert Curran and am truly thrilled that this book is the start of a series.Harriet Gordon has decided to start afresh in Singapore with her brother, Reverend Julian who runs a school, Harriet has been through a lot and is settling in in Singapore, but she needs to find some work and takes on a job for Sir Oswald Newbold typing up his memoirs, but when he is horribly murdered and she discovers the body, the peace that Harriet was looking forward to is not going to happen as she gets involved with this murder and more.Inspector Robert Curran is enjoying his position in the detective branch, but with Newbold’s murder and a second murder of a young man working in the hotel, Curran realizes that his witness Harriet is very good at seeing things and when he uncovers things from her past they form a friendship that keeps them working together to solve the murders, but not before Harriet finds herself in very real danger.This is a story that you will not want to put down, every time I had to put is down Harriet and the characters were in my mind and I never stopped trying to work out the killer or killers it is so well written, and so well researched that I truly felt I was back in Singapore in 1910, the characters are so alive and real the good and the bad ones, I loved it from start to finish compelling, gripping and fabulous if you love a good mystery then this is one I highly recommend.
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  • eyes.2c
    January 1, 1970
    Colonial Singapore and murder! Great reading!It's the early 1900's in Singapore. So realistic I felt I was there! Harriet Gordon, widowed and made childless in one fell swoop in India due to Typhus, went home to England. It was there she came in contact with the Suffragette Movement, an organization that espoused those things she'd not only envisioned, but felt deeply. That path ended badly and she joined her brother in Colonial Singapore where he is the Reverend and Headmaster of a prestigious Colonial Singapore and murder! Great reading!It's the early 1900's in Singapore. So realistic I felt I was there! Harriet Gordon, widowed and made childless in one fell swoop in India due to Typhus, went home to England. It was there she came in contact with the Suffragette Movement, an organization that espoused those things she'd not only envisioned, but felt deeply. That path ended badly and she joined her brother in Colonial Singapore where he is the Reverend and Headmaster of a prestigious boys school for expats.Wanting to at least earn some sort of living (any work she does for the school is unpaid) Harriet takes out an advertisement to work as a private secretary.Sir Oswald Newbold is deciding to write his memoirs and calls on her services. Unfortunately when Hattie arrives she finds Sir Oswald dead with his throat cut.Inspector Robert Curran is quite taken with the sensibility of Harriet when he arrives at the crime scene. Throughout his investigation Harriet is there in deducing things, if not prior to the Inspector, then not far behind.All trails point towards Burma, Sir Oswald's explorations, ruby mining and scraps of clues that include a defunct reference to the East India Company.As the story progresses we see the cultural divide between the colonialists and Singaporeans. The author strikes just the right note as the various cultural interact.Curran comes under the fire of gossip, almost to the point of social,ostracism because he has Singaporean mistress. However as he's a sterling cricketer much is forgiven. Curran tells Harriet, "Li An is more important to me than social acceptance.” Curran would marry her but Khoo Li An doesn't want him to fly in the face of his compatriots.I wonder where this devoted relationship will go to in the future"If future plots are as complex and delicious as this I am looking forward to more of Curran and Harriet and any futher investigative undertakings.An intriguing and throughly enjoyable read! A Berkley Publication via NetGalley
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  • Sherwood Smith
    January 1, 1970
    This impeccably researched historical mystery is closer to thriller than it is to romance, though the two lead characters are the widowed suffragette Harriet Gordon and Inspector Robert Curran, who many of the British imperialists living in Singapore tsk over because they feel he's "gone native."Some readers might object to the very nature of the book, depicting English people during the height of the imperial period (on the verge of its fall); I thought Stuart did a superb job of walking that k This impeccably researched historical mystery is closer to thriller than it is to romance, though the two lead characters are the widowed suffragette Harriet Gordon and Inspector Robert Curran, who many of the British imperialists living in Singapore tsk over because they feel he's "gone native."Some readers might object to the very nature of the book, depicting English people during the height of the imperial period (on the verge of its fall); I thought Stuart did a superb job of walking that knife-edge between depicting people of the time, and yet not offering the unexamined prejudices of that period as admirable or nostalgic.It was a delight watching Gordon and Curran form a friendship and partnership, each respecting the other's intelligence and skills. I loved Harriet's brother, the gentle headmaster/pastor of a struggling English school. Also a delight was the care Stuart took to give all her characters, even the ones appearing for half a page, enough complexity to make me care for them, or dread them in the case of certain ones. Even the dead took on personality.Stuart's vivid descriptions of the torrid climate and flora of the area also impressed me. Altogether this book looks to be the start of a very promising series.Copy provided by NetGalley
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    After losing her husband and son in India, Harriet Gordon works at a school in Singapore where her clergyman brother Julian serves as headmaster. She decides to offer stenography services to provide income. She discovers her client Oswald Newbold's murdered body. Harriet's skills impress Inspector Curran. A clue VOC, which most people consider the old East India Company, surfaces. Inspector Curran and Harriet both know it must bear a different meaning. As the investigation begins to focus on the After losing her husband and son in India, Harriet Gordon works at a school in Singapore where her clergyman brother Julian serves as headmaster. She decides to offer stenography services to provide income. She discovers her client Oswald Newbold's murdered body. Harriet's skills impress Inspector Curran. A clue VOC, which most people consider the old East India Company, surfaces. Inspector Curran and Harriet both know it must bear a different meaning. As the investigation begins to focus on the victim's past, multiple suspects emerge.1910 Singapore offers an interesting setting. I read an advance review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Minx
    January 1, 1970
    In Singapore Sapphire, Harriet Gordon was a fascinating three-dimensional character who had a sorrowful past scattered with dark moments that she desperately wanted to keep hidden. She worried how her past would affect her brother if it was ever to come to light. He was a good man who put himself into a rather precarious position in order to offer her a fresh start and she wanted to make sure that his decision never came to haunt him. To this end, Harriet tried to be as helpful as she could and In Singapore Sapphire, Harriet Gordon was a fascinating three-dimensional character who had a sorrowful past scattered with dark moments that she desperately wanted to keep hidden. She worried how her past would affect her brother if it was ever to come to light. He was a good man who put himself into a rather precarious position in order to offer her a fresh start and she wanted to make sure that his decision never came to haunt him. To this end, Harriet tried to be as helpful as she could and planned to create as little disruption as possible.As a way to show her gratitude, Harriet worked for her brother at a preparatory school for young boys but that position was without income. In an effort to bring in some income for herself and also to help provide more for brother, Harriet, experienced in both shorthand and typing, advertised her services as a secretary to anyone willing to pay. What she never expected was that her advertisement would be answered by a man whose time was measured in days.When Harriet went to her employer’s home to retrieve a personal item left there, she never imagined that she would become entangled in a mysterious murder that would bring her to the attention of Inspector Robert Curran. The last thing she ever wanted was to come to the attention of anyone in the policing profession, not to mention that it could also possibly bring the past she was so desperate to keep hidden out into the open. Something she feared more than a killer running loose.Curran knew from the start that Harriet was not like most women, but that did not mean that he wanted her meddling in his case either. Harriet was only too happy to let Curran lead the investigation into who killed her employer but when someone she felt a connection to went missing, she decided that she would do her part to see that justice was brought about. Neither Curran nor Harriet would have ever guessed that the murders they were trying to solve would lead to down a dark and twisted path where nothing was as it seemed and danger was just around the corner.Singapore Sapphire was a culturally rich historical mystery with a splash of romance. The writing clearly sets the stage and immerses the reader in colonial Singapore. It was an imaginative delight! At first, I was not the biggest fan of Curran but he did grow on me as the story went on, it especially helped things that he, grudgingly, came to appreciate Harriet’s insight and value. I loved Harriet from the start! She was a fascinating character with a past that evoked a ton of sympathy from me. In addition, I also felt that the entire cast of characters were well-developed and memorable. The mystery in the story is one that is filled with suspense, intrigue, and is long reaching. There is plenty to ponder while reading Singapore Sapphire and it is a historical mystery that I highly recommend.This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Berkley Prime Crime. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
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  • Jacqie
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this historical mystery set in early 20th century Singapore. The characters ring true to the time period, and I think the non-white characters may suffer lack of detail because of that.The idea of the Geographical Society was neat- one had to have a landmark named after oneself in order to belong. It seems like just the kind of thing that colonial Englishmen would do. I liked the two protagonist characters- they possessed the British virtues of stiff upper lips and honor, but weren't s I enjoyed this historical mystery set in early 20th century Singapore. The characters ring true to the time period, and I think the non-white characters may suffer lack of detail because of that.The idea of the Geographical Society was neat- one had to have a landmark named after oneself in order to belong. It seems like just the kind of thing that colonial Englishmen would do. I liked the two protagonist characters- they possessed the British virtues of stiff upper lips and honor, but weren't sticks in the mud. For whatever reason, I love the British stiff-upper lip thing no matter how unhealthy it would be in reality. I also liked the fact that the main characters were cognizant of the fact that not only had a white man been murdered, but his Singaporean servant as well, and they wanted justice for both. There is a kitten, a stiff-upper lip British child, smuggling (you can probably guess that from the title), villains cold as ice. Because of the villains it's a bit more bloody and serious than a cozy, but it doesn't wallow in gore either. Read this one if you need a bit of an escape (as long as you don't feel guilty going to romantic colonial Singapore) and want the good guys to win in the end. This is not a romance, but there's a hint of a slow burn of something possibly to come.
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  • Susanne
    January 1, 1970
    Some stories you just have to devour, they're so compelling. This is such a one. Harriet Gordon, widow, stenographer and suffragette, and the dedicated Inspector Curran, the not-quite gentleman detective, are two of my new favourite characters, brought together in colonial 1910 Singapore by a murder that spreads tentacles far and wide. As the title indicates, precious gems are involved, although Harriet herself is the real 'gem', a woman of education, principles, and, for the times, a very pract Some stories you just have to devour, they're so compelling. This is such a one. Harriet Gordon, widow, stenographer and suffragette, and the dedicated Inspector Curran, the not-quite gentleman detective, are two of my new favourite characters, brought together in colonial 1910 Singapore by a murder that spreads tentacles far and wide. As the title indicates, precious gems are involved, although Harriet herself is the real 'gem', a woman of education, principles, and, for the times, a very practical outlook on life. Having set herself up with a typewriter and using her shorthand skills, she is all set to begin contributing to the household coffers through her endeavours when she stumbles upon her new employer, dead, by violent means. What follows is a crime mystery that unfolds amidst the steaming tropical heat of Singapore pre-WW1. Stuart seamlessly blends real places, events, and historical figures, within her work of fiction, bringing the colonial outpost to life in all its riotous colour, smells, and prejudices. Any time a book has me lying awake thinking about the characters and the troubles they are embroiled in is a good read. In this case, I am delighted to know it is the first of a series. Highly recommended. I can't wait for Harriet's next adventure, and hope Inspector Curran is at her side.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    SINGAPORE SAPPHIRE by A M StuartIn the mood for a multiple murder/gem smuggling mystery with a bit of romance and family drama and a fair amount of diverse culture? Then this is your book.Harriet, newly arrived in Singapore in 1910, is the richly nuanced main character. Most characters are well developed, although a couple surprises near the end seem a bit “out of the blue.” The culture of colonial Singapore is clearly drawn. The main characters are mainly upper class British, with the requisite SINGAPORE SAPPHIRE by A M StuartIn the mood for a multiple murder/gem smuggling mystery with a bit of romance and family drama and a fair amount of diverse culture? Then this is your book.Harriet, newly arrived in Singapore in 1910, is the richly nuanced main character. Most characters are well developed, although a couple surprises near the end seem a bit “out of the blue.” The culture of colonial Singapore is clearly drawn. The main characters are mainly upper class British, with the requisite native servants and lower level functionaries. I read an e-book before publication and there was no glossary – one is sorely needed. The plot is fast moving and well developed. The writing is clear and expressive. The character listing helps keep the many persons straight. There are several murders, but not too much gruesomeness. The sex is merely alluded to. There is no foul language.4 of 5 stars
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  • Book Him Danno
    January 1, 1970
    A well composed mystery that will take you to Singapore during the early 20th century when it was very much a part of the British Empire. The story will transport you to a time and place you can only imagine. I felt as if I could feel the oppressive heat and humidity in addition to smelling the various odors that were described so vividly. The mystery was well defined and easy for the reader to follow.I have rated the book 4 stars and would recommend to any who enjoys a period tale.I voluntarily A well composed mystery that will take you to Singapore during the early 20th century when it was very much a part of the British Empire. The story will transport you to a time and place you can only imagine. I felt as if I could feel the oppressive heat and humidity in addition to smelling the various odors that were described so vividly. The mystery was well defined and easy for the reader to follow.I have rated the book 4 stars and would recommend to any who enjoys a period tale.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own based on my unbiased review.Thank you Frank for your review!
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  • Anita
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautifully written, cleverly-crafted murder mystery set in the unusual location of Singapore in 1910. Harriet Gordon is a multi-layered character with a tragic past and a secret she is at pains to keep from the critical Colonial society where she fled in an attempt to leave her past behind. However, even in the Far East, where nothing is quite what it seems and everyone has secrets, Hannah's suffragette past threatens to cast a blight on her future and that of her bachelor headmaster This is a beautifully written, cleverly-crafted murder mystery set in the unusual location of Singapore in 1910. Harriet Gordon is a multi-layered character with a tragic past and a secret she is at pains to keep from the critical Colonial society where she fled in an attempt to leave her past behind. However, even in the Far East, where nothing is quite what it seems and everyone has secrets, Hannah's suffragette past threatens to cast a blight on her future and that of her bachelor headmaster brother, Julian.Harriet is proud, practical, intelligent and not prone to hysterics, who harbours a deep-seated grief for her late husband and son. A grief which she succumbs to at certain moments, like her sympathy for a motherless pupil at the school her brother runs and where she works part time to earn her keep. In fact, all the characters in this story are well rounded individuals, even the minor players, so I was engaged from the start with Harriet’s quest to find out who killed the man who employed her as a secretary for all of half an hour.A M Stuart’s knowledge of Singapore, its culture, society and colonial governance in the early 20th Century is extensive. She draws the reader right into the jungle in the rainy season with all its heavy humidity, noisy wildlife and smells, good and bad.The opening murder is only the beginning of the mystery as there is far more to uncover. The handsome Inspector Curran, who hates motor vehicles but loves cats and goes everywhere on horseback, enlists Harriet in his investigation. While he does the dogged police work, without really trying Harriet wheedles out clues among the teacups on the verandas of tropical bungalows.I understand this is the first in a series of mysteries involving Harriet Gordon and, I hope this includes the multi-faceted Curran. One of the biggest mysteries is will the couple succumb to their obvious attraction, or will Curran’s reputation of having ‘gone native’ be a barrier to any future they might have?I look forward to seeing where the personal stories of Harriet, Julian and even young William will go as well as immersing myself in another mystery in Singapore.I received a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review
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  • Denise
    January 1, 1970
    Are you in the mood for historical fiction that features a very interesting cast of characters faced with solving a series of murders and what appears to be a gem smuggling operation in colonial Singapore? If so, then this is the book for you! First in a new series featuring Harriet Gordon, a young widow who is staying with her brother, Reverend Julian Edwards, headmaster at St. Thomas School for English Boys. Harriet has a past in England that she was most eager to escape and came to Singapore Are you in the mood for historical fiction that features a very interesting cast of characters faced with solving a series of murders and what appears to be a gem smuggling operation in colonial Singapore? If so, then this is the book for you! First in a new series featuring Harriet Gordon, a young widow who is staying with her brother, Reverend Julian Edwards, headmaster at St. Thomas School for English Boys. Harriet has a past in England that she was most eager to escape and came to Singapore to help out at the school. She's intelligent and rebellious, a former suffragette, and has some secretarial skills. Indeed, it is those abilities that lead her to finding the body of her new employer, Sir Oswald Newbold, a former famous explorer of Burma and who is credited with finding mines there that produce beautiful rubies and sapphires. She was meant to transcribe his memoirs for publication when he winds up dead in his ransacked home. Enter Inspector Robert Curran of the Straits Settlements Police Force Detective Branch. And thus starts the unraveling of the crime and surrounding mystery. NO SPOILERS.Set in the tropical environment of 1910 Singapore, the sights, sounds and smell of the settlement come alive. The descriptions make you feel as if you are there suffering the humidity and heat along with the characters as they investigate the case. The writing is excellent and the pace of the story is perfectly matched to the climate and the time period. I enjoyed the development and the backstory of each of the people who inhabit the story and can't wait to learn more about them as I look forward to reading the next installment -- which, darn it, is probably quite some time away. I loved reading about this particular part of the world and am now finding myself doing a little research about Colonial Singapore and Burma and the Dutch East India Company. I loved the glossary and always find those translations helpful in really getting into a book set in a foreign locale. Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Books for this e-book ARC to read and review. Hurry up, A. M. Stuart as I am eager to visit Harriet again!
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  • Guylou
    January 1, 1970
    My daughter recently moved to Singapore and I thought it would be fun to read a book related to the history of this small country. Singapore Sapphire is the first book in a new series called Harriet Gordon Mystery. The story takes place in the early 1900’s. The book stars Harriet Gordon who just moved to Singapore to help her brother to run a school for boy. The school is unable to pay her so she advertises her services as a personal secretary. Her first client is an explorer who wants to publis My daughter recently moved to Singapore and I thought it would be fun to read a book related to the history of this small country. Singapore Sapphire is the first book in a new series called Harriet Gordon Mystery. The story takes place in the early 1900’s. The book stars Harriet Gordon who just moved to Singapore to help her brother to run a school for boy. The school is unable to pay her so she advertises her services as a personal secretary. Her first client is an explorer who wants to publish his memoirs. On her second day working, she discovers Sir Oswald Newbold murdered. Inspector Robert Curran handles the case and soon finds out that Ms. Gordon is a knack for detective work. Together they will discover who and why Sir Newbold was murdered.This is a well-written book. The story and characters are strong and interesting. The plot has all the right elements for a wonderful mystery. Great start for this new series.💁🏼‍️ Thank you, Berkley Publishing for sending me an ARC of this awesome new book. Singapore Sapphire by A. M. Stuart is available at your favourite bookstore.#dogsandbooks #poodles #poodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #poodletoday #pawsandbooks #petsandbooks #poodlesandbooks #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #book #books #booklover #bookish #bookdragon #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookaddicted #bookishcanadians #canadianbookstagram #singaporesapphire #amstuart #bookreview
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  • Shelagh
    January 1, 1970
    I’m a sucker for a good mystery and for me Singapore Sapphire ticked all the boxes. I loved the setting in early 20th century Singapore, a place rich in British colonial history. The setting truly comes alive thanks to the meticulous research of author A.M. Stuart. She clearly knows the area well and has used that knowledge to add an extra layer of richness to the story. It is the unceasing humidity of the tropics that particularly features as the tension escalates.I was truly invested in the fa I’m a sucker for a good mystery and for me Singapore Sapphire ticked all the boxes. I loved the setting in early 20th century Singapore, a place rich in British colonial history. The setting truly comes alive thanks to the meticulous research of author A.M. Stuart. She clearly knows the area well and has used that knowledge to add an extra layer of richness to the story. It is the unceasing humidity of the tropics that particularly features as the tension escalates.I was truly invested in the fate of Harriet Gordon, a widow living with her schoolmaster brother, doing unpaid work at his school while trying to earn a measure of independence by marketing her services in shorthand and typing. I couldn’t help but admire her both for her calm in the face of escalating adversity and for her logical approach to solving problems. Equally interesting was Inspector Robert Curran of the Straits Settlements Police Force, whose straightforward approach to investigating crime and his unconventional love life made him stand out.While the characters in this story are beautifully rounded, it is the plot that really carries the story. With twist after twist, it had me glued to the edge of my seat. I could almost feel the terror Harriet faced late in the story. As the first book in The Harriet Gordon series, Singapore Sapphire sets a high standard for the ensuing stories to achieve. I am very much looking forward to finding out what challenges Harriet will face next.
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  • LibraryLaur
    January 1, 1970
    An engrossing historical mystery with an exotic setting. I'm looking forward to the next in the series.*Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
  • Barbara Senteney
    January 1, 1970
    Harriet is a nice young woman who has lost her husband and child to colera. She decides to move to Singapore for a new beginning. She has to earn a living so after advertising in the newspaper she is hired by a wealthy eccentric to write his memoirs. Reporting to work to retrieve her typewriter she finds her employer and his man servant brutally murdered. Inspector Curran shows up to investigate and the mystery begins.What I thought was going to be a historical romance I soon found was truly a t Harriet is a nice young woman who has lost her husband and child to colera. She decides to move to Singapore for a new beginning. She has to earn a living so after advertising in the newspaper she is hired by a wealthy eccentric to write his memoirs. Reporting to work to retrieve her typewriter she finds her employer and his man servant brutally murdered. Inspector Curran shows up to investigate and the mystery begins.What I thought was going to be a historical romance I soon found was truly a thriller. On these pages you will find, ruthless criminal who will go to any links to get what they desire, even murder. You will find both men and women who wear multiple faces. You will feel the very depths of heartless abandon for life. You will find also men and women of great courage and unshakeable moral values. The romance you find will not be where you expect it. This however is not a romance story. The atmosphere is rich , so much you may feel a humid mist in the air, and find out how terror can make or break you. I could smell the rotting vegetation of the jungle. Feel the sweat forming upon worried brows, and see the wheels turning in Inspector Curran's eyes. Some things you may figure out and others will have to slowly spill from the page.I was sent this book in exchange for a fair honest review, all opinions are solely my own.
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  • Krystal
    January 1, 1970
    A very enjoyable mystery set in a part of the world I did not know much about. Harriet Gordon is an interesting new heroine who I enjoyed as a realistic and yet brave woman trying to rebuild her life in Singapore following tragedy in India and as a suffragette in London. She's given a fabulous partner in Inspector Robert Curran. Could I also just give a hat off to the author who has, so far anyway, made it clear this is a friendship and not a romance? The plot moves along nicely and never drags A very enjoyable mystery set in a part of the world I did not know much about. Harriet Gordon is an interesting new heroine who I enjoyed as a realistic and yet brave woman trying to rebuild her life in Singapore following tragedy in India and as a suffragette in London. She's given a fabulous partner in Inspector Robert Curran. Could I also just give a hat off to the author who has, so far anyway, made it clear this is a friendship and not a romance? The plot moves along nicely and never drags (a rarity lately so I very much appreciated a story that kept moving forward). I did figure out the one villain but not the second so I enjoyed that surprise and I very much enjoyed a few of the other small twists as the mystery resolved itself. I especially enjoyed the detail the author shared of the time and place of the story. Singapore of 1910 truly came alive on these pages along and with it a cast of characters I am looking forward to seeing another mystery from in the future.*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review*
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    Harriet Gordon, who is in Singapore to start her life over, has just started a job helping an old man type up his memoirs when she finds him dead, messily murdered in his haunted bungalow at the beginning of A.M. Stuart’s transporting mystery debut, Singapore Sapphire. Unlike a lot of mysteries in which ordinary people blunder their way into a criminal investigation, Harriet has a partner, Detective Robert Curran, who seems willing to listen to her and never tries to talk her into not doing thin Harriet Gordon, who is in Singapore to start her life over, has just started a job helping an old man type up his memoirs when she finds him dead, messily murdered in his haunted bungalow at the beginning of A.M. Stuart’s transporting mystery debut, Singapore Sapphire. Unlike a lot of mysteries in which ordinary people blunder their way into a criminal investigation, Harriet has a partner, Detective Robert Curran, who seems willing to listen to her and never tries to talk her into not doing things. Even though there are the requisite moments of casual sexism and colonial chauvinism, Robert and Harriet have a very enlightened outlook for 1910...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.
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  • Cathy Cole
    January 1, 1970
    A.M. Stuart's setting of Singapore in 1910 felt so real that, as I read, I wondered how on earth women could survive there back in the days of acres of petticoats, corsets, and no air conditioning. The pace of Singapore Sapphire did drag a bit from time to time, mostly due to its being the first book in a series and the need to set up both characters and story, but there is a strong mystery that kept me guessing. The one thing I didn't keep guessing about-- the single clue about the murderous gr A.M. Stuart's setting of Singapore in 1910 felt so real that, as I read, I wondered how on earth women could survive there back in the days of acres of petticoats, corsets, and no air conditioning. The pace of Singapore Sapphire did drag a bit from time to time, mostly due to its being the first book in a series and the need to set up both characters and story, but there is a strong mystery that kept me guessing. The one thing I didn't keep guessing about-- the single clue about the murderous group of bad guys-- is something the characters in the book couldn't seem to get straight, so I have to admit that I did get exasperated with them.The two leads, Harriet and Curran, are strong, interesting characters that can certainly carry a series on their shoulders, but I did wonder about Harriet even after her mysterious past was laid bare. She seemed to cry at the drop of a hat, and she seemed to get ravenously hungry so often that I thought she may be hypoglycemic.Yes, Singapore Sapphire is a strong, solid start to a new historical mystery series, but I'm not sure that I will continue with it. As good as the two lead characters are, they really didn't "grab" me and make me want to read more. Of course, your mileage will certainly vary!
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  • Misti
    January 1, 1970
    This started a little slow, but the characters and setting are just so interesting that I was hooked before too long. The mystery was good, even though I guessed parts of it. I just really loved the characters. They made the story come alive. The descriptions of Singapore were also fantastic. Having been there in modern times, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for a British woman in the early 1900’s, in the oppressive humidity (says the girl from very dry Utah). This is the start of a This started a little slow, but the characters and setting are just so interesting that I was hooked before too long. The mystery was good, even though I guessed parts of it. I just really loved the characters. They made the story come alive. The descriptions of Singapore were also fantastic. Having been there in modern times, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for a British woman in the early 1900’s, in the oppressive humidity (says the girl from very dry Utah). This is the start of a series and I will be putting the next one on my auto-buy list.
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  • Cathleen Ross
    January 1, 1970
    What a wonderful read by AM Stuart. 1910 The indomitable Harriet Gordon discovers a murder but instead of falling apart shows her merit. The book is full of wonderful nuanced characters who bring the book to life. The writing is lively and interesting and I really enjoyed the novel. Look forward to reading the next one.
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  • Jenny T.
    January 1, 1970
    A murder mystery set in Singapore 1910 involving many expats. Harriet Gordon hopes to make some extra money by advertising services for shorthand & typing. Unfortunately she finds her first client murdered and with the help of Inspector Robert Curran of the local police uncovers an entire criminal team. I liked how the author depicted the characters during this period of history with sensory capturing descriptions of the country.Thanks to the Berkley Marketing Team for the copy of this book.
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  • Amy Rose Bennett
    January 1, 1970
    What a fabulous read! I love historical mysteries and Ms. Stuart's book ticked all the boxes for me: an intriguing and cleverly-plotted murder mystery; compelling, well-crafted characters; a fascinating setting, and impeccable research woven effortlessly into the story. Brava, Ms. Stuart. I can't wait for the second Harriet Gordon Mystery!
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  • Gemma F
    January 1, 1970
    Jul 16, 2019A historical fiction novel set in my country? I couldn’t ask for anything better!
  • Lynette Williams
    January 1, 1970
    a very well researched of life and times in Singapore a hard to put down story until last page --waiting for the next episode in the story
  • Rosemary
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyable read. Looking forward to more Harriet and Curran.
  • Roslyn Stillman
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book by Ms Stuart that I have read. It is very different from the historical romances I usually read. I found it very well written, with lots of mystery, intrigue and suspense to keep me turning the page. I found as one mystery was revealed another one came along. I enjoyed the fact that I thought I had worked out who done it only to find I was wrong and needed to keep going right up till the end. The characters were well written so that you could relate to them and they worked This is the first book by Ms Stuart that I have read. It is very different from the historical romances I usually read. I found it very well written, with lots of mystery, intrigue and suspense to keep me turning the page. I found as one mystery was revealed another one came along. I enjoyed the fact that I thought I had worked out who done it only to find I was wrong and needed to keep going right up till the end. The characters were well written so that you could relate to them and they worked together beautifully. The setting was intriguing and so different from the usual historical novel. There was no romance or sex in this book but there was passion which made the characters feel much more human. It was a lovely change from dukes and debutantes and I know I will be reading more. I received this book as and ARC and was very happy to give it a review.
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  • Bebe (Sarah) Brechner
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this story, it’s characters (particularly the wonderfully real main character Harriet Gordon), the fabulous setting and period (early 20th century Singapore), and, of course, the truly intriguing plot. This is a very well rendered historical novel which introduces the fascinating Harriet, her supportive brother, and a few other characters which I anticipate will become part of future stories. And we must, must have more stories! This is the first in what promises to be a favor I absolutely loved this story, it’s characters (particularly the wonderfully real main character Harriet Gordon), the fabulous setting and period (early 20th century Singapore), and, of course, the truly intriguing plot. This is a very well rendered historical novel which introduces the fascinating Harriet, her supportive brother, and a few other characters which I anticipate will become part of future stories. And we must, must have more stories! This is the first in what promises to be a favorite series. Well done!
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