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Women of no importance

From their brothels in lawless 1850s Monterrey, Eliza and Jean set out discover why their fellow workers are going missing

18 January 2023

10:00 PM

18 January 2023

10:00 PM

A Dangerous Business Jane Smiley

Abacus, pp.224, 16.99

Jane Smiley has form with mining classics for plots. Her 1991 Pulitzer winner A Thousand Acres was based on King Lear. Boccaccio’s The Decameron and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn also inspired two of her previous 15 novels. In A Dangerous Business, which is set in a brothel in lawless 1850s California, she does something slightly different, using Edgar Allan Poe’s fictional detective C.

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