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The Golden Gate - an entertaining combination of mystery thriller & historical fiction.

The setting is Berkley, California. In 1944, in the Claremont Hotel, wealthy industrialist and presidential hopeful William Wilkinson was found murdered. Was this politically motivated or personal? Homicide Detective Al Sullivan is determined to find out. Three granddaughters of the wealthy Genevieve Bainbridge become early suspects: Isabella Stafford and her cousins, Cassie and Nicole Bainbridge. Isabella's younger sister Iris had died ten years before in the same hotel. The death of the seven-year-old was attributed to it being an accident but the actual cause remained a mystery. As Sullivan investigates the murder, clues also lead him to Madame Chiang Kai-shek, who was rumored to be having an affair with Wilkinson. Issues of race and class distinction arise while investigating the case as Sullivan, whose real name is Alejo Gutiérrez, choses to keep his half-Mexican heritage a secret. The war rages overseas as California is placing its Japanese citizens in harsh internment camps presented as country club-like settings, Chinese gangs gain power in the streets and the wealthy class try to distance themselves from it all. And Genevieve Bainbridge may not be able to keep one of her granddaughters out of jail.


The Golden Gate is the fiction debut for author Amy Chua (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother). The inclusion of real-life historical figures and events add to the appeal of this old-fashioned style detective story. While not a long book at under 400 pages, there were several subplots and so many characters plus the historical background that it was a slower read than normal. But it was worthwhile and very enjoyable. Perhaps Chua will bring Detective Sullivan back in a future book. I'll surely look out for more fiction from this author.


Many thanks to Minotaur Books / St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this engaging book in advance. The gorgeous cover perfectly set the stage for the story.


Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Mystery Thriller | Historical Fiction.

Publication Date: September 19, 2023.


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