Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Calico Spy Book Review

Hello again friends.  Today's book review will also include some fun history about Harvey Girls!  I hope you enjoy it and are as intrigued as I am to learn more about them, and you also give this book a try.  
CLICK HERE to purchase
Calico Spy – Undercover Ladies Book 3
Margaret Brownley

•°o Wonderful Pinkerton Mystery Set in Kansas o°•

Opening scripture: The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. -Nahum 1:7

1880 Calico, Kansas
Two women have been murdered and it’s up to Katie Madison to go undercover as a Harvey Girl and find the killer.  Unfortunately she has NO experience as a waitress, hostess, or food handler of any sort.  It was fun to watch her muddle through and try to learn the “cup code”.
P. 9 “Tonight you’re the drink girl.  Do you think you can handle that?” Plastering a smile on her face, she nodded. How hard could it be to pour tea?
china made especially for Harvey House by Syracuse China. Pictured above is the Harvey House Normandy hand-painted pattern of a bowl, plate and cup.
P. 10 “You do know the cup code, right?”  “Uh?” There was a code for cups? “Cup in the saucer means coffee.” “A flipped cup against the saucer for ICED tea.  A cup next to the saucer –milk.” “As for hot tea, the cup will be flipped upon the saucer.” He then explained how to tell if the customer wanted black, green or orange pekoe tea by the direction of the cup handle. “Any questions?”
A 'Harvey Girl' in Emporia, Kan., where that
restaurant  opened in 1888.

Harvey Girls were required to where clean, starched uniforms of a black dress with high collar, starched white apron (which must be clean at all times, and therefore several were changed throughout the day), black shoes and stockings, and always, always have a big smile pasted on (uniforms would change and evolve with the times). 
 There were prominent restaurants located along the train stops, which made them very successful.  While it did give young women an opportunity to earn an honest living, it was also very hard on them.  They worked long days, and they had to live above the restaurant with a strict curfew, and were not allowed to marry while under contract.  I enjoyed getting to know the ins and outs of it all.  
Here is an interesting 2013 blog link with more detail on Harvey House: CLICK HERE
Wall Street Journal Article: CLICK HERE

Katie has a lot of issues with her past.  She lost her fiancé to her sister.  She believes she is ugly with her red hair and freckles.  She feels she is to blame for her father’s death.  But, she is a woman of faith, and a good detective. P. 31 “God, don’t let me mess up this job.  You know how my mouth gets away from me and I say things I shouldn’t. You have my permission to bang me on the head if I don’t curtail my tongue.  And please forgive my envious heart.  I’m sure You had a good reason for giving me hair the color of a rooster’s comb, and maybe one day You’ll let me know what that reason is.”  (Ha!) - She reminds me of Anne Shirley!
Throughout her investigation, she keeps putting herself in harms way.
However, a certain local sheriff is there to keep an eye on her. Branch Whitman has absolutely no use for Pinkerton detectives, but he has no idea she is one, until it’s too late.  He’s intrigued by the new Harvey Girl, and insists on keeping an eye on all the girls since two have already wound up dead, and he has an open investigation to run.  But, he dare not get to close since his wife died 8 years ago, and his responsibilities are stretched thin between his son and his job.  He is stubborn, but kind and a praying man. 
There are past secrets to uncover, old wounds that need mending, and trust is a hard thing to give when so many are suspect, and some might just be plain crazy.  

Amusing tea reference: P.43 "He was a high-strung man with a pencil-thin mustache and a tea-strainer nose." {Yikes, can you imagine?}

Definition: I had to look up what what cackleberries were from P.87.  They are diner talk for hens eggs. -smile.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to others.

The author has shared she has written these as stand-alone-stories, so you can read them in any order.  They simply have the same theme of female Pinkerton agent. The story ends well, with no lingering questions which is always a plus.

Included at the end of the book: Discussion Questions, and a bit of interesting commentary on detective work.

I purchased this book from CBD and I am offering my honest opinion for no compensation.
©2016/01 Shiloh Run Press-Barbour Publishing
312 Pages
Read 01/25/2016
Reviewed 01/26/2016

SERIES: Undercover Ladies
*Petticoat Detective – Book 1 – 2014 (5 stars) MY GOODREADS REVIEW - CLICK HERE
*Undercover Bride – Book 2 – 2015 (5 stars - MY BLOG REVIEW  CLICK HERE)
*Calico Spy – Book 3 – 01/2016 

Hugs and a cup of tea,

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