Singapore Sapphire

Singapore Sapphire

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...

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Title:Singapore Sapphire
Author:A.M. Stuart
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Singapore Sapphire Reviews

  • Brenda

    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

    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…

    is the 1st in the Harriet Gordon Mystery series by Aussie author A.M. Stuart (aka

    ) 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

    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.

  • Anna Lee Huber

    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.

  • Susanne

    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.

  • Helen

    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

    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.

  • eyes.2c

    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

    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

  • Jacqie

    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, b

    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.

  • Minx

    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.

  • Lori

    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.

  • Luffy

    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 m

    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.

  • Sherwood Smith

    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 wa

    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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