Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; The Last Hundred Years trilogy: Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age; and Perestroika in Paris. She is also the author of several works of nonfiction and books for young adults. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has also received the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. She lives in Northern California. A Dangerous Business is her latest novel.
Book by Jane Smiley
A Dangerous Business
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of "A Thousand Acres" comes a western, serial-killer mystery.
In 1850s Gold Rush California two young prostitutes, best friends Eliza and Jean, attempt to find their way in a lawless town on the fringes of the Wild West—a bewitching combination of beauty and danger—as what will become the Civil War looms on the horizon.
Monterey, 1851. Ever since her husband was killed in a bar fight, Eliza Ripple has been working in a brothel. It seems like a better life, at least at first. The madam, Mrs. Parks, is kind, the men are (relatively) well behaved, and Eliza has attained what few women have: financial security. But when the dead bodies of young women start appearing outside of town, a darkness descends that she can't resist confronting. Side by side with her friend Jean, and inspired by her reading, especially by Edgar Allan Poe’s detective Dupin, Eliza pieces together an array of clues to try to catch the killer, all the while juggling clients who begin to seem more and more suspicious.