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Murder on the Boulevard by Anne Sloan

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					Murder on the Boulevard by Anne Sloan
Set in 1912, Anne Sloan's "Murder on the Boulevard" gives the reader a
rather intimate look into the city of Houston, Texas during the years
before WWI and the time of suffragettes. For those who are familiar with
present-day Houston will enjoy reading about well-known street names and
the wonderment of the characters as they gawk at buildings up to sixteen
stories high!
Sloan's heroine Flora Logan is summoned back to Houston Heights from New
York City after being banished by her father four years earlier. The
mystery surrounding her father's death and the fate of his marble company
bring her back in contact with family and friends that she left behind.
On the train ride from New York City, she meets a young millionaire
pumping big bucks into Houston's skyline and his lawyer.
Flora's adventures bring her in frequent contact with the lawyer Max
Andrews and, much to her chagrin, begins to fall for him, entirely
against her feminist ideals. She alternately views him as charming then
antagonistic.
As she begins to probe into her father's death, Flora finds hints that
there may have been some shady dealings within his marble company. The
secretary her dad hired seems to have duties outside the office that
aren't exactly aboveboard. What disturbs Flora the most is the man
indirectly responsible for her banishment is a supervisor, also hired by
her father. Before she was sent away, Flora had made a trip alone to
Beaumont when her parents had left town on a short trip. For a young
woman to travel unaccompanied was unheard of in those days. A business
associate of her father's gave Flora a ride from the train station in
Beaumont to an isolated place of botanical interest to her, promising to
return for her later in the day. When he failed to show up, Flora walked
back to town, only to find out that her parents had returned early.
Finding her not at home, they had alerted the police departments all over
southeast Texas for her.
She refused to implicate the man and therefore brought "shame" to the
family, resulting in her exile. Four years later, that same man is now
working at the marble company and appears to have no remorse or
conscience about his abandonment of her.
Flora's stay in New York City has put her far ahead of her friends'
ideals of marriage, men and womanhood, and sometimes put her in conflict
with the Houstonian way of thinking at that time. Her training in botany
gets her into as much trouble as her liberated woman views do. It was
unusual for a woman to have any type of advanced education.
Her wit, intelligence and spunk help her solve the mystery, but those
characteristics are what draw the reader to Flora. Ms. Sloan has
developed a character that we like, cheer for and sympathize with. The
confrontation between Flora and her father's secretary was a great scene,
but too brief and the only one in the book. More pages like this could
help bring out Flora's personality much more and would make reading more
fun, as well.
We can see how far our culture has progressed from the attitudes a
century ago, as Flora rages against the limited expectations of women,
who were raised to be wives, mothers and homemakers and not to think for
themselves or have opinions.
"Murder on the Boulevard" is a pleasant and enjoyable read that does not
take itself too seriously. It remains well-grounded and charming.

				
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posted:10/17/2010
language:English
pages:1