“Death at Chinatown” by Frances McNamara— Making the Decision

death at chinatown

McNamara, Frances. “Death at Chinatown”, (Emily Cabot Mysteries: Volume 5), Allium Press of Chicago, 2014.

Making the Decision

Amos Lassen

It is 1986 in the summer and Emily Cabot, an amateur detective meets two Chinese women who have medical degrees who have had to make very difficult choices in order to pursue the career they wanted. But then one of the women was accused of murder by poisoning a Chinese herbalist. Emily soon is involved in the murder examination. Aside from that Emily has her own personal problems to deal with—she and her husband have had a quarrel, a political uprising has begun and her family has received threats. There are also those never ending issues—restrictions on immigration, the conflict between Western and Eastern medicine, and women’s struggle to balance family and work.

Even though this is fiction, there are several very real historical characters: Mary Stone and Ida Kahn are two real Chinese women doctors, and descendants of the Moy family are still in Chicago.

This is McNamara’s fifth novel in the Emily Cabot series. Cabot also has to deal with her own guilt in leaving her family to work on the case even though she has her husband’s full support. She hesitates having to leave her two children with a maid as she studies sociology and criminology. We actually feel that we are on a very real visit to 1896 America.

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