Going Where the Wind Blows by Jan Christensen

WIND
Going Where the Wind Blows by Jan Christensen
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical
Length: Short Story (13 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Someone killed Bill, and whoever it was stole all the money.

Rita Mae came to San Francisco in the late 1800s with her man to find a better life, never mind the fact that said new life involved plans to rob a few banks. When Bill is murdered, Rita Mae starts turning tricks while she tries to find the killer and, even more importantly, the bankroll. When her new job results in her involvement in yet another murder, Rita Mae discovers her problems are only just beginning.

Sometimes a gal just can’t win.

Rita Mae has only been working as a prostitute for a short time, but she can usually tell at a glance what whether or not someone has good intentions. Why, then, is she having so much trouble figuring out who killed her fiancé?

In a few short sentences, I formed a strong opinion about the type of person Rita Mae was and to what extent I believed her version of what happened to Bill. I wasn’t expecting to like her so much, but Rita Mae turned out to be my favourite character in this piece because of her refusal to judge others in the same ways they judged her for being a prostitute. The snippets of background information that leaked into certain scenes rounded out her character without slowing the plot down. We were given more than enough hints about Rita Mae’s early life to figure out why she made the decisions she did, but I still wished there could be more flashbacks to her childhood. She clearly had a memorable one, and while it wasn’t relevant to this story I found myself wanting to learn more about her life.

I figured out who the killer was early on in this tale, but the author whipped out a few plot twists at the last moment that made me gasp. In retrospect they make perfect sense, but it was delightful to be surprised in that manner just as I assumed the plot had revealed all of its juiciest secrets.

Going Where the Wind Blows is a tightly woven mystery that left me wishing for more. This is a great choice for anyone who prefers a subtle, intelligent approach to excavating clues and doesn’t mind being surprised by an unusual ending.

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