San Francisco Nights by Greg Messel

September 1959.  The wife of a wealthy San Francisco shipping magnate leads a secret life but someone is threatening to expose her.  Private eye Sam Slater and his wife and partner, Amelia, meet a mysterious woman in a large red hat during a train trip. The woman approaches him pleading for help because she‘s receiving anonymous notes quoting Bible verses which are becoming more and more ominous with each passing day. Her secrets have been discovered but by whom? What really happens behind closed doors in Room 505 in a swanky downtown hotel?

Sam is willing to take the case but Amelia warns that this woman is nothing but trouble. What does the woman really want? She’s been watching Sam for months and has a scheme to pull him into her world.  

San Francisco Nights is Greg Messel's tenth book, and the seventh in his Sam Slater mystery series.

I enjoyed San Francisco Nights, and its evocative feel of the late 50s, with Sam Slater, former baseball star, and his wife Amelia Ryan, a former stewardess.  Not only is there the question of who is blackmailing Helen Latos, but the evil Simon Blanco returns from previous books in the series, now escaped from jail and stalking Amelia.  

I did feel that what happened in Room 505 was not much of a secret and poor Helen Latos was fooling herself if she really thought her affairs weren't obvious to the entire hotel staff.  The blackmailers were revealed too early and I would have liked to have seen a couple of red herrings thrown in.

That said, I found San Francisco Nights pleasant reading, the light escape that mysteries should be, into a world of baseball and private eyes and wealthy women in red hats and foggy nights.  There were a couple of definite unexpected twists toward the end--the first, a foiled first attempt at the blackmailers claiming the money, and a second that took me by surprise.

If you like mysteries, and if you like this era, give the Sam Slater series a try.  Greg is running a giveaway.  Enter to win autographed copies!  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author 

Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written ten novels. His latest is "San Francisco Nights" which is the seventh in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. "Shadows In The Fog," "Fog City Strangler," "San Francisco Secrets," "Deadly Plunge" are sequels to the first book in the series "Last of the Seals." His other three novels are "Sunbreaks," "Expiation" and "The Illusion of Certainty."

For a more detailed summary of Greg's novels go to 

Greg is currently working on his eleventh novel "Dreams That Never Were" which is not part of the mystery series.


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