Sunday, February 16, 2014
Bloody Lessons, by M. Louisa Locke
Making late 19th century San Francisco come alive to all of the senses is Locke's best trick. Locke's research exposed the fact that in December 1879, just a month before Bloody Lessons opens, the newly elected city school board, in an attempt to cut the costs of public education despite rising enrollments, slashed the salaries of the primary school teachers––in some cases cutting their monthly salaries in half. This fact and other information presented in Locke's dissertation ‘Like Machine or an Animal:’ Working Women of the Far West in the Late Nineteenth Century serve as the factual underpinnings and jumping off point for a story about mischief taking place in the San Francisco schools that impacts Nate Dawson's sister, Laura. Annie Fuller and her band of boarding house cronies investigate, though without the aid of Annie's alter ego Madame Sybil.