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Under the Dragon's Tail

(1998)
(The second book in the Detective Murdoch series)
A novel by

 
 
Maureen Jennings sets up this 19th-century tale of blackmail and murder rather like a jigsaw puzzle: each chapter introduces new clues, new characters, and new points of view until the complete picture is revealed. As we discover who might have suffocated Dolly Shaw, a capricious, demanding drunkard, Jennings explores the permutations and stratifications of society in Toronto at the close of the century. Although the victim is a violent, scheming wretch of humble dwelling and few connections, her death draws in the range of men and women who employed her services in her profession as a midwife: the wife of a prominent judge who seems to care for little except fashionable clothes and her young ward; a theatrical performer who sells her various talents both before and behind the stage; and the detective, William Murdoch, who tries to solve the mystery and appease his own loneliness after the death of his fiancée.

Jennings has a subtle touch. She not only explores Canadian society caught between the stiffer British and the more freewheeling Americans but also considers the period's reliance on patent medicines for everything from inducing miscarriages to promoting virility; examines the shifting athletic interests after the introduction of the bicycle; and evokes the stink of stale beer sold cheaply to the city's poor. Her ear for 19th-century language is more true and her evil deeds are less foul than those of Anne Perry. And while she lacks the rollicking good humor of Elizabeth Peters (although there are a few light moments), she is much more accessible than the sometimes impermeable Peter Ackroyd. Under the Dragon's Tail is a worthwhile book and a solid follow-up to Jennings's first, Except the Dying. --K.A. Crouch

Genre: Historical Mystery

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Used availability for Maureen Jennings's Under the Dragon's Tail

Hardback Editions

August 1998 : USA Hardback
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Title: Under the Dragon's Tail
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
ISBN: 0-312-19348-3 / 978-0-312-19348-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

September 2012 : Canada Paperback
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Title: Under the Dragon's Tail
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
ISBN: 0-7710-9597-X / 978-0-7710-9597-9 (Canada edition)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


1735 : UK Paperback
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Title: Murdoch Mysteries - Under the Dragon's Tail
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
ISBN: 0-85768-988-6 / 978-0-85768-988-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Titan Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


May 2010 : Canada Paperback
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Title: Under the Dragon's Tail
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
ISBN: 0-7710-4335-X / 978-0-7710-4335-2 (Canada edition)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


May 2005 : Canada Mass Market Paperback
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Title: Under the Dragon's Tail
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
ISBN: 0-7710-4399-6 / 978-0-7710-4399-4 (Canada edition)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


October 1999 : USA Paperback
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Title: Under the Dragon's Tail
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
ISBN: 0-06-109740-3 / 978-0-06-109740-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

May 2016 : USA MP3 CD
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Title: Under the Dragon's Tail (A Murdoch Mystery)
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
ISBN: 1-5226-0560-6 / 978-1-5226-0560-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 2012 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: Under the Dragon's Tail
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon CA   


June 2012 : UK Audio edition
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Title: Under the Dragon's Tail
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

February 2012 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Under the Dragon's Tail
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
Publisher: Titan Books
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


February 2009 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Under the Dragon's Tail (Murdoch Mysteries Book 2)
Author(s): Maureen Jennings
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA