Review by Gregg E. Brickman

Death Turns a Trick: A Rebecca Schwartz Mystery by Julie Smith is set in early 1980’s San Francisco.

Rebecca Schwartz, an accomplished pianist and a semi-dutiful Jewish daughter, is a young lawyer with a budding practice that she shares with her best friend. Rebecca is developing a reputation as the lawyer and spokesperson for a local organization representing the interests of many of the city’s prostitutes, who she represents when required.

Rebecca meets a handsome new boyfriend and takes him along to a bordello where she has consented to fill in for the piano player. An affluent group of young professional types reserved the bordello for a party. The prostitutes–it was a co-op bordello, with all the girls sharing the profits–suspend their usual evening business to serve the guests and their dates. Rebecca’s boyfriend takes off, then reappears looking upset. Then the door bursts open, someone yells “raid”, and the lights go out. Rebecca’s night goes downhill from there.

Death Turns a Trick was originally published in 1982 by a traditional publisher. It has been republished in eBook format by booksBnimble Publishing. I acquired my copy as a free eBook from Amazon. I very much enjoyed the view of San Francisco from thirty years ago and still recognized many of the streets and places she mentioned from my recent visit there.

This, of course, is a backlist book and was not written as a historical. I didn’t miss references to cell phones or computers and found the story transcended time with ease. It was a quick, entertaining, and enjoyable read. She has several others from her backlist available, which I will read and likely review as time goes on.

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