Frog Music, Hardback
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


San Francisco, 1876: a stifling heat wave and smallpox epidemic have engulfed the City.

Deep in the streets of Chinatown live three former stars of the Parisian circus: Blanche, now an exotic dancer at the House of Mirrors, her lover Arthur and his companion Ernest.

When an eccentric outsider joins their little circle, secrets unravel, changing everything - and leaving one of them dead. Inspired by true events, Frog Music, by Emma Donoghue, author of the award-winning Room, is an evocative novel of intrigue and murder: elegant, erotic and witty.




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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I found reading this book a bit of a slog. The premise was exciting - a murder in 1876 San Francisco, Chinatown, smallpox, a heat-wave and three French ex-circus performers at the heart of things.Blanche is an exotic dancer and enthusiastic whore, Arthur, ex-trapeze artist is her lover. One day Blanche bumps into Jenny - a notorious character in SF, and this meeting will change everything.Jumping about from all over the past to the present, and written in the present tense - the structure of this novel was too messy, just like Blanche's petticoats. Added to that Blanche was a pain, always fussing and moaning (moaning in more than one way too! Jenny was a brilliant character and I'd have loved much more of her and less Blanche. The French glossary was useful though for exotic swear-words.

Review by

4.25 starsIt is the late 1800s. Blanche is a dancer/prostitute. She came to San Francisco from France with her lover, Arthur. When Jenny, who dresses like a man in trousers, literally runs into Blanche on a bicycle, they become friends and things change for both women forever; soon after, Jenny is murdered. Blanche thinks the murderer meant to kill her.The book starts with Jenny's murder, then backs up to one month earlier when Jenny and Blanche met. The book goes back and forth between the time following Jenny's murder, when Blanche is trying to find out what happened, and it leads up to the murder. I really liked this. I was hooked right away. I can't really say I liked Blanche much, but I kind of liked Jenny. She maybe wasn't a super-likable character, but there was still something likable about her. I listened to the audio, and the narrator did a really good job with all the different accents (French, Irish, American?), so the extra ¼ star is for the narrator.

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