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BOOK REVIEW: Historic laundry dispute fuels mystery novel

Published on September 17, 2016 3:00AM

Last changed on September 19, 2016 7:36AM

Cover photo courtesy Yamhill Press

Cover photo courtesy Yamhill Press


The latest in S.L. Stoner’s historical mystery series, set in 1903 Portland, Ore., “The Mangle” has suave restaurateur Sage Adair and his friends investigating the shady dealings of the city’s steam laundry owners. Sage’s mother infiltrates one of the laundries in an attempt to discover how the owners plan to thwart the unionized employees, represented by the strong-willed Rachel Levy. But when Rachel’s sister goes missing, Sage and his many undercover cohorts suddenly are in a race against time to save the woman from a fate worse than death.

“The Mangle” was inspired by an actual 1903 labor dispute involving Portland’s steam laundry employees, who were seeking a 9-hour work day (instead of 10 hours), and a five-cent-an-hour raise in salary. Stoner pulls a multitude of historical threads together to depict the political climate, not only in turn-of-the-century Portland but in the wider world as well — a time when women’s suffrage efforts were in their infancy and white slavery was rampant.

“The Mangle” is the sixth book in Stoner’s historical mystery series set in the Pacific Northwest in the early 20th century. The series mixes historical fact with convoluted, multi-layered plots and clever, complicated characters to bring local history to life in a refreshing way.

“The Mangle,” by S.L. Stoner. © 2016, Yamhill Press



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