Reviews for Death on the Funeral Yacht

Brava, Jane! As a mathematician and a woman pilot, I remember what we women put up with in the man’s world of the 1950s. Death on the Funeral Yacht will make you cheer for Jane and keep you guessing.

Marjorie Bicknell Johnson, Author of Lost Jade of the Maya, Jaguar Princess, and Bird Watcher.

Hang on to your reading glasses for not only is Death on the Funeral Yacht an entertaining yarn, but a jaunt of one woman’s journey through the male dominated business world of 1950s San Francisco where the feminine gender has little opportunities in the boardroom. Not so for our smart and sassy heroine Jane Kitteridge who works her way up the success ladder with guts, degrees, and moxie. Along the way, we meet the boss you’ll love to hate, JL, the glamorous Susanna De Luigi, best pal Marla and her parents who own an Italian deli.

Effortlessly marrying the history of midcentury America with the vivid lives of the characters, San Francisco becomes another character, charmingly interspersing historic events, people, and places into the story line all leading to a satisfying surprise ending. 

Mary Miller Chiao’s first novella is a winner. I recommend it and can’t wait for more from this talented author.

Jeanne C. Carbone, Former Times Media, Inc., Manager Editor

I have read this book several times. It’s a fun read and one I can identify with. I was cheering on our Jane the whole time. I usually can figure out a mystery and know the ending before I get there. Not this time. I highly recommend Death on the Funeral Yacht by Mary Miller Chiao.

Luanna K. Leisure, Author of Mystery at Lone Oak Ranch, Best Buds, Quack, Quack, I Want My Feathers Back, Best of our Memoirs, and Ledra’s Book.

I really enjoyed this short mystery novel. Once started, I read straight through to the end. The author obviously knows San Francisco well, and I liked the feel of place. Her story was also a stark reminder that the “Happy Days” of the 1950’s were not so happy for career women. I was not bored; I did not have to suspend judgement as the mystery progressed—no mutterings of “Well, that would never have happened.” I never would have guessed the very satisfying ending. I’ve read many a mystery by well-known authors that I did not enjoy as much as this one.

Pat Stempski

Very well written and intriguing book with a touch of tongue in cheek humor. It kept me spellbound and giving a thumbs up to the heroine on her manner of dealing with situations. I would gladly buy another from this talented writer.

Len Anderson

Reading Death on the Funeral Yacht produced more smiles, laughs and guffaws than anything I’ve experienced since the lockdown started. It was a breath of fresh air, a few hours of delight, a dose of happy memories of the 1950’s San Francisco. Chiao’s meticulous attention to historical details sets this story apart; she’s clearly a meticulous researcher. The novella is not only fun to read, it could well be assigned in a 20th century U.S. history class.

The author describes the treatment of talented women in the professions during the 1950’s so accurately that I see in her character, Jane Kitteridge, many women I have known. To top it all off is the surprising plot twist at the end.

My only regret is that it was so short. I wanted to stay in the cocoon the author had spun for hours stretching into days. I only hope that Mary Chiao soon follows this novel with many more.

Irene Groot

I thoroughly enjoyed Mary Miller Chiao’s page-turning thriller Death on the Funeral Yacht which brings San Francisco in the 1950s to life. It was exciting to live in the world of protagonist Jane Kitteridge, who fought against gender stereotype to become an attorney, while stepping through the mystery of attorney Jay Lucas’ death.

Lorraine Gabbert

I just finished your book and it was a mixture of all the … forensic/lawyers/law officer heroine stories that I love. So well done! I love how you kept Jane real with her feelings and little paybacks … The final story was spellbinding … My only comment is I was sad that the book ended with this delightful person being 90 years old. She could have continued on with many more wonderful adventures with her faithful Marla in tow. To be able to hold a book and not want to put it down was indeed a novelty.

Patricia Dennis

Review for Miss Sarah Brown, Daughter of Abolitionist John Brown

It is hard to believe, more than 150 years after the Civil War, that many Americans are still suffering the effects of enslavement. Writer Mary Miller Chiao is adding one more story to the literature of America’s Abolition Movement with this biography of Sarah Brown, the seventeenth child of Abolitionist John Brown.

One of the most influential members of the Brown family, Sarah Brown moved to Saratoga, California, with her mother and surviving family members. She was a talented artist, educated and trained in art through the financial generosity of the Secret Six, the abolitionist cabal who encouraged and subsidized her father.

Although the American Constitution says, “all members are created equal,” the men who wrote those words were slave holders themselves. It took a small but determined group of abolitionists to challenge those words and support the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Words alone were not enough. Constitutional amendments and court challenges have been needed in order to begin to make a difference. Many people, such as John Brown, felt extremist action was necessary.

John Brown was determined to end slavery. His family supported his views and several of his sons lost their lives in militant activities. In October of 1859, John Brown led his notorious uprising against the Federal Armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, hoping to capture weapons to arm slaves and mount an insurrection. After his capture and execution, his widow and remaining family members migrated to California, where they continued to serve the abolitionist cause in quiet ways.

Writer Mary Miller Chiao has been investigating the life of Sarah Brown for many years. This fascinating story is important to our understanding of John Brown and his legend.

April Halberstadt, Historian