Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: A mining town high in the Rocky Mountains during the Colorado Silver Rush of the 1880's.
First sentence: If there was an arctic version of hell, Joe Rose was living it in Leadville, Colorado.
This novel is the first in Parker's Silver Rush mystery series.
Leadville, Colorado during the silver rush was a dangerous town. A smart person did not go out alone or unarmed. Unfortunately, Joe Rose found himself inebriated and alone in an alley at night. The next morning his body was found behind the Silver Queen saloon. Apparently, Joe had been trampled to death by a horse. Finding the body near the Silver Queen leads the local marshal to think that the owners of the Silver Queen might know something about the murder. The Silver Queen is owned and operated by Inez Stannert and her negro partner Abe Jackson.
Inez is good friends with Emma Rose, the wife of the victim. In order to clear her name, and to help Emma, Inez begins to ask questions. As she gather information about the murder, she learns that many of Leadville's citizens have personal secrets. Secrets they keep hidden by telling lies.
Inez herself, along with Abe, and Inez's missing husband once were part of a counterfeiting ring. The handsome new minister may not be who seems be. The clumsy bar helper, Useless, once worked at the finest brothel in town. And even the legendary lawman Bat Masterson arrives to provide Inez with some important information.
Over all, I enjoyed this novel. The middle of the story seemed to drag a little. But the climax was very exciting.
This novel put me in mind of other historical mysteries. Similar novels have an independent female lead who forms a friendship with a male character. I enjoy reading about these women who solve mysteries, and do not require a man to save the day. If you are a fan of M. Louisa Locke or P. B. Ryan, you might enjoy this historical mystery.
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