Silver Rush Mysteries, No 4
Poisoned Pen Press
November 2011 / ISBN: 9781590589618
Historical Mystery/ Amateur Sleuth / Colorado / 1880
by L J Roberts
Inez Stannert had nowhere to run.
saloon-owner Inez Stannert thought she had an idea where her future
might be. The re-appearance of a husband, thought to be dead, but
an end to that. Instead, she's on her way to Manitou for a reunion
with her son, in the care of her sister. Manitou has become a town
of health spas, healing waters and "cures." A fellow-coach
passenger does of an apparent heart attack, but it's interesting
that it was immediately after injecting his "medicine."
The man's widow asks Inez to investigate, forcing her to call on
the help of her estranged husband. The more Inez investigates, the
less healthy the town seems.
Parker's great strength is in taking the reader on a trip back in
time. Her descriptions are some of the most evocative, giving one
a real sense of the sights, smells, and sounds of the period. She
also very strongly outlines the injustice of the laws against women,
during the time, but not in a way that seems strident or preachy.
She also has the ability to convey strong emotion without becoming
maudlin. Back flashes are a plot device which can be confusing.
Instead, Ms. Parker deftly employs them to provide illumination
to the story.
Her characters are so real, you feel you know them. As one who has
been following the series from the beginning, I cheer for Inez,
want her to find happiness, felt the pain of her interaction with
her son, and found myself exceeding annoyed with her husband. Every
time he referred to her as "Darlin," appropriate both
for the time and his being Southern, I found myself gritting my
teeth in annoyance and hissing slightly as though he was a 20s silent-film
character. Now that's effective writing.
Plot-wise, I don't feel this is the strongest book of the series
and I did identify the killer fairly early on. I know she has to
resolve Inez' personal situation, but hope she does so quickly and
moves back to the mystery and suspense which have dominated her
previous books. Even so, I certainly wouldn't have missed reading
of other titles in the Silver Rush series
Silver Lies #1 [review]
Iron Ties #2 [review]
Leaden Skies #3 [review]
Mercury's Rise #4 [review
What Gold Buys [amazon]
A Dying Note #6 [review]