by Ann Parker brings to life San Francisco during the late
1800s. As a co-owner of the Silver Queen Saloon the main character,
Inez Stannert, had a stake in an upscale brothel. This sixth
book of the series has a change of venue from Leadville Colorado
to San Francisco California. Besides the change of setting
there is a change of professions for Inez and her ward, Antonia
Parker noted she changed the setting because “I live
in the Bay area. This is a new setting for me because the
past five books were placed in Leadville Colorado. Also, it
was a hot bed for labor activity with the Waterfront and printer
organizations. This allowed me to write in about a possible
musicians’ labor union. I think at some level I was
going to have her leave, as Inez says that Leadville was just
a stop along the way and that she and her ward were supposed
to go to San Francisco.”
Inez is content to settle into her new life until the body
of a musician washes ashore upon the banks of San Francisco’s
Mission Creek Bay. She recognizes the victim, someone who
came to her for piano lessons As Inez begins her investigation,
she is confronted by her shady past in the form of Leadville
silver baron Harry Gallagher. He gives her one-week to discover
the murderer, or he will expose her past associations and
threatens to ruin her
socially/financially. Time grows short as Inez uncovers long-hidden
secrets and unsettled scores that affect lives and reputations.
She is a strong woman protagonist. “I spoke with and
learned from Women Writing The West who influenced me to set
my story in the historical West. Inez is a woman with a mysterious
past, a complicated present, and an uncertain future. I based
her name on my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. My
family actually thought she would have got a kick out of it.
What the fictional and real women had in common is a will
of iron, strong women. They powered through from their difficulties.
She was a woman of her times. Women who came to the West made
a life for themselves. They tended to be pretty strong willed
emotionally, spiritually, and physically.”
Realizing the death might have something to do with union
organizers, Inez is not content to sit back and do nothing.
The victim, Jamie Monroe, wanted to establish unions, including
one geared for musicians. He was also working to secure enough
money to marry Carmella Donato, the daughter of Nick Donato.
He is the partner of Inez, as well as a well-respected businessman,
and an accomplished musician who tries to find employment
for musicians who frequent his establishment.
Throughout the story, readers get tidbits of information about
San Francisco. They will visit the eloquent Palace Hotel and
the dangerous areas of the Barbary Coast and Chinatown.
Besides a good mystery, information about places, clothing,
businesses, transportation, and education makes the story
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]