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Historical Mystery Review – Silver Lies


Silver Lies by Ann Parker


Review by Mirah W. (mwelday)


I am totally enthralled by tales of the Old West.  I am a traveler at heart and I think I perceive journeys to the Old West as the great adventure of this land.  I love stories of cattle drives, miners, Indians, wagons, saloons, shootouts, stagecoaches and cowboys.  The Old West was a rough place and the strong (or extremely lucky) found a way to persevere.  Some people lost everything to make the trip west and some found riches beyond their wildest dreams. I acknowledge I romanticize a time period fraught with danger but I just can’t help it.  Sometimes I think I was born at the wrong time.

When I found the book Silver Lies by Ann Parker I was instantly drawn to it.  I mean, what’s not intriguing about book centered on the life of a female saloon owner in Leadville, Colorado in 1879?  Sign me up, it sounds good to me.  Here’s the gist of the story:  Inez Stannert operates the Silver Queen Saloon in Leadville, a silver mining boomtown, with her business partner Abe Jackson, a freed slave.  Inez’s husband disappeared months before and Inez is still feeling wounded.  Joe Rose, the husband of Inez’s friend Emma, is a silver assayer found murdered outside of Inez’s saloon.  Emma asks for Inez’s help sorting through Joe’s business and financial affairs and Inez is thrown into investigating Joe’s murder.  And enter Reverend Sands, the temporary preacher who seems to be interested in more than the pulpit.  Threaded throughout the mystery is a love affair gone awry, counterfeit money, secret relationships, racial prejudice and family drama.

I think the character of Inez made this novel richer and more complex than the run-of-the-mill western.  She is a strong, independent woman in a town dominated by men who don’t think women should be involved in matters of business…or doing much of anything other than working in a brothel.  She totes her own gun, leads poker games in her saloon, stands up to men and prejudices and she isn’t afraid to speak her mind.  She is a welcome character for me.  I don’t recall a strong female leading character in this genre I liked this much since Clara in Lonesome Dove.

Parker includes historical facts and people, thus providing the novel a feeling of authenticity.  Bat Masterson even makes an appearance in Leadville.  How great is that?  I felt like I could see and smell (is that a good thing?) Leadville and its colorful characters while reading the book.  Parker created an interesting, multi-layered mystery and kept me guessing throughout.  I was surprised by some of the plot twists and character developments.  I’m glad Parker left some character questions unanswered at the conclusion because I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to learn more about them.

So my final judgment: Kudos, Ann Parker!  Silver Lies is a great start to a new mystery series and a welcome addition to the bookshelves of all of us yearning to be taken back to the days of the Old West.








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4 Responses to “Historical Mystery Review – Silver Lies”

  1. Katherine F. says:

    What can I say except I have added this series to my wish list? Thanks Mirah, always looking for a good read.

  2. Rebecca and Keith (rocky1) says:

    Thanks for the review-you’ve inspired me to pick up a copy!

  3. Mary S. (mscottcgp) , says:

    I just read this book and your review is right on. Love the combination of historical fiction and mystery

  4. MIRAH W. (mwelday) says:

    Hope those of you who pick it up enjoy it as much as I did!
    Mary S…glad you agree with the review! I’m already moving on to book 2.

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