The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries) by Ann Parker #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour –
The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries)
by Ann Parker
About The Secret In The Wall
The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries)
8th in Series
Setting – California
Poisoned Pen Press (February 15, 2022)
Paperback : 400 pages
ISBN-10 : 1464214948
ISBN-13 : 978-1464214943
Digital ASIN : B096L9XZ73
Sometimes you can’t keep your gown out of the gutter…
Inez Stannert has reinvented herself—again. Fleeing the comfort and wealth of her East Coast upbringing, she became a saloon owner and cardsharp in the rough silver boomtown of Leadville, Colorado, always favoring the unconventional path—a difficult road for a woman in the late 1800s.
Then the teenage daughter of a local prostitute is orphaned by her mother’s murder, and Inez steps up to raise the troubled girl as her own. Inez works hard to keep a respectable, loving home for Antonia, carefully crafting their new life in San Francisco. But risk is a seductive friend, difficult to resist. When a skeleton tumbles from the wall of her latest business investment, the police only seem interested in the bag of Civil War-era gold coins that fell out with it. With her trusty derringer tucked in the folds of her gown, Inez uses her street smarts and sheer will to unearth a secret that someone has already killed to keep buried. The more she digs, the muddier and more dangerous things become.
She enlists the help of Walter de Brujin, a local private investigator with whom she shares some history. Though she wants to trust him, she fears that his knowledge of her past, along with her growing attraction to him, may well blow her veneer of respectability to bits—that is, if her dogged pursuit of the truth doesn’t kill her first . . .
Inez Stannert and her ward Antonia have moved from Colorado to San Francisco in this 8th book in the Silver Rush Mysteries. Inez owns D&S House of Music and Oriental Curiosities and she invests in businesses run by women like Moira Krause’s and her boardinghouse. They have purchased the joined home next to her existing property and Moira hopes to be able to double the number of tenants she can host. Moira insisted on a special ceremony to complete the sale and knock the wall that will connect the two properties but the event didn’t quite go as planned. When the sledgehammer broke through the wall a skeleton and a bag of gold coins cascaded out of the wall. When the authorities put all their attention on the coins Inez decides to investigate the body. Why would someone hide a body within the walls? What secret was that person hiding? Working with a PI from her past they try to get the answers before it is too late.
I first have to say this is the 8th book in the series and the first I have read but I escaped right into it very easily. The author gives enough backstory for new readers to understand the characters and their relationships without giving away too much that would deter those readers from going back and reading the previous books.
Inez Stannert is a unique individual, especially for a woman in the late 1800s. Savvy and street smart she makes herself at home with men and women alike. She is respected and driven to help others to succeed. She is also is doing her best to raise a strong-willed pre-teen ward who tests her a lot in this story. I really enjoyed the young amateur sleuths of Antonia and Moira’s daughter Charlotte and their scheming ways to spend time together to search the Treasure House. I really felt for Antonia when she made a horrific discovery and did her best to keep a stiff upper lip when you know a 12-year-old should never have to see such a thing even back in the 1800s. All of Ms. Parker’s characters are dynamically written with multiple layers some of which are kept well hidden or slowly revealed.
The mystery the author wrapped her characters in was so well-plotted laced with well-referenced historical facts of California’s part in the Civil War. It really brings an authentic feel to the book and the secrets many people were holding. Moira’s boardinghouse and the house next door were right in the middle of so much of that history. The discoveries made by Inez and the girls were so enveloping. Ms. Parker really brought the place to life with her descriptive style. I truly felt as if I was taking each step right along with the characters. I could also tell she weighed each word to make sure they presented each scene perfectly.
Ann Parker takes her readers on quite an adventure in The Secret in the Wall. If you like historical mysteries I think you would enjoy this story and encourage you to pick it up. I also think the author would have no trouble creating a young adult series featuring Antonia. She is a character that I would love to keep reading about. That girl could have a wild future.
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About Ann Parker
Ann Parker is a science writer by day and fiction writer by night. Her award-winning Silver Rush Mysteries series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, a Sourcebooks imprint, is set primarily in 1880s Leadville, Colorado, and more recently in San Francisco, California, the “Paris of the West.” The series was named a Booksellers Favorite by the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association, and Ann is listed in the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame. The Secret in the Wall is the eighth and newest entry in the series.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”