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Iron Ties by Ann Parker
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An engaging historical mystery, set in the days of Colorado's silver rush. Both the mystery and the characters are compelling. A worthy sequel to her first book, Silver Lies. ( )
  dragonimp | Jan 15, 2008 |
The year is 1880. Landscape photographer Susan Carothers is seriously injured in an explosion near where workers are laying railroad tracks into Leadville, Colorado. Although she says two men died in the same explosion, almost everyone believes Susan imagined it and railroad security officers say they didn’t find any bodies in the wreckage. One person who believes Susan’s story is Inez Stannert – co-owner of the Silver Queen Saloon. After asking some questions, Inez even believes she knows who one of the men was – and he’s missing.

Emotions are high in Leadville as the town awaits the arrival of two Civil War generals: Ulysses S. Grant, the former U.S. president, and William Jackson Palmer, who heads the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. It’s against this backdrop that Inez begins her investigation – attempting to discover why railroad officials are pooh-poohing Susan’s story – and whether Leadville’s distinguished visitors are in danger.

Inez has her own personal situation to be concerned about, too. Her husband Mark is missing – she doesn’t know whether he’s alive or dead – and her love interest, the Reverend Justice B. Sands, wants her to begin divorce proceedings. Inez and Mark’s sickly, young son is back east with her family and she misses him terribly. The Silver Queen Saloon is doing OK, but her business partner Abe Jackson wants to increase business by bringing in some actors to perform. Inez has history with one of the performers and is dead-set against the move.

It’s easy to see why the first Silver Rush Mystery, Silver Lies, received so many accolades, including the Willa (Cather) Award for historical fiction. Ann Parker paints a vivid picture of what life was like in the rough-and-tumble 1880s: a silver rush, a collision of Civil War veterans, Rebs and Yanks, and – in the days before background checks became common – an easy time for desperate people to lose themselves and their former identities.

Fiction and fact are skillfully interwoven in Iron Ties, and I’m certain anyone who enjoys historical fiction – or good storytelling -- will want to add Ann Parker to their list of favorite authors. Readers who like their mysteries gritty and realistic (without a lot of gratuitous sex, violence and profanity) will be clamoring for more. Although “the West” of my ancestors was further east and decades earlier, as a genealogist/family historian, I enjoyed getting a glimpse into the lives my 2nd great grandfather and his ten children might have lived. Iron Ties has so much going for it, I consider it a “must read.”

A big “thank you” to Dani, a Cozy Library visitor, for suggesting Ann Parker as a featured author.

By Diana. First published in the Cozy Library August 7, 2006. ( )
  NewsieQ | Aug 8, 2006 |
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In the sequel to Silver Lies, Inez Stannert struggles to deal with her shaky partnership in Leadville's Silver Queen saloon, a missing husband, and a child still back East. President Ulysses S. Grant prepares to make an appearance to celebrate the coming of the railroad, but old enemies, general lawlessness, and ruthless competitors could ruin everything.… (more)

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