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The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries Book 8)
by Ann Parker
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I've followed Inez Stannert's path from the very first Silver Rush book, Silver Lies. It's a life that has been anything but ordinary and has had more than its share of surprises along the way. It's always a pleasure to see a favored series get stronger with each book, and I'm happy to say that The Secret in the Wall is the best Silver Rush mystery yet. I mean, who doesn't like a mystery that has a skeleton behind the wall, a bag of gold coins, secret passages, secret staircases, and secret rooms? And I haven't even mentioned Alcatraz yet!
Parker always does an excellent job of weaving historical facts into her mysteries, and this time she has the American Civil War and California's part in it to work with. It may be the 1880s, but The Secret in the Wall proves that the Civil War and all its conflict is bubbling away, barely beneath the surface.
What put the smile on my face and raised the enjoyment factor of reading this book tenfold was Inez's ward, teenage Antonia. The daughter of a murdered prostitute, Antonia was left to her own devices until taken in by Inez. Antonia chafes under any sort of authority, and the only reason why she puts up supervision from Inez is that she does respect the older woman. Inez is finding it difficult to keep Antonia on a solid path because she doesn't want to break the girl's amazing spirit. Inez had enough of that herself growing up in a wealthy family on the East Coast. Antonia seems to go out of her way to do the opposite of what she's told, and this only proves that Inez is trying to raise a fiercely independent younger copy of herself.
In The Secret in the Wall, Antonia makes a new friend, and since the new friend lives right next door to where the body in the wall was found, Antonia wants to have a lot of sleepovers at her new friend's house so they can sneak over to explore next-door's secret rooms and passageways. The young girls' investigations mirror Inez's with possibly grave consequences. It's amazing to me how Parker has created a character who exasperates me to no end yet still makes me laugh. Suffice it to say, when Antonia wasn't making me mentally rip my hair out, I was having the time of my life creeping around a derelict house with her in the wee hours of the morning.
And if you're in the mood for some fun in 1880s San Francisco, I strongly recommend joining Inez and Antonia in The Secret in the Wall.
(Review copy courtesy of the publisher and Net Galley)
suspense, thriller, private-investigators, historical-fiction, historical-places-events, historical-research, law-enforcement, lawyers, greed, murder, murder-investigation****
There was more than the glass eyed skeleton in that joining wall. There was a hoard of gold coins as well! The mystery was pretty good, but I felt lost among the recurring characters as this was the first of the books in the Silver Rush series that I've encountered. Still, I really enjoyed the mystery and all of the historical aspects.
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley.
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 card sharp 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 teenaged 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
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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I’ve read all the books in this beautiful series and have to say this is the best so far.
San Francisco 1882
Inez Stannert manages the D&S House of Music and Curiosities and will, from time to time, financially help female businesswomen. In this book, Inez goes into partnership with Moira Krause to let Krause purchase the building next to her’s so Krause can expand her boarding room business. After the papers are signed, Krause has one of her boarders take a sledgehammer to the shared wall between the two kitchens to combine both buildings.
When the bricks start to fall from the wall, a skeleton appears in the debris. Also found are some tattered remains of clothing and a bag of uncirculated double eagle gold coins. Inez’s challenge is to find out whose remains have been found and who will be able to claim the gold coins. Inez’s investigation will have her look into the original owner and his brother and whether they connected to the Civil War. Inez’s searching will take her to Alcatraz Island, where she will hope to find the final piece to the puzzle.
For me, the highlight of this book was the part of Inez’s ward, 12-year-old Antonia plays. Antonia is a younger image of Inez in that she is highly independent and curious. Antonia enjoys visiting the wharves and imagining the ships are crewed by pirates and wonder they might be off to the next.
When the body is found, Antonia meets Moira’s daughter Charlotte. The two feel that the original owners were probably pirates. Antonia enjoys sharing her pirate stories with Charlotte. When Charlotte finds a secret passage, she tells Antonia, and they plan that Charlotte needs help with her fractions and that Antonia should spend the night. They will work on the fractions, but they will also explore the hidden passage and soon find a secret room. Items they find there will help Inez with her investigation when she finally learns of the items.
This book tells a wonderful story and is well-written and plotted. There were enough red herrings that I kept guessing until the end of the book as to the killer's identity.
The characters are well-developed and believable. Many of the characters I would like to call my friend.
I will be looking forward to the next book in this exciting series. ( )