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Gold Digger by Vicki Delany
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Enjoyable mystery, interesting history lesson and basically a fun read. Fiona is a single mother in the Yukon of 1898. A 12-year old boy, owning a saloon/dance hall, and trying to maintain a "proper" status in the rough and tumble world of the the Klondike gold rush is enough to keep her busy without a murdered man being found on her stage. The dead man has only been in town two/three days and already made a number of enemies and no one who met him seems to have liked him. Possible suspects are Fiona's business partner, her best dancer, and a good friend. Is one of them the killer, or someone else?

I liked this book and will read more of this author. ( )
  bookswoman | Mar 31, 2013 |
Newspaper reporter Jack Ireland managed to antagonize almost everyone in Dawson as soon as he hit town. Soon he ends up dead on the stage of the Savoy dance hall. It will take all of owner Fiona MacGillivray's savvy and charm to get to the bottom of the murder to prevent the loss of her business.

The mystery wasn't too difficult to figure out, but there is so much more to this book than the mystery. Dawson and the Klondike gold rush come to life in the setting and characters. The perspective alternates between first and third person, and Delany gets Fiona's voice just right. Like Amelia Peabody, she is a force to be reckoned with, but with more personal charm and a somewhat disreputable past. Fiona's 12-year-old son, Angus, isn't as obnoxious as Amelia's Ramses, but he gets up to just as much mischief. This is a great series debut, and I'll definitely be reading the next book in the series. ( )
2 vote cbl_tn | Aug 11, 2010 |
Enjoy history? Like a mystery? Gold Digger is an absolutely delightful historical mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time back in 1898, the Yukon Territory, in the rip roaring mining town of Dawson. A native born Californian, I was raised on stories of the 1849 Gold Rush and the founding of San Francisco, so reading about the last great Gold Rush had a lot of familiarity but the great Canada wilderness was an unique setting. Vicki Delany has made the town of Dawson and its inhabitants come alive with a vivid realism of a great historical, without making one feel like they are reading a travelogue or passages quoted from a dry history tome.

The story’s heroine, Fiona MacGillivray, is a woman of great courage and strength of will in a time when most women were thought of as no more than chattel. She owns a saloon, the Savoy, named after the fashionable London hotel. She is a woman of class and breeding, in a place where even a saloon owner can be considered respectable, if she acts as such. She has a 12 year old son Agnus, a smart inquisitive lad who hero worships the local Mountie, Constable Sterling, and wants to become a Mountie himself.

After surviving the arduous journey to get to the Klondike and the near starvation of the first winter, summer is extraordinary beautiful, with fields of glorious wild flowers, warm days, sapphire blue sky. Life is good in Dawson, the Savoy’s business is booming, until Jack Ireland arrives. A newspaper reporter from San Francisco, he immediately makes enemies and within 3 days is found dead, throat cut, on the stage of the Savoy. Was it the rival newspaper man? Or Fiona’s lead singer, Irene, whom Jack physically abused? Or Fiona’s partner, jealously protective of Irene? Or the good woman that Jack called a prostitute in his first story sent back to San Francisco? Or Fiona herself, whom Jack threatened to destroy for standing up for Irene and defending herself? Or someone else?

Not a particularly complex mystery, it is still satisfying all the way around. It works because of the well drawn characters and setting drawn with the careful attention to detail.

In my opinion, Gold Digger really strikes gold!

I understand it is the start of a new series, and I look forward to once again visiting Dawson and its interesting and colorful inhabitants.

Reviewed by Linda Suzane, July 10, 2009, www.midnightblood.com ( )
  LindaSuzane | Jul 11, 2009 |
Fiona MacGillivray lives in a place and time where only the strong survive: The Yukon Territory in 1898. She and business partner Ray Walker own The Savoy, a dance hall/saloon/gambling house that has made them wealthy beyond measure. Certainly they’re better off than most of the hard-luck miners who came for a Gold Rush and found mostly hard work and disappointment.

Fiona, who truly believes she is the most beautiful and desirable woman in the Yukon Territory and beyond, is a mysterious character who drops tantalizing hints about her apparently unsavory past, Angus’s paternity, and the heights – and depths – of her life before she arrived in Dawson.

When an obnoxious newcomer, who earned a host of enemies in the few days he has been in Dawson, is found murdered in the Savoy, Fiona wants the perpetrator found — quickly. The case is in the capable hands of Constable Richard Sterling of the Northwest Mounted Police, for whom Fiona’s 12-year-old son Angus has a serious case of hero-worship, tagging along behind him and hoping to eventually follow in his footsteps. But Fiona has her own ideas about how to assist in the case.

The story meanders back and forth between Fiona’s oft-times humorous first-person narration and a third-person narrator who gives readers the scoop on what’s happening with Constable Sterling and Angus. Readers are treated to the sights, sounds and smells of another era, and a glimpse into the lives of men and women of every stripe who found their way to the gold fields.

Gold Digger is well written, well researched, well paced – a marvelous beginning for what I hope will be a long-lived series. I have enjoyed Ms. Delany’s contemporary series featuring Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters and am delighted with Gold Digger.

By Diana. First published in the Cozy Library July 2, 2009 Publisher-provided copy.
  NewsieQ | Jul 3, 2009 |
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For my children, Caroline, Julia, Alex
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"Bloody hell," Angus said.
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Book One of the Klondike Mystery Series by Vicki Delany! It's the spring of 1898, and Dawson, Yukon Territory, is the most exciting town in North America. The great Klondike Gold Rush is in full swing and Fiona MacGillivray has crawled over the Chilkoot Pass determined to make her fortune as the owner of the Savoy dance hall. Provided, that is, that her twelve-year-old son, growing up much too fast for her liking; the former Glasgow street fighter who's now her business partner; a stern, handsome NWMP constable; an aging, love-struck ex-boxing champion; a wild assortment of headstrong dancers, croupiers, gamblers, madams without hearts of gold, bar hangers-on, cheechakos, and sourdoughs; and Fiona's own nimble-fingered past don't get to her first. And then there's the dead body on centre stage. If you loved Gold Digger, check out the next three books of the series, Gold Fever, Gold Mountain, and Gold Web.… (more)

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