Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of the novel.
Inez Stannert returns in A DYING NOTE, the sixth novel in the Silver Rush series by Ann Parker. The novel will be published April 3rd, 2018 by Poisoned Pen Press. For those of you who are unlike me and haven’t read the five previous novels in the Silver Rush series, those novels are: SILVER LIES (2006), IRON TIES (2006), LEADEN SKIES (2009), MERCURY’S RISE (2011), and WHAT GOLD BUYS (2016). If you haven’t read any of these novels, I highly suggest that you do as they are all wonderful novels. The Silver Rush series are historical mysteries set in the 1880s.
A DYING NOTE is quite different from the previous novels in the Silver Rush series. Yes, Inez Stannert is still the main character. And, yes, she finds herself in another situation where she needs to sort out a mystery and find a killer. What is different is that Inez and her young ward, Antonia Gizzi, have left the sometimes-wild mining town of Leadville, Colorado, where she was co-owner of the Silver Queen Saloon and had a stake in an upscale brothel. Unlike all of the other Silver Rush novels that take place in Colorado (four in Leadville and one in Manitou Springs), A DYING NOTE takes place in the more subdued, and much larger city of San Francisco, California. It is now 1881 – a full year has passed since the end of WHAT GOLD BUYS – and Inez and Antonia have relocated to San Francisco to restart their lives. Inez has to be careful to hide her past or else her job at the music store – and her new life as well as Antonia’s – could be placed into jeopardy. Inez can’t imagine that her employer would be overly receptive to the fact that she is a divorced woman who has killed a couple people (never in cold blood) and has a somewhat unsavory history. Inez’s employer is Nico Donato, a famous violinist in San Francisco. Turns out that he also has some unsavory incidents in his past.
While different from the previous novels in the Silver Rush series, A DYING NOTE was just as enjoyable. Getting to see Inez in a situation that is quite different from her life in the rough-and-tumble Leadville was interesting. Though, I do have to admit, I did miss Leadville and her cast of various and unique characters. Not to worry though, two of the more notorious citizens of Leadville show up in San Francisco. Florence Sweet – better known as Frisco Flo back in Leadville – is the madam of the upscale brothel that Inez is part-owner of. Frisco Flo was brought to San Francisco by Harry Gallagher. Harry is one of the richest men in Leadville and owns many of the silver mines in the area. He is also one of Inez’s past lovers. Harry and Flo, along with private detective W.R. de Bruijn, came in San Francisco to find Harry’s son who fled Leadville on the eve of his arranged marriage. Inez is swept up in the search for Robert Gallagher – mainly because Harry threatens to reveal her past. Inez manages to find Robert; unfortunately she finds him in the morgue. Inez. Frisco Flo, and de Bruijn work together to find out what happened to Robert and track down his killer. Antonia also gets involved in the investigation, and it is her participation that really adds something to the novel. Antonia is such an engaging and likeable character.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed A DYING NOTE. It was very well-written and plotted out. Ann Parker really brought San Francisco of the early 1880s to life. The characters – old and new – were all fully developed and interesting. I’m already looking forward to the next novel in the Silver Rush series.