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Iron Ties: A Silver Rush Mystery    by Ann Parker order for
Iron Ties
by Ann Parker
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Leadville, Colorado. Fifteen years after the hostilities between the States ceased. The Civil War may have ended but emotions still ran high. As railroads struggled to bring goods 10,000 feet up into the mountains, Leadville grew, either bringing a good living to those who ventured there or blowing their dreams to smithereens when their hopes of finding the mother lode of silver drowned in alcohol or exploded in a gunfight.

Ann Parker's first book, Silver Lies, won many awards including the Willa Cather Award for Historical Fiction. This second, Iron Ties, depicts Leadville as it was in the late 1800s. Parker very neatly sets the reader down in the - either dusty or muddy - streets of that legendary town. One can feel the bustle of daily life, but especially the energy and emotions that create a tense atmosphere inside the Silver Queen Saloon that Inez Stannert holds in joint partnership with Abe Jackson. The fact that Abe is a black man does not sit well with the rough and tumble crowd who frequent the Silver Queen. But that means nothing to Inez who values Abe over their customers.

Inez, whose husband has left her and whose child is living with her sister, becomes inveigled in a plot to kill a general. She spends her time trying to discover just what the plot is or to stop it altogether. The action unfortunately runs a little slow in places, and the story becomes convoluted so that I occasionally lost track of a character. The characterizations, however, are quite good and add considerably to the plot, while the historical background is extensive and extremely interesting.

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