cover image The Secret in the Wall: A Silver Rush Mystery

The Secret in the Wall: A Silver Rush Mystery

Ann Parker. Poisoned Pen, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1494-3

Agatha finalist Parker’s intricate eighth Silver Rush mystery (after 2020’s Mortal Music) finds onetime Colorado saloon owner Inez Stannert and her 12-year-old ward, Antonia Gizzi, settled comfortably in 1882 San Francisco. A shrewd investor dedicated to helping other businesswomen, Stannert agrees to co-purchase a long unoccupied building with a lodging house owner who hopes to expand. When they break through the wall between the boardinghouse and the new property, a skeleton tumbles out. Neither the building’s former owner nor its surly caretaker, Joe Harris, admits to knowing the dead man’s identity, so Inez puts her investigatory talents to work. The corpse wears the remains of a Confederate Navy uniform, has scraps of a letter from Jefferson Davis hidden in its shoe, and carries a fortune in gold coins minted in 1863. Though the clues all point to the past, Harris’s subsequent murder proves that danger remains. Surreptitious sleuthing by the headstrong, clever Antonia helps untangle the mystery. Appealing characters match satisfying puzzles. Historical fans will be delighted. Agent: Anne Hawkins, John Hawkins & Assoc. (Feb.)