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The Silver Rush Mystery Series

The Secret in the Wall

Book 8 now available

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.

Now living in San Francisco, Inez works hard to keep a respectable, loving home for her young ward, Antonia. 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 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. Yet, the more she digs, the muddier and more dangerous things become.

Ann read and recorded Chapter 1 of The Secret in the Wall in two-minute “short takes.” They can be viewed on her Facebook author page.

Praise

“A convoluted mystery, based on true events and replete with rich period detail, that’s a delight to read.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Incorporating actual historical events with the fictional proceedings makes for a thoroughly engrossing, believable novel with a unique villain and relatable leads.”
Criminal Element (Read more)

“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.”
—Kittling: Books (Read more)

“From the spectacular opening scene to the riveting denouement, Parker paces her plot well…”
—Historical Novel Society, Editor’s Choice (Read more)
“Appealing characters match satisfying puzzles. Historical fans will be delighted.”
Publishers Weekly (Read more)

“Intricately plotted and intriguingly cast, this richly detailed historical mystery captivates and will leave you wishing for more. Parker’s smart, fiercely independent sleuth is pure delight.”
—Audrey Blake, USA Today bestselling author

“Ann Parker takes her readers on quite an adventure in The Secret in the Wall. If you like historical mysteries I think you would enjoy this story and encourage you to pick it up.”
—Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

“Written from multiple points of view, The Secret in the Wall is a top-notch historical cozy mystery.”
—Mysteries with Character

Mortal Music

Book 7

In this new adventure in the award-winning Silver Rush mystery series, pianist Inez Stannert must track down a murderer before he silences a famous vocalist―forever…

All Inez Stannert wants for Christmas is for the struggling music store she owns in San Francisco to be a success. When diva Theia Carrington Drake asks Inez to be her accompanist for several high-profile personal appearances, Inez is intrigued. This could be the chance she was waiting for—a way to make some extra money and bring her store into the limelight of the city’s polite society to enhance her business.

But things are far from pitch perfect. An unknown threat is stalking Theia; her pet bird is found slain, and her signature gown is destroyed. Soon, Inez realizes that a murderer is stalking the city’s opera halls, and that it’s only a matter of time before Theia is his next victim. She’ll have to enlist the help of private investigator Wolter Roeland de Bruijn and uncover the killer before Theia’s celebrated voice is silenced—permanently.

Praise

"[Parker] absorbs her readers in the dress and manners of the day and in the unique and original characters who bring this city to life. The detailed and devious plot makes this book difficult to set aside."
—Historical Novel Society (Read more)

"Impeccably detailed historical setting (San Francisco after the gold Rush) with sharply drawn characters and a suspenseful story."
—David Pitt
"Meticulously researched and full of rich period details... Nineteenth century San Francisco springs to life in Ann Parker's capable hands, and her characters will stay with you long after you've finished the last page. Highly recommended."
—Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of Lady Emily series

"Richly nuanced period details and vivid characters enhance a plot that takes some surprising turns."
Publishers Weekly (Read more)

"In writing her books, Parker has always been scrupulous about making things authentic."
Leadville Herald Democrat (Read more)
"Inez and company are certain to keep you turning the pages."
—Western Writers of America Roundup Magazine
"The period details of life on and off the stage in the 19th century are fun dressing for Parker’s usual clever mysteries. Inez Stannert will surely be back for an encore."
—Broadway Direct (Read more)
"If you enjoy historical mysteries and haven't read a Silver Rush book, I highly recommend the series and suggest that you begin with the first book, Silver Lies. If you're already a fan, be prepared to sink into this story with a happy sigh of anticipation."
—Kittling: Books

"The author has created a wonderful picture of 1880s San Francisco, partially Wild West, partially a western cultural outpost..."
—Mystery Scene Magazine

Awards

Winner of the CIPA EVVY Silver Award for Mystery/Crime/Detective Fiction
Winner of the 2020 Foreword INDIE Bronze Award for Historical Fiction
Silver Medal Winner for Will Rogers Medallion “Maverick” Award
Finalist for the Lefty Award for Best Historical Mystery Novel
Nominated for the Macavity / Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery

A Dying Note

Book 6

It’s autumn of 1881, and Inez Stannert, still the co-owner of Leadville, Colorado’s Silver Queen saloon, is settled in San Francisco with her young ward, Antonia Gizzi. Inez has turned her business talents to managing a music store, hoping to eventually become an equal partner in the enterprise with the store’s owner, a celebrated local violinist.

Inez’s carefully constructed life for herself and Antonia threatens to tumble about her ears when the badly beaten body of a young musician washes up on the filthy banks of San Francisco’s Mission Creek canal. Inez and Antonia become entangled in the mystery of his death when the musician turns out to have ties to Leadville, ties that threaten to expose Inez’s notorious past. And they aren’t the only ones searching for answers. Wolter Roeland de Bruijn, “finder of the lost,” has also been tasked with ferreting out the perpetrators and dispensing justice in its most final form. Leadville’s leading madam Frisco Flo, an unwilling visitor to the city with a Leadville millionaire, is on the hook as well, having injudiciously financed the young musician’s journey to San Francisco in the first place.

Time grows short as Inez and the others uncover long-hidden secrets and unsettled scores. With lives and reputations on the line, the tempo rises until the investigation’s final, dying note.

Praise

“Parker… has a real knack for making us feel as though we have been transported to another time and place, and her characters breathe life into the vividly evoked landscape. A fine entry in a series that deserves more attention.”
Booklist

“Exuberant…. brims with fascinating period details, flamboyant characters, and surprising plot twists.”
Publishers Weekly
“… the best of the mysteries featuring Parker’s clever heroine.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Parker’s portrait of historic San Francisco is as packed with careful detail as her portraits of Leadville have been.”
Colorado Central Magazine

Awards

Named Best Mystery in True West Magazine’s “Best of the West 2019”
Finalist for the Macavity/Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery
Finalist for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award for Mystery
CIPA EVVY Award: 1st place in the Mystery/Crime/Detective category
CIPA EVVY Award: 2nd place in the Historical Fiction category
Finalist for the Will Rogers Medallion Award in the “Western Maverick” category
Finalist for Mystery for the Foreword INDIE Award
Finalist for the “Lefty” Best Historical Novel Award, Left Coast Crime
Long-listed for the Martin Cruz Smith Award in Suspense/ Mystery (an NCIBA Golden Poppy Award)

What Gold Buys

Book 5

Autumn 1880 in the Rocky Mountains brings frost, snow, and the return of Silver Queen Saloon owner Inez Stannert to Leadville, Colorado.

In this silver rush boomtown, those who are hungry for material riches seek their fortunes in precious metals. Others, hungry for spiritual relief, seek to pierce the veil between life and death with the help of fortunetellers, mediums, and occultists. Deep in the twisted byways of Leadville’s Stillborn Alley, soothsayer Drina Gizzi awaits the promised arrival of her benefactor, the mysterious Mr. Brown. When she is found murdered, strangled with a set of silver and gold corset laces, no one seems to care except the three who find her body—Inez, her lover Reverend Sands, and Drina’s young daughter, Antonia. The mystery surrounding Drina’s death deepens when her body vanishes without a trace.

As Inez and Antonia band together to seek out Drina’s killer, they unearth disturbing evidence of underground resurrectionists, long-held grievances, and white-hot revenge. Meanwhile, Inez’s husband, Mark Stannert, true to his word that he only “plays to win,” contrives to drive Inez and Sands apart, gambling that he can convince her to abandon her plans for divorce. But what can gold buy, after all? A new life? Freedom from the past? Truth and justice for those murdered and unmourned? Or a final passage for Inez and Antonia into an unmarked grave and the world of the dead?

And what of Mr. Brown, whose missing presence hovers over all, like a spirit from beyond?

Praise

“Parker wraps up the mystery deftly but leaves Inez’s future sufficiently unresolved so that readers will eagerly await the next installment.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review (Read more)

“If you haven’t heard of Ms. Parker or her work, now’s the time to ante up and go all in.”
B&N Reads (Read more)

“Ann Parker’s characters are always interesting and entertaining. Her historical depiction of daily life in the 1880s is spot-on, and the setting of her novels puts the reader right in the scene.”
Western Writers of America Roundup Magazine

“I loved the author’s ability to lift me from my quiet solitude into a bustling historical time brought so fully alive on each page that I felt present everywhere.”
—Mary Jo Doig, Story Circle Network (Read more)

Awards

Finalist for the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award
Finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award (Historical Fiction)
Finalist for the Macavity Historical Novel Award
Finalist for the Will Rogers Medallion Award (Western Romance)

Mercury’s Rise

Book 4

Inez Stannert, one of the partners in the Silver Queen Saloon in Leadville, Colorado, travels to a fashionable summer retreat for a reunion with her son, now a toddler in the care of her sister. Manitou, at the foot of Pike’s Peak, was not just a spa tourism destination in the summer of 1880–it was often a last resort for those ill with tuberculosis.

Inez and her photographer friend Susan chose the stage coach for the scenery, but their journey to Manitou turns lethal when East Coast businessman Edward Pace grows faint, swigs some medicine, and dies under their horrified gaze. On their arrival at the posh Mountain Springs House, Pace’s widow rejects a weak heart theory and begs Inez to investigate. As Inez digs deeper, she uncovers the shady side of spa tourism including spurious claims, profiteering from the coming bonanza in medicinal waters and miracle cures, and medical practitioners who kindle false hopes in the desperate and the dying.

Pace’s sudden demise is not the only event that tarnishes Inez’s hopes of a happy reunion with her son and sister. Mark Stannert has reappeared after a year and a half’s unexplained absence. Now she must fight to hold on to her child and the life she has built for herself in an era where “independent woman” is an oxymoron.

Praise

“Engaging… Parker smoothly mixes the personal dramas and the detection in an installment that’s an easy jumping-on point for newcomers. Fans of independent female sleuths like Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy and Laurie King’s Mary Russell will be satisfied.”
Publishers Weekly
“A dazzling amount of historical detail is woven in yet never overpowers this story of deceit and greed. Laden with intrigue… Parker’s depth of knowledge coupled with an all-too-human cast leaves us eager to see what Inez will do next. Encore!”
Library Journal
“Written in sharp prose, the characters are described with perception and wit… Likeable heroine and a good recommendation for her other novels in the series.”
Criminal History
“As is usual for Ann Parker, this is a lively tale with interesting characters, fun to read and inspiring the usual reader speculation about who’s doing it.”
Colorado Central Magazine

Awards

Finalist for the Macavity Historical Novel Award
Winner of the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award
Finalist for the Agatha Best Historical Mystery Award
Finalist for the Colorado Book Award
Finalist for the Willa Literary Award
Recommended Read” of 2011: Colorado Country Life Magazine
Favorite Read” in Western Mysteries: True West Magazine

Leaden Skies

Book 3

The summer of 1880: although possible investment in Leadville’s silver mines is a main reason that former president and Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant is now touring this city at the top of the Rockies, others in his retinue and in town are enticed by other visions. As part owner of the Silver Queen Saloon, Inez Stannert has often observed the ruination that comes from yielding to temptation. Still, that knowledge hasn’t stopped Inez from striking a backroom deal with upscale brothel madam Frisco Flo, a deal that Inez gambles will make her financially independent…

Leaden Skies

Praise

“A twisty tale of murder and ambition…. A cliffhanger ending sets a promising stage for the next installment..”
Publishers Weekly
“Parker has created a lively historical tale with a strong female protagonist. The intricate plot, lively characters, and vividly realized historical landscape will appeal to those interested in the Old West as well as to historical-mystery fans.”
Booklist
“Parker’s deft evocation of a lost era in Western American history—the life of the mining boom town—and her complex characterization make Leaden Skies an absorbing read. A riveting historical mystery.”
—Stephanie Barron, national bestselling author
“Although the whodunit takes a back seat to one woman’s struggle to remain economically independent in the late nineteenth century, Ann Parker writes a wonderful Americana tale.”
The Mystery Gazette

Awards

Finalist for the Colorado Book Award

Iron Ties

Book 2

“The great questions of the time are not decided by speeches and majority decisions…but by iron and blood” —Otto von Bismarck, 1862

The railroad is coming west, all the way to Leadville and its rich Rocky Mountain mines, not to mention millionaires. And who is coming to celebrate the arrival of the Denver & Rio Grande but Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States and former commander of the Union armies. Like other residents in the Colorado boom town this summer of 1880, Inez Stannert regards the news as mixed. With her business partnership in the Silver Queen Saloon shaky and the bonds of family tightening (her husband is still missing and her baby is still back East), Inez doesn’t need the lawlessness of Leadville to turn, once again, into murder. But Inez isn’t the only one with iron ties to the past. Some folks have wicked memories of the war, others a stake in the competing railroad lines. And Inez’s friend, photographer Susan Carothers, gets caught in the crossfire. . . .

Iron Ties

Praise

“Outstanding…Plenty of convincing action bodes well for a long and successful series.”
Publishers Weekly
“The characters have depth, their motivations are subtle, and their pain very human. Add carefully researched and fascinating period detail, and one has a well-crafted novel that will appeal to readers of mysteries, historical fiction, and genre westerns.”
Booklist
“The story line in many ways is more of a historical thriller though Inez’s amateur sleuth investigation is deftly handled and the cast three dimensional. Ann Parker provides a delightful late nineteenth century Americana investigative tale.”
Midwest Book Review
“…full of sharply etched characters set firmly in history and pulled along by a narrative engine as powerful as any of the locomotives getting ready in 1880 to connect Leadville to the outside world.”
—Crime Watch, The Chicago Tribune

Awards

Winner of the Colorado Book Award
Honorable Mention for the Arizona Book Award

Silver Lies

Book 1

It happened in Silicon Valley. In Sutter’s Mill. And in Leadville.

They all came to Leadville with the same purpose:
Get in. Get rich. Get out.

As 1879 is drawing to a close, this Rocky Mountain boom town has infected the world with silver fever. Investors, confidence men, merchants, miners… all flock to Leadville looking for the next strike. Women join the rush as well—among them, saloon owner Inez Stannert. When a prominent mining assayer is found trampled behind her establishment, she’s determined to unravel the mystery of his death. Her search takes her from the mines and banks of Leadville to the exclusive parlor houses of Denver. Along the way, she finds that lies and secrets run deep in Colorado and many will stop at nothing to get rich…

Silver Lies

Praise

“Excellent debut… Parker tells a gripping tale of love, greed and murder in the Old West, with a cast of convincing, larger-than-life characters… left enough loose ends to beckon readers to the next Leadville mystery.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Parker provides the clues to whodunit in an orderly manner. She adds some misdirection to keep readers guessing. And it is a book that keeps the reader’s attention until the end.”
The Independent
“Avoiding the stilted writing that’s often typical of a first book, Parker has woven a story of lies, deceit, counterfeiting, murder, lust—you name it, Silver Lies has it.”
BookLoons
“Ann Parker’s Silver Lies has it all: greed, lust, deception, a 1879 Rocky Mountain boomtown setting, and a precious-metals assayer found murdered.”
Midwest Book Review

Awards

“Best Mysteries of 2003”—Pick by Publishers Weekly and the Chicago Tribune
Winner of the Willa Literary Award
Winner of the Colorado Gold Award
Finalist of the Spur Award
Finalist of the Bruce Alexander Historical Award

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