IRON TIES (Amateur Sleuth-Colorado-1880) – VG Parker,
Ann – 2nd in series
Poisoned Pen Press, 2006-Hardcover

Saloon owner Inez Stannert has a lot on her plate. Her friend, photographer Susan Carolthers, it caught in an explosion she claims was deliberate and killed two men, but everyone else is passing it off an accident with no one hurt. Inez is trying to build her business in order to finish a luxurious special game room. Her partner, Abe has arranged for a acting couple to perform, but Inez recognizes the woman as one Inez saw with her husband, Mark who has been missing for over a year. The Reverend Sands, with whom Inez is having an intimate relationship, wants to move their relationship forward. And the railroad is coming Leadville, awakening memories, feelings and grudges left from the Civil War.

Parker is a wonderful writer. Although sent in the 1880s, she deals with subjects that are timeless. Her character of Inez is strong and independent because she’s had to be, as have women of all times. Within a very good mystery, she raises the issues of urban growth racism, abandonment, divorce and the impact war has on those who fight it. So whether you categorize this as an historical, cozy, amateur sleuth, traditional mystery doesn’t matter, to me it was a very good book and one I highly recommend.

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