An Inez Stannert Mystery by Ann Parker
Review: Former President Ulysses S. Grant's visit to the mining town of Leadville, Colorado, sets off a cascade of events that start with the murder of a prostitute in the town's "red light" district in Leaden Skies, the third mystery in this series by Ann Parker.
The dead woman is Lizzie, one of the girls who worked for Florence "Frisco Flo" Sweet, a woman striving to provide exclusive and discreet services for discriminating clients willing pay a little more than what her competitors are charging. Lizzie didn't quite fit in, being a little too forward and a little too indiscreet, but it is still a shock when she turns up dead. Meanwhile, Silver Queen Saloon owner Inez Stannert, concerned about the future of her establishment, strikes a private deal with Flo that should benefit both parties. But there are other secrets in this small town and clearly someone is afraid one of them will be exposed. Inez believes she must solve the mystery of Lizzie's death lest her own secret arrangement become public knowledge.
Leaden Skies seems to have all the right ingredients for a rousing mystery yet in the end it seems incomplete, somewhat unsatisfactory. The characters are interesting and well drawn, the sense of time and place outstanding. The murder of Lizzie is well staged and a credible list of suspects presented. The narrative is colorful and entertaining, and exceptionally well written. And yet there isn't a sense of urgency or suspense, of engaging the reader in the investigation as to who murdered Lizzie and why.
There's really quite a lot here to appeal to mystery readers, with its historical background, colorful characters, and well plotted story, but Leaden Skies is ever so slightly disappointing nonetheless.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Leaden Skies for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Leaden Skies: Colorado
— ♦ —
Leaden Skies by Ann Parker — An Inez Stannert Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: July 2009
List Price: $24.95