All That Is Secret (An Annalee Spain Mystery)

Written by Patricia Raybon
Review by Susan McDuffie

1922: Cowboy Joe Spain finds an infant abandoned on the freezing Colorado plains. The baby dies in his arms. Joe later boards a train to Chicago to visit his brilliant daughter, a “colored professor” of theology with a love for Sherlock Holmes novels. Joe never arrives; his body is found along the railroad tracks, pushed to his death. A year later a disillusioned Annalee remains plagued by questions about her father’s killing. A cryptic telegram arrives on a snowy night and summons her back to Denver to investigate the murder.

Eddie, a young urchin searching for his father, joins Annalee and saves her life when a stranger attacks them. In Denver, the two flee the train. After a brush with the KKK, the pair are met, not by the elderly pastor Annalee expects, but by his enticingly handsome nephew, Reverend Jack Blake. Blake, a WWI hero, is the new pastor at the Mount Moriah Church. Disturbed by other murders as well as Joe’s, Jack reveals he sent for Annalee.

The Invisible Empire, the KKK, rules Denver, and Annalee’s investigation threatens people from all levels of society. Her life, and the lives of her friends, are endangered as she searches for the truth of Joe’s slaying, but Annalee’s quest for justice brings her unexpected treasures—renewed faith, love, and more mysteries to come.

This fast-paced mystery beautifully evokes life in 1920s Denver. Spunky Annalee proves a resourceful and intrepid heroine and her allies are fully fleshed individuals. Raybon’s lively style keeps the novel moving while shining a light on a sad epoch in American life that still reverberates a century later. I’ll look forward to Annalee’s next case! Recommended.