In book four of the Silver Rush series, Inez Stannert travels through the Rocky Mountains to Manitou, Colorado, eager to reunite with her son, William. A sickly child, he was sent to her sister’s Eastern home to improve his health. Inez, her husband, Mark, and a friend Abe Johnson, all successful gamblers, own the Silver Queen Saloon in Leadville, Colorado, a mining town. Mark disappeared unexpectedly over a year ago and was presumed dead. Now, he has returned, wishing to explain and to resume married life with Inez, but Inez has created a new life that does not include her resurrected husband. However, on the way to Manitou, one of her carriage companions dies after drinking a miracle cure touted by a Manitou resort. Even though his death is attributed to a heart weakness, Inez is compelled by his widow to investigate and must enlist Mark’s assistance to gain access to information still off-limits to women in 1880s Colorado.
Although her previous novels have been set in Leadville, this time Parker relocates her characters, allowing exploration of new scenery, including Colorado resort areas, and the opportunity to add new characters without abandoning the old. Although we do not see much of favorites like Abe and Justice Sands, Susan Carothers accompanies Inez, and Mark makes his first appearance in the series. Parker’s accurate depiction of the silver rush and development of the West never detracts from the mystery or her characters. And her examination of women’s place in society, both Eastern and Western, illustrates the diligence needed for successful career women to maintain their reputations.
While Mercury’s Rise will stand alone as an excellent mystery, reading the series in order is recommended.