Mortal Music (Silver Rush Mysteries)

Written by Ann Parker
Review by Valerie Adolph

In the winter of 1881, music store owner Inez Stannert struggles to make her San Francisco business profitable. She attends a performance at the Grand Opera House and afterwards is asked, actually virtually commanded, to become accompanist to prima donna Theia Carrington Drake. Unwilling to work for such an unpredictable character, Inez hesitates but eventually agrees, as Theia’s husband, the attractive Graham Drake, has made her an irresistible financial offer.

But almost immediately disasters befall the volatile Theia, who is thrown into agonies of grief over the death of her pet songbird and then the death of her young understudy – although perhaps Theia’s husband was becoming too intimate with the understudy. This is but one of the intriguing plot twists in this, the seventh of the author’s Silver Rush historical series.

The author presents a detailed and evocative description of San Francisco of 1881, still somewhat gold rush boom town, but becoming a nascent city, the cultural hub of the West coast. She 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.