The Secret in the Wall


The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries)
by Ann Parker

About The Secret In The Wall

The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries)
Historical Mystery
8th in Series
Poisoned Pen Press (February 15, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1464214948
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1464214943
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B096L9XZ73

Sometimes you can’t keep your gown out of the gutter…

Inez Stannert has reinvented herself—again. Fleeing the comfort and wealth of her East Coast upbringing, she became a saloon owner and card sharp in the rough silver boomtown of Leadville, Colorado, always favoring the unconventional path—a difficult road for a woman in the late 1800s.

Then the teenaged daughter of a local prostitute is orphaned by her mother’s murder, and Inez steps up to raise the troubled girl as her own. Inez works hard to keep a respectable, loving home for Antonia, carefully crafting their new life in San Francisco. But risk is a seductive friend, difficult to resist. When a skeleton tumbles from the wall of her latest business investment, the police only seem interested in the bag of Civil War-era gold coins that fell out with it. With her trusty derringer tucked in the folds of her gown, Inez uses her street smarts and sheer will to unearth a secret that someone has already killed to keep buried. The more she digs, the muddier and more dangerous things become.

She enlists the help of Walter de Brujin, a local private investigator with whom she shares some history. Though she wants to trust him, she fears that his knowledge of her past, along with her growing attraction to him, may well blow her veneer of respectability to bits—that is, if her dogged pursuit of the truth doesn’t kill her first . . .


About Ann Parker

Ann Parker is a science writer by day and fiction writer by night. Her award-winning Silver Rush Mysteries series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, a Sourcebooks imprint, is set primarily in 1880s Leadville, Colorado, and more recently in San Francisco, California, the “Paris of the West.” The series was named a Booksellers Favorite by the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association, and Ann is listed in the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame. The Secret in the Wall is the eighth and newest entry in the series.

Q&A With The Author

When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?

I have always considered myself a reader, starting in elementary school with the Dick and Jane primers (anyone here remember those?). A couple decades later, I proudly took up the label "writer" when I got my first job as an editor/writer. But the adjective I attached to that noun was (at first) "technical" writer and (later) "science" writer. I did not consider myself a fiction writer until I was nearly at the half-century mark. That was when I plunged into creating Silver Lies, the first book in my Silver Rush historical mystery series.

What advice do you have for a new writer?

If I had to sum up my advice in one word, it'd be persist. I've seen many writers start a story, excited by their ideas and characters, only to waver and grind to a halt halfway through the first draft. That's when it's important to take a deep breath, keep going, and push through to the end. Once you type the magical words THE END, celebrate! You've done it! You've written an entire book, with a beginning, a middle, and an end!

But, keep in mind, you're not done yet...

Once the draft is complete, the advice to persist still applies. You now need to edit your draft; request, gather, and consider input from critique partners and beta readers; and do the necessary polishing to make your manuscript the best you can. At that point, assuming you want publish your book, you'll still need to persist. Whether you decide to go indie, go traditional, or take a hybrid route, be prepared for ups and downs. Keep going, a step at a time. It's only by persisting that you will reach your goal.

What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?

Probably the research. I am a research-nerd by profession and inclination, which is a very handy trait when writing historical fiction set in real places and incorporating real events. I have to be careful I don't disappear down the rabbit hole when pursuing some small detail, such as what kinds of pies would folks be able to bake in the winter of 1882 in San Francisco. Hours can pass as I noodle around the internet, chasing down historical news articles, old menus, and various arcane websites....

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of writing, I'd say that dialogue is the easiest to write, followed closely by action scenes (which often flow from dialogue). I also enjoy writing description, but have to be careful that I don't wax too enthusiastic by cramming in all those details I've gleaned from research and am dying to share with readers! Thank goodness for critique partners who point out those areas where I go overboard.

What is your favorite part of this story?

For The Secret in the Wall, that is probably the first chapter, particularly the chapter's last page or so. It was great fun to write, and as I drafted it, I could sense the potential energy of the story right there! It also is key in setting up the dynamics between the two main protagonists—my primary on-going protagonist, Inez Stannert, and her young, wayward ward, Antonia Gizzi.

Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why? 

I had so much fun writing the chapters from Antonia's point of view. When the book opens in early 1882, Antonia is thirteen years old, street-smart, and a bit of a "wild child"—not surprising given the hardscrabble life she led before my main protagonist Inez took her under her wing. In a strange twist of serendipity, I had set it up in previous books of the series that Antonia is avidly reading the serialized version of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Her obsession with Stevenson's swashbuckling tale came into handy when a skeleton accompanied by a bag of gold coins tumbles out of a wall. Of course, Antonia's mind immediately jumps to pirates! When Antonia teams up with another young girl to delve into "the secret in the wall," I got the chance to channel my inner child and draw upon long-ago interactions with siblings and playmates when crafting Antonia and friend's dialogue and (often dubious) decisions and activities.

Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?

For me, that would be the villain(s) of the piece... I don't want to give anything away from the "who done it" of my latest, so I won't go into any specifics. However, I can say the following: Oftentimes, I start writing a mystery thinking I know who the killer/criminal is, only to find that, partway through (or occasionally at the end) it is really someone else! So, in the editing, I have to plant some careful clues and think hard about what I reveal and don't reveal. Another reason I find antagonists hard to write, in general, is that it takes me a while to work out their motivations. Usually, once I work those out, I start feeling sorry for them and their choices. Writing such characters then becomes more nuanced and difficult for me. The Secret in the Wall was no different in these regards.

Author Links






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Visit Towne Center Books Website for Signed/Personalized copies


February 15 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST

February 15 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

February 16 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

February 17 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 18 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

February 18 – Books to the Ceiling – AUTHOR INTERVIEW


February 20 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

February 21 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 21 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

February 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 22 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

February 23 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

February 24 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

February 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 25 – CelticLady ‘s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 26 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW  

February 27 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT

February 27 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

February 28 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – GUEST POST

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  1. Sounds like an amazing lead character.

    1. Writing Antonia was a lot of fun! She appears in early books, but I let her "take the lead" in this one. (Well, one of the leads; there are basically two main characters whose POVs toggle throughout the book)

  2. Awesome new book release. I like the story concept.

    1. Hello Calvin - I'm glad it sounds intriguing to you! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Inez is an intriguing character. It would be fun to follow her beyond the wall.

    1. Hi Jeanna - I hope you do! I definitely had fun doing the research and writing this book... :-)

  4. sounds great. I love both the San Fran setting and the historical time period.

  5. This one has just been added to my TBR list.


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