Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce
It’s no secret that here at borg, we’re big fans of Victorian mysteries—from Netflix’s Enola Holmes to Crimson Peak, to my own Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery series, we are always on the lookout for the next great historical whodunnit to share with you. Thanks to our friends at Minotaur Books, we have a new series to recommend. Erin Lindsey’s third “Rose Gallagher” novel, The Silver Shooter, is not only a cracking good Victorian mystery, it’s a paranormal mystery, and set in the Old West, to boot (ahem). Readers are plunged straight into an adventure with Pinkerton Special Department agents Rose Gallagher and Thomas Wiltshire as they take on a case for ranch owner Theodore Roosevelt (yep, that TR!).
In the wake of a devastating winter—the real-life Winter of the Blue Snow in 1887-1887 in which thousands of livestock froze to death—something stalks the frontier town of Medora, North Dakota. Cattle, horses, and townspeople are being torn to pieces. Is it the work of cattle rustlers? Indians? Or something supernatural? The community, already uneasy, is at the breaking point. Rose and Thomas must find the culprit—and stop it—before tensions between the townsfolk and the Lakota turn into outright warfare. Oh, and there’s a pesky ghost haunting the local hotel, demanding vengeance for his recent murder.
Readers need not have read the first two volumes to thoroughly enjoy The Silver Shooter. It reads easily and naturally, and although the characters clearly have backstory together, Lindsey has skillfully woven it into the threads of the tale. I know I’m definitely eager to read the other books in the series, Murder on Millionaire’s Row and A Golden Grave. The worldbuilding is terrifically done: in Lindsey’s Gilded Age, people with a touch of the supernatural are known as “Lucky,” and this luck manifests in various ways and is passed down through families.
Agents Gallagher and Wiltshire are charged with sleuthing out cases involving this secret side of criminal life, and the result is a brilliant and lively combination of historical accuracy with a fun paranormal twist. As a bonus for history buffs, there’s also an author’s note and appendices including period newspaper accounts.
All in all, The Silver Shooter makes for a terrific adventure. Add this one to your must-read list!