When Anne first tumbled onto Ann Parker’s Silver Rush historical mystery series, she jumped on it and devoured book one, Silver Lies. She also discovered a mention of angelica in book three, Leaden Skies.
What fun! Parker’s series, featuring saloonkeeper Inez Stannert in Leadville, Colorado, mostly in the early 1880s, is a terrific window on the reality of frontier America. It was really tough, especially for a woman who has been abandoned by her husband. Anne loved that Inez is no wilting flower, but a strong woman determined to make it on her own (not unlike Anne’s character Maddie Wilcox from the Old Los Angeles series).
In Silver Lies, which starts in December, 1879, Inez finds herself on the hunt to find out who killed a local mining assayer. Given that the fellow was corrupt as all get out and that the town is filled with all manner of unsavory types, Inez has her hands full.
What to drink
We chose Angelica to accompany this little tale of greed and murder, partly because the guys at Inez’ saloon, The Silver Queen, would have been drinking angelica wine from California. Well, along with whiskey. They mostly drank whiskey. But Parker had found a manifest with angelica listed on it.
Angelica is basically a sherry, a fortified wine. It can be pretty strong, like Inez, but it also has a softer side, also like Inez. Sherry is the sort of drink that people of refined backgrounds drank. Inez, herself, came from a family with money.
Admittedly, finding angelica these days can be a bit of a challenge. It will definitely be easier to find Silver Lies, as it’s available all over. But try going to Ann Parker’s website first. Then sit back, get a good fire going, a glass of angelica or sherry, and immerse yourself in 1879.