Saloonkeeper Inez Stannert sorts out trouble at the cathouse in her third Western adventure (Iron Ties, 2006, etc.).
The mining town of Leadville, Colo., is excited nearly to the point of riots by a visit from former President Ulysses S. Grant. While the jostling crowd waits for Grant’s train to arrive, fire breaks out at Frisco Flo’s bawdy house, threatening Inez’s Silver Queen saloon next door. As the townsfolk race to put out the flames, Lizzie, one of the whores, tears off into the night. In the next morning’s ashes, Lizzie turns up dead. Inez has a particular interest in finding the killer and arsonist. She and Flo, as fellow businesswomen, have made a deal to buy a new brothel for Flo’s girls. President Grant’s visit has brought all kinds of suspicious characters to Leadville: Cecil Farnesworth, a mousy surveyor; Serena Clatchworthy, an eccentric suffragette in purple bloomers with a nose for juicy journalism; and John Quincy Adams Wesley, a mustachioed villain in a black top hat who intends to spend his way to political power. In the course of her investigation, Inez copes with her divorce, attends a ball, courts the reverend, plays high-stakes poker, averts a duel, discovers who really killed Lizzie and sets the wrongly accused prostitute, who happens to have a heart of gold, on her way to a new life.
Disjointed and clichéd.