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Annie Oakley travels to England and solves a murder.

In April 1887, the Wild West Show of Buffalo Bill Cody embarks for England at the invitation of Queen Victoria. The famous sharpshooter Annie Oakley is the star of the show (Girl with a Gun, 2018), and she boards the steamship State of Nebraska along with her husband and manager, Frank Butler, her horse, Buck, her younger sister, Hulda, and her reporter-friend, Emma Wilson. Amal Bhakta, one of the queen's servants, has been sent to smooth Annie’s way, but the trip proves to be a difficult one, especially after a frantic Buck jumps overboard soon after having received a sedative which has rendered him unable to swim. Frank and Bhakta both end up in the water; Buck is saved but Bhakta does not survive. Both the veterinarian, Mr. Everett, and the physician, Dr. Adams, examine the corpse, and Adams opines that Bhakta died from internal bleeding possibly caused by poison. Frank may have been the target, as some think he is associated with the anti-English Fenian Brotherhood because of his Irish background. Frank tells Annie that he and Bhakta were both pushed overboard, and she is determined to find the truth despite feeling unwell herself and being worried about Hulda, who is still a child determined to act like an adult with the encouragement of Annie’s flamboyant rival, Lillie Smith. Annie had a difficult childhood and was earning money to help her family at an early age; her Quaker background has left her with strong opinions, and she is offended by Lillie’s looser morals. After making some interesting discoveries, Annie accuses passenger Becky Brady, the emotionally unstable niece of infamous Irish nationalist Charles Parnell, of Bhakta’s death. Once in England, Annie, Frank, and Hulda are invited to stay at the palace, where the queen's physician helps cure Frank of his terrible malaise and suggests to Annie that her discomfort is caused by pregnancy, an idea that does not please her. Attempts are made on Victoria’s life, and Annie realizes she was wrong to accuse Becky and must go back and look at a long list of suspects in order to find the real killer.

A meandering mystery with plenty of suspects cleverly weaves the true facts of Annie’s storied life with plenty of historical tidbits.

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-943006-90-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Spark Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019


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