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City of Silver

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  157 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
It's 1650, and the Peruvian city of Potosi is under investigation from the King of Spain for producing counterfeit silver coins. Meanwhile, the Grand Inquisitor of New Spain is also investigating, this time into the actions of abbess Mother Maria Santa Hilda, who has allowed an apparent suicide, a young woman who died inside the abbey, to be buried in sacred ground. But Mo ...more
Paperback, 301 pages
Published April 16th 2011 by Felony & Mayhem (first published August 4th 2009)
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Richard Derus
Rating: 2.75* of five

An historical mystery set in seventeenth-century Peru, certainly an unusual choice for an author, was completely irresistible to me the day I stumbled across it in the liberry.

Sadly, I ended the 315-page read wishing I'd resisted. It's not a bad book, really, but it's ponderous. The pacing problem that plagues many an historical mystery was amply demonstrated here...murders happened, but seemingly without emotional affect or effect. It's startling to me that the murder of a
Dec 02, 2012 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in 1650, Potosi Peru. City of Silver: A Mystery beautifully blends a mystery, historic Catholic doctrine, 17th century sexism and racism.
As it IS 1650, women are expected to obey their men and do what is what they are told or Else. The Spaniard occupiers treat the Peruvian natives like slaves or worse. However, that does not mean all of the women or natives are like sheep, on the contrary.
Annamaria Alfieri does a excellent job portraying the Catholic Church and all its pageantry as well as
Jason Golomb
"Potosi had a Spanish soul: proud, greedy, cruel, and noble. It had beauty. Grandeur. Chaos."

Potosi is the location of Alfieri's terrific historical mystery, "City of Silver". This murder mystery is set in 1650 in the then Peruvian city nestled against a silver-rich mountain that made the city one of the wealthiest places in not only the new world, but the entire world.

The story revolves around the discovery of girl found dead in a room of a convent. She's naked, the door is locked, there's no
May 23, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's an emergency. Having read this, I must go to Potosi in Bolivia to see the most perfectly preserved Spanish Baroque city in the world. And what a story:
naughty nuns, the Spanish Inquisition, incest, cross dressing, and a mountain of silver = what else does one need?
Jul 06, 2010 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good little historical mystery set in Potosi, the focal point of Spain's colony during the 17th century due to it's incredible wealth of silver. The characters are intriguing, period details vivid, and it makes me long to revisit this charming town in Bolivia that I visited so long ago.
Perry Whitford
In the heart of modern-day Bolivia used to stand the 17th century Spanish city of Potsoi, fourteen thousand feet above the equator, built at the base of a mountain containing the worlds largest silver mine. A largely forgotten place now, but in 1650, the year this mystery is set, the "city had dominated the economic life of the planet for nearly a century".

But that domination is under threat. It is discovered that the currency is being systematically debased, so the king sends a representative t
Talk about sense of place! Potosi in Alto Peru (now Bolovia) in the mid-1600s, one of the highest cities in colonial Spain. Bleak, isolated, windy, thin air. Always the thin air. Formed around the rich silver mine, the city runs on silver and is one of the empire's richest cities. In the middle of nowhere, the Potosinos think they're the center of the world. The Potosinos are like a great big dysfunctional family, always gossiping, fighting and plotting with each other. Enter the Inquisition and ...more
City of Silver by Annamaria Alfieri really was a fast moving, intensely drawing book. It's set in 17th century Peru and definitely a mystery. Very quickly two murders happened and one in particular badly needed solving for reasons of political comfort. First came an Inca miner doing some under-the-table work for some unidentified someone, then the daughter of a wealthy family which opened other questions making people quite uncomfortable. The setting is an era of strict rules, which at least pu ...more
Jul 20, 2009 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inez de la Morada is the daughter of Francisco Morada, the Mayor of Potosi. Potosi is a city of many riches. Inez has found the man she wants to marry. Her father disapproves of her choice. Inez seeks shelter at the convent, Santa Isabella de los Santos Milagros. Mother Abbess Maria Santa Hilda takes a liking to Inez and watches over her. When Mother Abbess Maria goes to check up on Inez, she finds the young woman dead. Inez’s death does not go unnoticed, especially when her father is the Mayor. ...more
Feb 18, 2015 Doris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1
A good mystery set in a historical silver city, with conquistadores and Spanish Dons and Donas. The mystery was sound, the solution believable, and the villain caught.

However, the writing was difficult to read - it tended towards pontification. Perhaps because of this, I was unable to get deep enough into the story to feel that the chief villain was really all that bad. I was left with a feeling that the victim was aiming for trouble that started with her grandfather, and that the main cast was
Ravishankar Srinivasan
Fantastic historical fiction set in Potosi and a murder mystery in a convent - sign me up!

The author has portrayed every day life and the grandeur of the famed city of Potosi brilliantly. The corruption of the clergy and the cruelty of the inquisition along with Spain's colonial greed is clearly laid out and serves as a reminder for many latin american nations dependent on just a single source of wealth (I am looking at you Venezuela) and how it corrupts the human soul.

Thoroughly engrossing read
Mickey Wyte
Apr 23, 2012 Mickey Wyte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I really enjoyed this book. Annamaria Alfieri brings to the written page the sound and feel of 1650 Peru with a literally talent that brings to my mind Isabel Allende. Alfieri shows a vast knowledge of the period yet she does not write in a pedantic manor.
Her characters are well rounded. The story flows with every turn of the page.
I highly recommend City of Silver to those who enjoy well written historical fiction.
May 28, 2013 Aguess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Set in Potosi the center of silver mining in the Western Hemisphere in the seventeenth century, this story is rich in historic detail and in intrigue. Told mainly through the voices of a number of women - rich wives of powerful mine owners, nuns, young women hiding in the convent to gain control over their lives, this is intricate web stretched to breaking by the complexities of desire, for money, power, and sex.
Set in 1650 Petosi, Peru, the richest city in the Western Hemisphere at the time and the source of most of the silver for the Spanish monarchy, there is plenty of action and intrigue with the Crown, the Church, and the Inquisition all vying for power and the murder of a young girl is at the center of the story.

The unusual setting, the well-researched historical detail, just a touch of romance, and a good, complex plot made this an entertaining and informative read.
May 01, 2016 Koby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps I just haven't read a book with fight scenes for a while, but I felt like Alfieri's universe started to decay every time a sword clashed. Things felt more disjointed during these battles than anywhere else. Otherwise, the universe of City of Silver seemed impeccably constructed. I found myself engrossed in this universe in a manner which I never would have imagined I would be by a mystery. A distinctly fun read!
Aug 10, 2015 Nina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I visited Peru a few years ago, and when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. Immediately, I was sucked into the world that Alfieri has created. Without disclosing too much, 17th century Peru (and probably the 17th century in general) was a really horrid time for women to live. Some of the characters made me so angry! Alfieri combined so many elements that I love in a novel: a locked room mystery, strong female characters and an intriguing (and well researched) historical setting.
An interesting mystery read rich with historical detail that brings to life colonial Potosí in all its excesses, abuses, and splendour.
Out of the many remarkable elements in this story, I found the attention paid to the condition of women's lives in this era most interesting. The author creates a stifling atmosphere ringed by corruption and fear that neatly reflects the socio-political incarceration of women within the domestic sphere - whether in a home or in a convent.
Jan 18, 2013 Margaret rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
It was an interesting setting, the characters weren't boring and the breadth of the characters' stations in the society was broad. It wasn't overly thrilling and it was hard to feel anything for the murder victim because of her character which in turn made it hard to care about the sleuths because they liked her so much. I also think it would be more interesting if I knew less about colonial Peru.
Jan 19, 2012 Ned rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A criminally neglected historical setting (17th century Bolivia) is the main draw for this nice little historical mystery. As I am fascinated by all things Spanish Colonial, I found the setting and its details satisfying. The only jarring note was the last few pages, which read as though they were torn from a romance novel. An odd ending to an otherwise decent historical mystery.
May 05, 2013 Dawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty good mystery that kept me guessing until the end. However, the pace was a little slow and I did not like what happened to the cat! Also, I hated the way the women were treated, though I know it's historically accurate. There were a few strong women characters and one who grew stronger throughout the book. Still, I'm very glad I didn't live during those times.
Oct 10, 2011 Billie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I started the book I thought it was going to be a chick-lit story even though the title says, "A Mystery." There is a bit of romance but it is a mystery set in the 1600's in South America in a high mountain town with a silver mine that is starting to run dry. It is a intriguing mystery about the church, the Spanish government and the men who control the city.
It's clear the author really wanted the town of Potosí to be a character in itself, but somehow I just wasn't blown away by the story. I did finish it, it's an interesting and unusual time/place, and an ok mystery, but meh.
Jan 01, 2010 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: whodunits
A compelling read, this book is historical fiction and a mystery, too. 17th century church politics and greedy miners, heroic women and a sympathetic priest, all set in South America. I did expect the Spanish Inquisition, and sure enough, it's there.
Jen Reardon
This was an interesting story set in the 1500s in S. America, revolving around the richest city in the world at the time. It was a little confusing to follow at times, but the story was good by the end of the book.
Tom Buske
This book is a little reminiscent of the excellent "Name of the Rose" but not quite as well written. Still a good murder mystery with some good historical period stuff from 17th Century Peru. If you like a good historical fiction yarn, I think you will enjoy this book.
Decent beginning to the book, but the politics get a little weary in the middle. The final portion of the book is fast-paced and expertly executed. Very interesting commentary on the role of women in the New World.
Susan McDuffie
Mar 25, 2012 Susan McDuffie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This mystery fascinated me; the setting totally unfamiliar and intriguing. I had no idea Potosi even existed, and this lively recreation of a vanished culture and city is well written and an excellent mystery besides. Thoroughly enjoyable!
Mar 06, 2010 Misty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic for a debut novel. Historical novel mixed with murder mystery.
Jun 06, 2016 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Three and a half stars
Historical mystery which was kinda fun. The fact that I couldn't remember it two weeks later says something -- but is it about me or the book???
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Annamaria Alfieri is the pen name used by author Patricia King for her mystery novel City of Silver, set in 1650 in the wealthy Peruvian (now Bolivian) city of Potosi.
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