A short but well-researched overview of the U.S. District Court for Western Arkansas, with Criminal Jurisdiction over the Indian Territory, from 1875,...moreA short but well-researched overview of the U.S. District Court for Western Arkansas, with Criminal Jurisdiction over the Indian Territory, from 1875, when Judge Isaac C. Parker came to its bench, until 1896, when the court's jurisdiction over the Indian Territory ceased, and Judge Parker died. Parker is known for having passed sentence of death 160 times - approximately 80 of which were carried out in the courtyard in Fort Smith, Arkansas - and Harrington, once chair of the History Department at the University of Arkansas, does a credible job of bringing insight into the times, the criminals, the deputy marshals, and the judge without dwelling on the sensational. Good book.(less)
In the spring of 1541, Henry VIII faced another conspiracy in the north of England, whose people and nobles were still largely opposed to the 'new rel...moreIn the spring of 1541, Henry VIII faced another conspiracy in the north of England, whose people and nobles were still largely opposed to the 'new religion' and still loyal to Rome. While the conspiracy was uncovered and many of its leaders imprisoned and executed, Henry and his advisers hurriedly organized a grand Progress,setting out to York in July to consolidate his authority. This forms the backdrop to the third of C. J. Sansom's Matthrew Shardlake mysteries, SOVEREIGN.
The hump-backed barrister of Lincoln's Inn, London, is called before Archbishop Cranmer and given a commission to assist at York in bringing petitions for justice from the people to the king. In addition, Cranmer gives him a charge to see to the safety of a noble prisoner, one of the spring conspirators, who is being brought back from York to London to endure the ministrations of the expert torturers in the Tower. The book opens as Shardlake and his assistant, Jack Barak, once a top operative for the now deposed and executed Lord Thomas Cromwell, ride into York a few days ahead of the King's Progress. What follows is a story that has all the period detail, suspense, danger, and political intrigue one could expect in the tumultuous times of Henry's England. A suspicious death, cryptic dying words, a cask of secret documents, repeated attempts on Shardlake's life - to say nothing of his current legal quarrel with a powerful foe, Sir Richard Rich, of the King's Privy Council - plunge the lawyer into events larger than he can realize, even to the tragedy of the ultimate fate of Queen Catherine Howard.
Reades of the first two books in this series, DISSOLUTION and DARK FIRE, will have come to expect a sense of authenticity in Sansom's portrayal of the highly-charged and dangerous atmosphere of early reformation England, and they won't be disappointed. Sansom has a gift for making the characters and time live before our eyes, all but placing us on the ground there. Those who haven't read Sansom before are in for a treat.
SILVER LIES by Ann Parker is a tale of greed and murder, set against the very authentic backdrop of Leadville, CO, in 1879, in the midst of its silver...moreSILVER LIES by Ann Parker is a tale of greed and murder, set against the very authentic backdrop of Leadville, CO, in 1879, in the midst of its silver rush. Joe Rose, assayer and pillar of the community, is found dead behind the Silver Queen saloon, trampled in what appears to be a tragic accident. Inez Stannert, partner in the Silver Queen, isn't so sure, finding as she begins to look into his death that Rose may not have been as upstanding as his reputation indicated. Determined to do what she can for Rose's widow and son, Inez uncovers forces at work that seek at all costs to shut her down.
While set in a very real nineteenth century western town, Ms. Parker avoids all the Hollywood cliches of the modern western - no high-noon gunfights in the street, no white hats and black hats. Instead, she presents us with a setting that accurately conveys life in a silver boom-town, with all the forces - prospectors, assayers, investors, and those who seek their fortunes not from mining silver but mining the pockets of the miners. The plot is sufficiently intriguing to keep the reader guessing, and the characters are not one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. This is an excellent book for both the mystery fan and the aficionado of the genuine Old West. If it's on your to-read shelf, you're in for a treat; if it's not, you should put it there.(less)