Leadville, Colorado's richest and most notorious woman is murdered in her home, the aptly named Black Lace House. The prime suspect is dissolute roué Kit Randall, nephew of Brad Randall and his bride-to-be, Eden Murdoch.

When Brad and Eden realize the grave danger Kit is in, they conspire to keep him out of the clutches of the vigilantes until Eden can identify the true killer.

Black's gift is a deft hand with historical detail—she provides just enough to set the reader in the scene, without turning the narrative into a history lecture.

The novel's weak points, though, are some stilted writing and weak characterization. The denouement is sculpted like pure Victorian melodrama, and I really didn't feel strongly enough about any of the characters to care what happened to them. (Sep., 318 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kim Colley