Welcome to El Paso, Texas, 1911
Women Writing the West 2021 WILLA Literary Award Finalist in original softcover fiction
The in-laws were aghast when Rose Westmoreland boarded the train alone, bound for the far edge of the country, to find her missing husband. Unthinkable in 1911. Now she’s in El Paso, a city holding its breath, anticipating a spectacle. A decisive battle of the Mexican Revolution is about to erupt right across the Rio Grande. Husband Leonard, sent there by his employer Stoneman Petroleum, apparently first went native, then disappeared, leaving behind a fiery rebel mistress and rumors he was sent to offer the rebels money in exchange for favorable drilling rights.
Alone in this liminal place, Rose is befriended by two women, a retired thespian and a young Mexican expatriate, who suggest coping methods that would throw the folks back in Shaker Heights into a tizzy. A reporter recruits Rose, who is a talented amateur photographer, to immortalize the Mexican leaders: a sardonic, strawberry soda-sipping Pancho Villa and visionary Francisco Madero, who communes with the shades of Napoleon and Beníto Juárez. Rose is caught up in the intrigues of the Revolution, the unfamiliar culture of the borderlands, and the deadly competition between international oil companies. When the only person to offer real information is killed by what is, perhaps, a stray bullet, she finds her own life in danger. While victory is celebrated across the river, Rose learns the truth about Leonard. But where one door closes, another opens, and on the border there are many doors.
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Historical Novel Society review: Death in the Time of Pancho Villa: A Rose in Old El Paso Mystery - Historical Novel Society Review can also be viewed by clicking on Reviews tab.
El Paso had been a small town, but it never was really small towny.
Timothy G. Turner
Bullets, Bottles, and Gardenias
This is a fascinating murder mystery that immerses the reader in time (1911) and place (El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico) with an intrepid heroine. The historical details were meticulous and the story fit seamlessly into the start of the Mexican Revolution and the life of Pancho Villa.
Carol Potenza, author of Hearts of
the Missing: A Mystery, A Tony
Hillerman Prize Winner