Judy Alter, author: Kelly O'Connell Mystery Series
All the things I like best in a novel--a solid bit of history of the American West, an appealing heroine, a darned good mystery, and a bit of humor. Cheers to Sandra Marshall for her debut novel.
Donnell Ann Bell, author: A Cold Case Suspense
I was given an advanced reader's copy of Death in the Time of Pancho Villa. Being from New Mexico, I was immediately interested in the topic as Pancho Villa is a notorious legend. Sandra Marshall brings Pancho Villa to life. Imagine a young woman, 26-years old traveling from Ohio to El Paso, Texas in the year 1911, by train--unchaperoned. Rose Westmoreland has her hands full. Her husband has disappeared and Rose is out to find him. Her timing couldn't be worse, however, as she arrives on the eve of the Mexican Revolution.
Beth O'Leary, author: The Final Mission
A fascinating book about life on the border in El Paso during the Mexican Revolution. The female protagonist from Ohio brings her perspective to the turbulent times in Texas. She ends up solving a murder mystery with two other women and meets Pancho Villa in an ice cream shop. A unique and historically accurate mystery. A brave new talented author. I cannot wait for the next in the series.
Judy Alter, Lone Star Literary Life
Texas native Sandra Marshall debuts with a mystery and a smashing title, Death in the Time of Pancho Villa. In 1911, the city of El Paso is tense, anticipating a battle in the Mexican Revolution to land on its streets. Rose Westmoreland, traveling alone without protector or chaperone, arrives looking for her husband who has apparently disappeared in the revolution. Rose is befriended by two women, a retired actress and a young Mexican expatriate, who give advice that would horrify her family back in Ohio. Then a reporter recruits her to use her photographic skills to take portraits of the revolutionary leaders, including the colorful and much-feared Pancho Villa and the quieter Frances Madero, who believed he was led to anti-authoritarianism by messages from his deceased brother. Rose, fascinated by borderlands culture, is soon caught up in the revolution and finds her life in danger. When Villa and Madero take control of Ciudad Juarez and celebrate their victory, Rose learns the truth about her husband. Marshall’s background as an archeologist and architectural historian of the American Southwest, coupled with meticulous research, accounts for the accuracy in this story, from people and events to details of place. Marshall received a Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Authors while writing her first novel. She and her husband live in southern New Mexico. As Marshall writes, “Where one door closes, another opens, and on the border, there are many doors.” Look for a sequel to this powerful novel that will carry you back in time and maybe across a border.
Mary Trimble, author: Maureen
A wonderful weave of history and fiction.
Death in the Time of Pancho Villa, a novel by Sandra Marshall, blends the Mexican Revolution’s real-life people and facts together with compelling fictional characters and situations. The story takes place in the Texas/Mexico border town of El Paso, 1911.
Rose Westmoreland travels by train from Ohio in search of her missing husband, Leonard. His well-to-do parents are disapproving of a woman traveling alone, but Rose must know what has happened, good or bad. All Rose knows is that Leonard, an accountant, was sent to El Paso by his employer to audit the company books, and a short time later he disappeared.
Rose is fortunate to find a woman’s boarding house where she is befriended by the owner and another guest, a young Mexican expatriate. The three women plot together how Rose might find her husband. The further she delves into the mystery, the more complicated and dangerous the situation becomes. As it happens, Rose’s arrival coincides with a critical Mexican revolutionary battle that takes place in Juárez, directly across the Rio Grande River.
Rose’s investigation gets even more puzzling when it appears her husband’s reason for being there was far more complicated than auditing books. Drilling rights among competing international oil companies enter the fray and Rose’s situation becomes even more dire as she gets closer to the truth.
I very much enjoyed Death in the Time of Pancho Villa, the first in “A Rose in Old El Paso” series. The author weaves historical people and events into a realistic, captivating mystery. When I’m reading fiction, I always enjoy learning more about real- life characters and the author’s portrayal of Francisco "Pancho" Villa, a Mexican revolutionary general, made me want to learn more about him.