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.