All That Is Secret
(An Annalee Spain Mystery #1)
By Patricia Raybon
Published by: Tyndale
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Genres: Black & African American Historical Fiction, Christian Mystery & Suspense
FROM THE BACK COVER: From award-winning author Patricia Raybon comes a compelling new historical mystery series, a riveting puzzle about a young Black theologian–and Sherlock fan–trying to solve her father’s cold-case murder in a city ruled by the KKK.
It’s the winter of 1923 and Professor Annalee Spain―a clever but overworked theologian at a small Chicago Bible college–receives a cryptic telegram calling her home to Denver to solve the murder of her beloved but estranged father.
For a young Black woman, searching for answers in a city ruled by the KKK could mean real danger. Still, with her literary hero Sherlock Holmes as inspiration, Annalee launches her hunt for clues, attracting two surprising allies: Eddie, a relentless young orphan boy searching for his missing father, and Jack, a handsome young pastor who loves nightclub dancing and fast cars–awakening Annalee’s heart to the surprising highs and lows of romance and love.
With their help, Annalee follows clues that land her among Denver’s powerful elite. But when her sleuthing unravels sinister motives and long-buried lies, will clever Annalee become a victim, too?
NORA’S REVIEW: This story and its well-developed characters grabbed my heart and emotions from the start, here’s a peek…” The little baby was four hours old. Still unwashed. Barely crying. But Joe Spain’s old ears recognized the sound. A human infant. Somebody’s mistake, left in the Colorado cold to die.”
Oh, my I was hooked, and surprised by this gripping, powerful and emotional opening situation where we meet Annalee’s father. I felt a part of the investigation as this brave young lady, makes her way to the scene of the crime. I like the way readers are introduced to this determined, educated, and confident woman who isn’t afraid to do the right thing, even if it looks impossible. As the story builds, Annalee faces incredibly difficult situations as she tries to dig up clues leading to her father’s murderer.
There is a quote under the chapter number from Sherlock Holmes novels. Chapter one says, “Perhaps I have trained myself to see what others overlook.” Sherlock Holmes, A Case of Identity. I liked reading about this young female sleuth from the 1920s. My heart went out to the orphan boy and the pastor, who were unlikely back for Annalee. I liked how historical events were woven into this murder mystery, which gave the reader a different point of view.
I liked what the author says about the main character, “Amid this hostility, my character Annalee Spain found respite in stories of Sherlock Holmes, the iconic fictional detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. All of the Holmes epigraphs featured in All That Is Secret are from stories first published in the Strand…Annalee doesn’t solve crimes like Holmes, famous for creative solutions using deductive reasoning. She affirms his belief, however, that a women’s instincts are valuable crime-fighting skills. So, I enjoyed letting Annalee deploy her instincts to unravel the mystery in this novel. How will she grow as a detective? Her next mystery will be coming soon.”
The author includes twelve discussion questions to help create a lively discussion for your book club. This is the authors’ debt novel. I look forward to seeing where the author takes Annalee and what mysteries she will solve. This page-turner that will grab your heart and never let it go.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”
Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog www.bookfun.org