This novel stars a young Annie Oakley when she first joins Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show as a fifteen-year-old sharpshooter. She needs to money to support her mother and two younger siblings since the mother seems to only make bad choices in men since she became a widow. The current candidate is a drinker who has brought the family home near foreclosure.
The Show is a hotbed of secrets and jealousies. Annie’s new and sudden popularity with the public has made for former star Frank Butler jealous. Also jealous is Twila who happens to be Bill’s long-time lover. Twila brings her surrogate daughter Lillie Smith who is another sharpshooter. Lillie hates Indians, drinks too much whiskey, and seems to bring a new cowboy to their shared tent every night which makes her very different from Quaker Annie.
When Kimi, Annie’s dresser and Native American, is found dead leaving behind a half-breed baby, Annie is sure she was murdered though the investigations says she died of natural causes. While Annie investigates, she is also being courted by Frank Butler and Derence LeFleur who is an older, married man who was influential in getting Annie the job with the Show.
Frank is having some issues with his shooting and so is Lillie since alcohol really doesn’t help accuracy but Annie hasn’t lost her touch except when someone sabotages her rifle. She and her horse Buck are stars. But then Buck becomes ill and listless. After some time, she becomes convinced that someone is trying to hurt him too.
This was an entertaining story set in 1885. I liked the variety of characters from Buffalo Bill to Sitting Bull. I liked the intrepid girl reporter who encourages Annie to participate in the budding Women’s Suffrage Movement. I liked Annie even though I think she jumped to conclusions rather too quickly. I had identified the villain early in the story because of his general smarminess but there were still some plot twists that I didn’t see coming.
Fans of historical mysteries will enjoy this story and look forward to more of Annie’s adventures.
Support this site by buying the book through the links below. Thank you very much!