83,804 wds.

ARC comments:

“Historical mystery of the first order—filled with mysticism, the supernatural, and murder….Loved every minute of it. Highest recommendation.”

“Los Angeles in 1852. I never wanted to leave…felt I could reach out and touch each of the characters. Wonderful.”

“Amazing story…old California legal thriller and yet a fairy tale at the same time. I adored this book.”

While the gold rush is raging in the Sierras, a strange young woman arrives in the Pueblo de Los Angeles. Who is Doña Arcadia Peralta Moncado? Where is she from? Why does she speak both English and Spanish with a peculiar musical lilt? Why do all inquiries into her background reach a dead end? Is she responsible for the death of her caballero husband Don Ramon de Soto Lorenzana, or is she wrongly accused?

She hires a transplanted Philadelphia lawyer to represent her, and he plunges into her case head first. But he encounters far more than he anticipates, and before the trial is resolved, his life is very nearly destroyed.

Ghosts, goblins, spirits, and specters—and animals behaving as animals are not supposed to behave. Bandits, history, superstitions, and evil….Murder and mayhem with paranormal overtones. And gypsy magic.

And a nine-mile horse race between a magnificent cinnamon-colored stallion—undefeated in all challenges—and a small, sleek black mare imported from Australia. Which horse will prevail? Fortunes have been wagered, and the outcome will determine the ability of grandees to maintain their vast ranchos.

“A legal romp on horseback in old L.A.”