Blog Tour: Death Comes to Santa Fe, Amanda Allen

Book Review: Death Comes to Santa FeA Santa Fe Revival Mystery Book 3, Amanda Allen

Death Comes to Santa Fe, Amanda Allen

Mystery: Death Comes to Santa FeA Santa Fe Revival Mystery Book 3, Amanda Allen


Madeline (Maddie) Vaughn-Alwin feels like her new life is everything she dreamed of when she came to Santa Fe. Widowed after a very short marriage, her beloved husband killed in Europe during “The Great War,” she left the cocoon of toxic expectations that came with being part of a wealthy New York family and started a new life across the country. There, she lived in a beautiful house, pursued her painting career, and enjoyed life with friends who had become family. The tall and handsome doctor, her frequent dinner date and dance partner, made her wonder whether a second chance at love might even be possible.


If only the dead bodies would stop showing up.


It is fiesta time, and this particular celebration is capped by a large, mostly paper and wool statue of a man who could take your worries away. The thought was to write your worries on a piece of paper and give them to the effigy. Then, the effigy would be set on fire, taking your worries with him into the sky, reducing them to ash.


The next morning, when cleaning up the site, one of Maddie’s friends discovers that more than worries had been lit up. A fancy shoe, false teeth, and some human finger bones are found in the ash. Later that day, the rest of the body turns up in a nearby arroyo.


It would not be much of a book if Maddie then did the thing most non-detectives do and simply stand by. Maddie and her friends have built a reputation in Santa Fe for being amateur sleuths. Of course, when you have that reputation and are hunting a murderer, it is only a matter of time before the murderer turns their attentions toward you.


There are a couple of TV shows that kept running through my mind as I read this story, set between the world wars in a Santa Fe that was still much more of a small town than a city. The first is the long running Canadian series, Murdoch Mysteries, set in an early 1900s Toronto. The second is the delightful Australian series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, set in 1920s Melbourne. Both of these television series are based on a series of books, and both of them tackle the difficult task of ringing true to their time periods without offending modern readers and viewers. Given the history of racism, homophobia, class expectations, gender roles, and intolerance in those time periods (and still ongoing), placing characters with more modern sensibilities into earlier eras can be challenging. 


Author Amanda Allen does a fine job of walking that line. Maddie and her friends are part of a Bohemian artist colony filled with radicals and free thinkers. This provides an opportunity to acknowledge wider societal issues from a safe space for critique. 


Death Comes to Santa Fe has winsome characters, a twisty plot, and is a fun addition to the historical mystery subgenre. In short, this spiffy book is the bee’s knees. 

Our thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for our copy of Death Comes to Santa Fe, provided so we could give an honest review. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.


Death Comes to Santa Fe, Amanda Allen

Book Review: Death Comes to Santa FeA Santa Fe Revival Mystery Book 3, Amanda Allen

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.