CITY OF SILVER by Annamaria Alfieri
Potosi, high in the Altiplano of the majestic Andes Mountains is the richest city in the Western hemisphere, perhaps the world. it’s wealth comes from the prosperous silver mines that are being emptied at a rate that still cannot satisfy the greed of the King of Spain. There is still enough silver around to make most of the Spanish colonists wealth as well, perhaps not as wealthy as they would like because the cuts that they King takes are astronomical. Still it is said that they burn money in the churches instead of candles. Nonetheless there are ways to increase what ever you do have what ever your lot in life. It is because of these dealings that evil problems begin to be seen in Potosi.
The first begins with the death of Inez de la Morada, the daughter of the mayor the richest and most powerful man in Potosi, who has fled to the local convent, pleading for sanctuary. She refuses to tell the Abbess from what she fearing but she is found dead in a locked cell, and suicide cannot be ruled out. Shortly after this another young postulant is found the victim of a similar sudden death.
Inez’s father the Alcalde, has problems of his own. The silver mines of Potosi have been sending coins to the king’s coffers in Spain, silver coins that have been adulterated with alloy. The face value is not real and this is a threat to the Spanish economy and the strength of its currency. The king has sent his investigator and everyone is anxious about the possible punishments which include the loss of their fortunes.
There is a race against time to find the cause of the murders so that the convent and its abbess are not blamed for crimes against the church, which is a great concern in these days of the inquisition. The role of the women in this time is one of powerlessness for the most part, but in the end it is the women who triumph.