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Gold Digger: A Klondike Mystery [Kindle Edition]

Vicki Delany
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Book One of the Klondike Mystery Series by Vicki Delany!

It’s the spring of 1898, and Dawson, Yukon Territory, is the most exciting town in North America. The great Klondike Gold Rush is in full swing and Fiona MacGillivray has crawled over the Chilkoot Pass determined to make her fortune as the owner of the Savoy dance hall. Provided, that is, that her twelve-year-old son, growing up much too fast for her liking; the former Glasgow street fighter who’s now her business partner; a stern, handsome NWMP constable; an aging, love-struck ex-boxing champion; a wild assortment of headstrong dancers, croupiers, gamblers, madams without hearts of gold, bar hangers-on, cheechakos, and sourdoughs; and Fiona’s own nimble-fingered past don’t get to her first. And then there’s the dead body on centre stage.

If you loved Gold Digger, check out the next three books of the series, Gold Fever, Gold Mountain, and Gold Web.

Editorial Reviews


"Delany proves to be a master at the historical mystery, just as she is for the traditional mystery." (

From the Inside Flap

It's the spring of 1898, and Dawson is the most exciting town in North America. Fiona MacGillivray has crawled over the Chilkoot Pass determined to make her fortune as the owner of the Savoy dance hall. But first there's the issue of the dead body on centre stage.

Product Details

  • File Size: 487 KB
  • Print Length: 326 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1894917804
  • Publisher: Napoleon and Co (April 15, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GU07OZS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #916,012 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good historical fiction, unlikeable main character April 24, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm not sure if the author intended her main character to be so thoroughly unlikeable. Fiona is arrogant, a liar, thoughtless, self centered, deluded as to her own importance and the queen of denial.

The mystery is quite good. The historical setting extremely accurate. The Yukon is a character.The human characters are well drawn, but I despised Fiona. She keeps remembering her past and none of the memories aid the plot. Apparently she came from nothing, rose to hang out with the Prince of Wales, stole jewelry and silver, and had to run to the Yukon in the middle of the night. She is a sneaky, nasty woman who only loves her son. Sterling is a nice Saskatchewan farm boy, now a Mountie who is possibly falling in love with this amoral mess.

I won't buy more of this series. I prefer a main character I don't want to slap.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gold Digger Hits Gold July 10, 2009
Enjoy history? Like a mystery? Gold Digger is an absolutely delightful historical mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time back in 1898, the Yukon Territory, in the rip roaring mining town of Dawson. A native born Californian, I was raised on stories of the 1849 Gold Rush and the founding of San Francisco, so reading about the last great Gold Rush had a lot of familiarity but the great Canada wilderness was an unique setting. Vicki Delany has made the town of Dawson and its inhabitants come alive with a vivid realism of a great historical, without making one feel like they are reading a travelogue or passages quoted from a dry history tome.

The story's heroine, Fiona MacGillivray, is a woman of great courage and strength of will in a time when most women were thought of as no more than chattel. She owns a saloon, the Savoy, named after the fashionable London hotel. She is a woman of class and breeding, in a place where even a saloon owner can be considered respectable, if she acts as such. She has a 12 year old son Agnus, a smart inquisitive lad who hero worships the local Mountie, Constable Sterling, and wants to become a Mountie himself.

After surviving the arduous journey to get to the Klondike and the near starvation of the first winter, summer is extraordinary beautiful, with fields of glorious wild flowers, warm days, sapphire blue sky. Life is good in Dawson, the Savoy's business is booming, until Jack Ireland arrives. A newspaper reporter from San Francisco, he immediately makes enemies and within 3 days is found dead, throat cut, on the stage of the Savoy. Was it the rival newspaper man? Or Fiona's lead singer, Irene, whom Jack physically abused? Or Fiona's partner, jealously protective of Irene?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder in the Klondike January 8, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Vicki Delany's book, "Gold Digger," is a story of the final days of Canada's Klondike Gold Rush. The Savoy Dance Hall in Dawson, Yukon Territory is the epicenter of this fast moving western mystery. It is there we meet the polyglot population of Canadians, Americans, English, Irish, and Scots who've come to make a fortune in the gold fields. Not unlike contemporary lotteries, the line of a fortune in gold attracts the best and the worst of humanity, seemingly mediated by the desperately poor trying to scratch a living from the excitement of legendary fortunes to be had just beneath the surface of the earth or on the velvet padded gambling tables of main street saloons.

Vicki Delany has assembled an all star cast of dance hall girls, drunks, thieves, prostitutes, all monitored by the Northwest Mounted Police, the "Mounties." Primary characters in this story are Fiona MacGillivray, a single parent mom and Ray Walker, her co-owner of the Savoy Dance Hall. "Gold Diggers" opens with the discovery of the corpse of Jack Ireland, a San Francisco journalist with a long and shady past, who's been murdered on the stage of the Savoy.

The story moves quickly, spiced up by author Delany's wit and well-developed characters who swiftly draw the readers' sympathies for a single parent mom, a bright, likable teenager, and a noble Mounty, handsome enough to flutter the heart of the most hardened dance hall girl. In addition to the plot that includes the combination of poverty and greed that has attacted people to the Yukon, each of the characters has a story that alternately causes the reader to invest in the good guys or despise the bad ones. Those conflicts, man vs. man, lie at the sources of the tensions in "Gold Digger".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History meets Mystery July 24, 2009
History meets Mystery in Gold Digger by Vicki Delany. When a murder is committed in one of the 1890's Klondike boom towns, who else but the famous Canadian Mounties would be there to solve the crime? Why, none other than the beautiful co-owner of the Savoy Dance Hall & Saloon, Mrs. Fiona MacGillivray.

Our heroine has a shady past, but with her determination, and a little vain beauty thrown in, she manages to thrive in the hastily thrown together town of Dawson by building and managing a saloon/dance hall. When a nefarious reporter hits town and makes enemies at every turn, it's hard to find which person didn't want to see him dead when his corpse turns up in Fiona's dance hall. With everyone a suspect, friends and family are all called to question. Everyone seems to be hiding something, but the Mounties and Fiona plan to get to the bottom of it. With gossip flying about the Savoy's grisly mystery, more people than ever crowd the saloon and dance hall, while in her own words, Fiona thinks: "Murder was good for business."

The descriptive details of the Yukon Territory during the Gold Rush make you want to learn more about some of the hardships people endured to make a place in this world. Against nature, starvation and even the depravities of other people, only the strong survive and the toughest thrive. Colorful details about the characters add much charm to this first book in the Klondike Mystery series. Eagerly I look forward to more visits with this forward thinking independent woman, the Mounties, dance hall girls, river front workers, a young boy coming of age and peoples from all over the world as they try to build their new lives under harsh conditions.

by Rhonda Esakov
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A liberated woman
Enjoyed this tale of a liberated woman, especially from this time in history. I'll be interested in reading something else from this author
Published 1 month ago by Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Great mystry
Great mystery, would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Quite Interesting!
Published 3 months ago by James Nason
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't't put it down
Good character development. Draws you in and keeps the suspense going. Never knew who the killer was. All the characters had motive and looked guilty . Read more
Published 4 months ago by Connie Talmage
3.0 out of 5 stars A good mystery, interesting characters and a good since of ...
3.5 STARS. A good mystery, interesting characters and a good since of the history of the era. BUT the are some editing issues, such as a proposal then another by the same suiter... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sara Paschal
5.0 out of 5 stars A Klondike Murder!
I enjoyed this mystery. The murder happened in the first chapter. Then the there was a long flash back to when the victim arrived in town and managed to draw the dislike of just... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Melissa J. Covaleski
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I got easily bored with this mystery.
Published 9 months ago by Rebecca Graham
2.0 out of 5 stars A Klondike Misstep
Have read numerous books (fiction and non-fiction) about "The Yukon" through the years (light reading, serious reading both), but this book was one I did not enjoy. Read more
Published 10 months ago by My Three Cents
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
kept you guessing who really done it.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read
It's rare to find a book set in the Yukon Territory during the gold rush era. That alone made this a unique story. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sioux Warfield
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More About the Author

Vicki Delany began her writing career as a Sunday writer: a single mother of three high-spirited daughters with a full-time job as a computer programmer. Sunday afternoon was - and at that, only now and again - the only time she had to spend all by herself, with a single candle on her desk for a bit of atmosphere, a Bruce Springsteen tape in the tape deck, and a nice cup of tea at her elbow. When she felt like really letting loose, the tea might have turned into a glass of wine.

The years passed, as they tend to do, and the three daughters, somewhat hesitantly, flew the coop, leaving Vicki more time to devote to her writing. She was able to write three novels of suspense, set in Ontario, two of which, Scare the Light Away and Burden of Memory were published to critical acclaim by Poisoned Pen Press of Scottsdale, Arizona.

In 2007, Vicki took early retirement from her job as a systems analyst with a major bank and sold her house in Oakville, Ontario. At that time In the Shadow of the Glacier, the first book in a police procedural series set in the British Columbia Interior was published. After travelling around North America for a year with her dog, Shenzi, she bought a home in bucolic, rural Prince Edward County, Ontario, where she rarely wears a watch and can write whenever she feels like it.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Vicki was raised mostly in Ontario. As a young woman, fresh from quitting Carleton University in a huff in the middle of her final year, she travelled to South Africa where she promptly met a man, married him, and produced the aforesaid three daughters. Eleven years later, Vicki returned to Canada. Of her experiences in Africa she will only say that it gave her insight into to the politics of power and oppression that few Canadians get to experience.

Vicki majored in modern history at Carleton University, her interest more in the lives of ordinary women and men and the circumstances of their times than 'big men' and their wars. It was on a canoeing trip in Algonquin Park that Vicki, realizing that she was doing for fun what people in the past would have considered a hardship, told her trip mates stories about the incredible difficulties people endured in their attempts to get to the Klondike in search of gold, and the idea for a series of Klondike Gold Rush mysteries was set.

She writes in several different subgenres: Standalone novels of suspense (Scare the Light Away, Burden of Memory, MORE THAN SORROW from Poisoned Pen Press), traditionl village/police procedural (The Constable Molly Smith Series from PPP - latest, AMONG THE DEPARTED) and the lighthearted Klondike Gold Rush series (Gold Digger, Gold Fever, GOLD MOUNTAIN from Rendezvous Crime).

Vicki is a member of Crime Writers of Canada, and Capital Crime Writers, and is on the board of Wolfe Island's Scene of the Crime Mystery Festival.

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