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Farley pens mountain mystery, ‘The Hotel Monte Sano’

"The Hotel Monte Sano" by Charles Farley is a murder mystery set in 1890s' Huntsville. (CONTRIBUTED)
“The Hotel Monte Sano” by Charles Farley is a murder mystery set in 1890s’ Huntsville. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON COUNTY – Part history, part mystery, Charles Farley’s “The Hotel Monte Sano” reveals a glitzy side of turn-of-the-century Huntsville.

Farley’s murder mystery is set in the 1890s at the mountaintop hotel that operated a brief 13 years from 1887 to 1900. “The Hotel Monte Sano served as one of America’s most opulent resorts,” Steve Gierhart said. Gierhart is publisher of The Ardent Writer Press that produced Carley’s book.

“Anointed the ‘Saratoga of the South’ by its proud owners, the hostelry provided a summer playground for some of the period’s richest industrialists — the Goulds, the Astors and the Vanderbilts,” Gierhart said.

The book’s protagonist, 15-year-old Sophie Franklin, arrives at the hotel with her family in 1892. Sophie, along with handsome stable boy Jude and sidekick Smokey, work to identify a murderer.

“What they find instead is a Gothic maze of Jim Crow bigots, Yankee carpetbaggers, pistol-packing gamblers, menacing ghosts and the revenge-seeking Brooks Family determined to settle a Civil War grudge not so long since passed,” Gierhart said.

Farley actually lives only a few blocks from the site of the Hotel Monte Sano. He has written four other books. His debut title, “Soul of the Man: Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland,” was praised by numerous critics and reviewers, Gierhart said.

“Farley’s popular Florida mystery trilogy — ‘Secrets of San Blas,’ ‘Secrets of St. Vincent’ and ‘Secrets of St. Joe’ — has consistently received five-star ratings by online reviewers,” Gierhart said. (charlesfarley.com)

The February issue of “Old Huntsville Magazine” will feature “The Hotel Monte Sano.” Most articles will relate to 1890s’ Huntsville and the real people, places and events woven into the story line of Farley’s novel.

For more information about The Ardent Writer Press, call 256-694-6744, email to steve@ardentwriterpress.com or gierhartsteve@att.net.

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