Review: All That Is Secret, by Patricia Raybon

book coverOverview

Can an amateur detective solve the cold case mystery of her lost father’s murder?

In the winter of 1923, Professor Annalee Spain—a daring but overworked theologian at a small Chicago Bible college—receives a cryptic telegram calling her home to Denver to solve the mystery of the murder of her beloved but estranged father.

For a young Black woman, searching for answers in a city ruled by the KKK could mean real danger. Still, with her literary hero Sherlock Holmes as inspiration, Annalee launches her hunt for clues, attracting two surprising allies: Eddie, a relentless young white boy searching for his missing father, and Jack, a handsome Black pastor who loves nightclub dancing and rides in his sporty car, awakening Annalee’s heart to the surprising highs and lows of romantic love.

With their help, Annalee follows clues that land her among Denver’s powerful elite. But when their sleuthing unravels sinister motives and deep secrets, Annalee confronts the dangerous truths and beliefs that could make her a victim too.


Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.

If you’re searching for an historical thriller to read this fall, I have the perfect title for you. If I could give six out of five for a novel, All That Is Secret would be it. This upcoming title grabbed me from the Art Deco cover and didn’t let go until the end.

The action starts almost immediately, before Annalee has a chance to set foot in Denver. The narrative continues at a fast pace, flying to the point I was surprised to find myself a third of the way through when I first had to put down the book to go to bed. There wasn’t a dull moment, no point at which I wished the story would “get to the point,” and the revelations towards the end aren’t out of place. Raybon includes subtle hints throughout that’ll make you want to re-read her debut novel once you discover the truth simply to see what you might’ve missed.

All That Is Secret is a take on the racial divide of a 1920s city, where non-whites are subservient and the KKK marches without fear. Annalee is known as the “colored professor” in the newspapers, but one gets the feeling it’s a derogatory term rather than a positive one. More than once, however, she’s able to use her “invisibility” to enhance her amateur detective skills. She isn’t well off, but neither is her young white sidekick. Meanwhile, graft and corruption cross the color barrier in the quest for all-important power. There are good and bad people in all sections of society.

All that Is Secret is billed as an “Annalee Spain Mystery,” so hopefully it’s the first in a good series. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for Annalee and the people around her, especially young Eddie.



Product Information

Publisher:   Tyndale House

Publication Date:   05 October 2021

Book Information


head shotAuthor Information

Patricia Raybon is an award-winning author and essayist whose published books include My First White Friend, a Christopher Award–winning memoir about racial forgiveness, and I Told the Mountain to Move, a prayer memoir that was a Christianity Today Book of the Year finalist. Patricia’s other books include The One Year God’s Great Blessings Devotional and Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace, coauthored with her younger daughter, Alana Raybon. Patricia’s essays on faith, race, and grace have been published in the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, Guideposts, Christianity Today, and other national publications and blogs. A journalist by training, Patricia worked for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News before joining the journalism faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder, teaching for fifteen years before getting promoted to professor emerita. She now writes full-time on matters of faith. Patricia lives with her husband, Dan, a retired educator, in her beloved home state of Colorado, where they enjoy movies, popcorn, soapy costume dramas, and Masterpiece mysteries. All That Is Secret is her first novel.

Patricia Raybon’s Website

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