Fire ravages a Montana homestead, a dead body is found in the ruins, tragedy turns to mystery which turns to scandal. So begins One Night in a Bad Inn, a lively tale of war, murder, and mayhem, and courage and fortitude, set during one of the most turbulent eras in American history, and it’s all true.
Through this compelling story, we meet the beautiful Aila, the daughter of Welsh immigrants who lives a Dickensian life, orphanage and all, and grows up to be an impeccable woman of indomitable will, rejecting the debauchery and brutality in which she was raised and overcoming tremendous trials; her father, Arthur, the Welsh stonemason turned homesteader who loses all in a reckless scheme; her mother, Sarah, the bawdy boarding house matron, a debutante of the demimonde, who tries to drive her children into misdeeds and succeeds with Aila’s brothers; her husband, Peter, the handsome Irish miner turned soldier who goes off to fight with the 91st “Wild West” Division on the bloody battlefields of the Western Front in the First World War, he saves a man’s life and returns home a decorated hero.
The people are larger than life, some notorious, some heroic; the events, the times, and the settings are fascinating, much of it taking place in early twentieth century Butte, Montana —a bustling, cosmopolitan, industrial metropolis that could have been plucked from the northeast and dropped in the Rocky Mountains, a delicious melange of eastern sophistication amid a mining camp’s outlandishness. It is indeed a remarkable saga through which the reader learns intriguing history through the lives of very intriguing people.