MGSD’s Dead of February multi-author mystery and suspense event will focus on how culture and community inform character in mysteries.
Betty Webb is the author of two prize-winning mystery series – the southwestern PI Lena Jones books and the Californian Gunn Zoo series, starring Theodora “Teddy” Bentley. Before beginning to write full time, Betty was a journalist, interviewing everyone from U.S. presidents to astronauts who walked on the moon to Nobel Prize winners. Publishers Weekly’s review of Desert Vengeance, Betty’s ninth Lena Jones mystery, notes: “Webb offers fans the profound pleasure of watching Lena mature as she comes one step closer to understanding and accepting her difficult past, while providing new readers with an introduction to this strong and genuinely likable character.”
Retired law enforcement officer David “Deputy Dave” Putnam began his writing career as a reader. His protagonist, Bruno Johnson, is also an ex-cop, drawn back to Los Angeles in The Vanquished to lend his expertise in dealing with troublesome new activity by the Sons of Satan, an outlaw motorcycle gang.
Carola Dunn was born and grew up in England but now is a United States resident, presently in Oregon. She is the author of more than 20 Daisy Dalrymple mysteries (set in England in the 1920s), a large number of Regencies, and the Cornish mysteries, the most recent of which is Buried in the Country. Carola will share how widowed charity shop owner Eleanor Trewynn’s home in the Cornish village of Port Mabyn, as well as her well-traveled past, influence the cozy series.
When the man who raped Scottsdale PI Lena Jones when she was a nine-year-old foster child is released from prison, Lena is waiting for him in the parking lot-with a big knife. "Papa" Brian Wycoff survives their meeting, but the next day, his wife, who knew about his crimes but did nothing to stop him-in fact enabled him-is found dead in their Apache Junction home, shot through both eyes. Terrified he will be next, Wycoff, violating his parole, flees north to the small town of Black Canyon City, taking shelter in an RV on his brother-in-law's small ranch. A couple of days later, he is found tortured to death, eight horizontal marks burned into his flesh. One for each of his victims? Suspicion first falls upon Lena, who has trailed Wycoff to Black Canyon City to make sure he doesn't come near any other children. When the local authorities arrive to question her, she admits to having been tempted to kill her former foster father, but someone beat her to the punch. Suspicion then falls on Wycoff's other victims, the now-grown men and women he abused when they were still in his care, and on the mothers of the children who went missing before his arrest. When Lena takes up the case, more to protect one of the mothers who has been arrested than to find the real killer, her conscience is torn. Does a serial child rapist, a pedophile also implicated in the disappearance of several children, really deserve justice? That choice might not be left up to Lena when members of a local group, Parents of Missing Children, start working to prevent her investigation from succeeding. How far will they go to make sure she fails?
Former cop and ex-con Bruno Johnson and his wife Marie, living in their safe haven in Costa Rica with the children they illegally rescued from certain death, find a message from their outlaw motorcycle gang enemies written on the back of one of their beloved children. The motorcycle gang, Sons of Satan, out for revenge, will stop at nothing to lure the now furious Bruno back into their web. Bruno and Marie, forced to return to Southern California, battle additional demons in the form of an ex-spouse's entanglements.
The FBI, watching the Sons of Satan, recognizes Bruno's unique skills and ties. They recruit him to recover a stolen military drone armed with Hellfire missiles, while Bruno struggles to keep pregnant Marie out of the crossfire. Ultimately, Bruno's inability to ignore a woman in peril yields unspeakable consequences.
After many years working around the world for an international charity in the late 1960s, Eleanor Trewynn has retired to the relative quiet of a small town in Cornwall. But her quiet life is short-lived when, due to her experience, the Commonwealth Relations Office reaches out to her to assist in a secret conference that is to take place in a small hotel outside the historical village of Tintagel. Meanwhile, her niece, Detective Sargent Megan Pencarrow, is investigating the disappearance of a local solicitor when she is assigned to help provide security for the conference. Two African students, refugees from Ian Smith's Rhodesia, arrive for the conference, escorted by Megan's baete noire from Scotland Yard. They are followed by two mysterious and sinister Londoners, whose allegiances and connections to the conference and the missing solicitor are unclear. With a raging storm having trapped everyone in the hotel, the stage is set for murder, and it's up to Eleanor and Megan to uncover the truth before more lives are lost.
California zookeeper Theodora Bentley travels to Iceland to pick up an orphaned polar bear cub destined for the Gunn Zoo s newly installed Northern Climes exhibit. The trip is intended to be a combination of work and play. But on day two, while horseback riding near a picturesque seaside village, Teddy discovers a man lying atop a puffin burrow, shot through the head. The victim is identified as American bird-watcher Simon Parr, winner of the largest Powerball payout in history. Is Teddy a witness or a suspect? Others include not only Parr s wife, a famed suspense novelist, but fellow members of the birding club Parr had generously treated to their lavish Icelandic expedition. Hardly your average birders, several of them have had serious brushes with the law back in the States. Guessing that an American would best understand other Americans, police detective Thorvaald Haraldsson grudgingly concedes her innocence and allows Teddy to tag along with the group to volcanoes, glaciers, and deep continental rifts in quest of rare bird species. But once another member of the club is murdered and a rockfall barely misses Teddy s head, Haraldsson forbids her to continue. She ignores him and, in a stunning, solitary face-off with the killer in Iceland s wild interior, concludes an investigation at once exotic, thrilling, and rich in animal lore.
Bruno Johnson, ex-detective with Los Angeles County Sheriff s Department and an ex-convict, is hiding out from the FBI in Costa Rica, tending bar to support eight children he illegally rescued from abusive homes. Partway through a normal day, Barbara Wicks, a former colleague and the chief of police for Montclair, California, walks into his bar. Bruno is shocked to the core. Is she there to arrest him and take him back to California? Turns out she s there to request Bruno s help. Two children have been kidnapped.
The kidnapper, Jonas Mabry, was himself a victim whom Bruno rescued as a small child. Now Mabry demands a fool s retribution, a million dollar ransom, and Bruno to put his life on the line to get the money. In this twisted turn of fate, Bruno returns as a wanted criminal to California. Despite the risk of arrest and even his life, he cannot turn his back on these kids.
Ferociously ambitious U.S. Senatorial candidate Juliana Thorsson has been keeping a secret. _x000D_ The horrific slaughter of a prominent doctor, his wife, and their ten-year-old son inside their Scottsdale home brings Thorsson to Private Investigator Lena Jones. The slain family s 14-year old, Alison, and her boyfriend, Kyle, have confessed to the murders. Thorsson wants to hire Lena to discover if Alison is telling the truth, but before accepting the job, Lena demands to know why a rising political star wants to involve herself with the fate of a girl she s never met. Desperate for Lena s help, Thorsson reveals her explosive secret that Alison is the candidate s biological daughter, a fact she s kept hidden for years. But that s not all. Thorsson then confides something even more unusual than a mere hidden pregnancy, something that could ruin her political plans forever. Suspecting that Alison s parents had secrets of their own that could have led to the murders, Lena finally accepts Thorsson's assignment. But interviewing those who knew the family well soon puts Lena -- now a strong defender of the two teens -- in danger of her life. Fast paced, probing, and filled with the trademark twists of the Lena Jones series, Betty Webb is unsparing of her characters yet writes their stories with wit and compassion.
In England in the late 1920s, The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher, on a convalescent trip to the countryside, goes to visit three old school friends in the area. The three, all unmarried, have recently bought a house together. They are a part of the generation of "superfluous women" brought up expecting marriage and a family, but left without any prospects after more than 700,000 British men were killed in the Great War.
Daisy and her husband Alec Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher, of Scotland Yard go for a Sunday lunch with Daisy's friends, where one of the women mentions a wine cellar below their house, which remains curiously locked, no key to be found. Alec offers to pick the lock, but when he opens the door, what greets them is not a cache of wine, but the stench of a long-dead body.
And with that, what was a pleasant Sunday lunch has taken an unexpected turn. Now Daisy's three friends are the most obvious suspects in a murder and her husband Alec is a witness, so he can't officially take over the investigation. So before the local detective, Superintendent Underwood, can officially bring charges against her friends, Daisy is determined to use all her resources (Alec) and skills to solve the mystery behind this perplexing locked-room crime.
The Squandered propels Bruno into an emotionally charged high-speed chase as he and Marie leave their rescued kids in Costa Rica and risk returning to the U.S. at the request of Bruno's terminally ill father. Brun''s estranged and incarcerated brother needs Bruno to help rescue his abducted young grandchildren--children that Bruno hadn't known existed.
In England, 1923, The Honorable Daisy Dalrymple has made a decision that, while shocking to her class, is in perfect keeping with the spirit of the times. Rather than live with relatives until she marries, she has decided to make her own living with her writing. Her series of articles on country manor homes has proven to be a success, and she travels to Occles Hall to research her latest piece. What she finds is a household under the thumb of the ill-tempered and demanding Lady Valeria. And the discovery of the body of a pregnant maid buried in the winter garden does nothing to improve Lady Valeria's mood.