Murder & Mystery Forge a Crime Solving Partnership
The Crooked Lake Mysteries offer readers a window into the lives of a fascinating cast of characters living in the Finger Lakes region of New York, which produces fine wine, fine mysteries, and plenty of murder. Although each book stands alone, many readers prefer to follow the characters from the start of their journey and to read the books in the order listed below.
A Death on Crooked Lake begins with the murder of a wealthy and arrogant man who has moved to a peaceful lake in upstate New York as owner of one of the region’s premier wineries. A mystery faces both the vacationing college professor who discovers the body, and the young woman sheriff new to her job. They must discover who among the victim’s many enemies hated him enough to kill him. En route to the solution we learn a few things about lake lore, fishing, wine, and marital infidelity, not to mention opera, baseball, and the elusiveness of truth.
The Man Who Wasn’t Beckham begins on a cold spring day when two young boys discover the body of a woman at the bottom of steep bank in a ravine above Crooked Lake. Who is she? Did she fall or was she pushed? In their search for the truth that will solve the murder mystery, the sheriff and her crime solving partner, a vacationing college professor, must follow a trail of calculated deception beginning in December with a casual encounter in Chicago and culminating in July on the shores of Crooked Lake.
Setting the Stage for Murder tells the story of a brutal murder that cuts short a plan to bring opera to the shores of Crooked Lake. On the day of the dress rehearsal, the leading man is found strangled to death on stage. In true operatic fashion, the cast is a veritable hot house of passions. Several members of the cast have a motive for murder, and no one has an iron-clad alibi. A vacationing professor of music who has been directing the ill-fated opera joins forces with the local sheriff to solve the mystery and bring the killer to justice.
The scarecrow guarding the vineyard on Crooked Lake is not the usual strawman but the body of a man nobody seems to know. Before the sheriff can catch this man’s killer, she must first find out who he really is and who might want to murder him. Her investigation into the mystery leads to a small town church in New England, a gambling casino in upstate New York, and the cool wine cellars of the Random Harvest Winery above Crooked Lake. Was it anger, greed, or fear that led to the murder of this quiet little man with secrets in his past?
Summer residents return to Crooked Lake after a long, cold winter and are horrified to find the body of a beautiful young woman in the cellar of their cottage. The sheriff identifies her as an exchange student from Sweden who went missing back in January. But how did her body come to be in a cottage that had been closed and locked up since the previous September? The sheriff and her partner face another mystery as they find themselves in search of the person who had both a reason to kill the young woman and a key that provided access to the cottage.
The boys who broke into the old decaying mansion on the hill above Crooked Lake did not take its reputation as a haunted house seriously. Not, that is, until they stumbled upon a skeletonized body in the attic. The local sheriff faces the challenge of reconstructing the life of this long-dead woman, determining whether she committed suicide or was murdered and identifying suspects who might have had reason to wish her dead. In her effort to solve the mystery and bring the case to closure, the sheriff must deal with sibling rivalry, political corruption, and several people driven by personal demons.
Once again, the sheriff and her partner /new husband go head to head with murder and mystery on Crooked Lake. The locals think of the victim as a nobody who drives a delivery truck for a bakery. But somebody didn’t view him as a nobody. Somebody had reason to kill him one cold spring night and leave his body in a boat at a lakeside marina.
Just as the Sheriff’s investigation is getting underway, a second murder victim, this one a total stranger, turns up in a lakeside park. Are the crimes related? If so, who is the killer and why leave a trail of violence on the shores of this normally tranquil lake?
A small pontoon plane crashes into the waters of Crooked Lake one beautiful summer morning. The pilot is dead, and the sheriff turns the case over to a federal agency that rules the pilot died of a heart attack. But the sheriff is puzzled by the strange behavior of the people mourning his death. In the course of their investigation, Carol and Kevin discover that the pilot’s medications have been mysteriously switched, that his survivors are engaged in a nasty fight over a will, and that his doctor may be guilty of malpractice. Will the killer strike again?