Saturday, September 29, 2012


Marilyn Meredith, author of the Tempe Crabtree series.

Mundania Press 2012
Trade Paperback and E-book

A rash of third-rate burglaries in a rundown neighborhood and the murder of two elderly residents shock the mountain community of Bear Creek. Add a fast-moving thunderstorm that brings torrential rains and Tempe Crabtree, the resident deputy sheriff, can forget about her days off.

Who would murder two harmless old ladies? Did a drug addict simply want their medications or did they share a secret someone was willing to kill for? One of the victims hinted at a long ago affair with an important man but the locals toss it off as a romantic fantasy. Could a couple among the community's movers and shakers really pass off a love child as their own?

When a massive mud slide blocks the road into town, it cuts the community in half. In town, a temporary shelter is set up in the church, with meals served at the Bear Creek Inn. Tempe’s husband, Pastor Hutch, is in charge. On the other side of the slide, residents who live high above the river open their homes to friends and neighbors. Tensions rise and tempers flare.

At her best in this novel, Tempe Crabtree is one of my favorite protagonists, a sturdy little soul with one foot in the reality of her peacekeeper’s role and the other foot in the mysticism of her Indian heritage. Along with recurring characters Tempe, Hutch, Nick Two John and his partner Claudia, the author brings in some colorful additions to the story.

Miqui Sherwood, retired, is a former partner in a medical insurance group. Her house is situated to give her a sweeping view of the entire town. She's awakened by a creaking floorboard and realizes someone is in the house. Her “girls” – a terrier and a Doxie mix named Cleopatra and Blondie, respectively -- chase the intruder away. Miqui immediately decides to help Tempe solve the murders.

Then there’s Sunny, a woman who sometimes communicates with the dead before their journey to the next world. She’s visiting a friend, who invites Tempe to a sage smudging ceremony. Sunny sonjures fleeting images of the two murder victims and warms Tempe of impending danger. The danger is unspecified, however, and Tempe’s dreams are filled with disturbing visions.

Tempe survives two attempts on her life before coming face to face with an unrepentant murderer and a vicious burglar, both of whom share a scandalous secret. This latest entry in Marilyn Meredith’s long-running Tempe Crabtree series kept me glued to my chair and turning pages right up to the end.

I don’t have the foggiest idea what this is all about, but I keep seeing it on other blogs, so here it is.

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