A Staged Murder
by Jo A. Hiestand
Bonfire Night! The four hundred-year-old tradition of burning the straw effigy is beginning in Upper Kingsleigh, England. The torch extends… But it’s no mock figure at the end of the rope; it’s the body of a man, an American tourist. Brenna Taylor, Derbyshire C.I.D., is assigned to the case on a team of detectives under Detective-Chief Inspector Geoffrey Graham. It is the chance Brenna has been waiting for, and she is anxious to impress him.
Most villagers suspect an outsider as the killer. But when the frost-covered body of a resident is discovered, apprehension shifts and suspects multiply. Among them are the American's brother-in-law, still angry over his sister's death; the husband, who fears his wife will desert him for the American; the inebriated, penniless uncle, who clings to his nephew's fortune tighter than a cork in a wine bottle. Then Brenna becomes the target of a series of frightening pranks--the work of a harassing male colleague, or a deadly warning to leave the case? Her hunt is personal now.
“The man’s a lunatic!” Derek snapped. “He side-stepped normality years ago. Claims some type of relation to me, but of course he’s never bothered to bring forth any evidence of this fantastic yarn. Instead, he continues to gripe and complain that it should be him up there every third of November. Honestly, the man wants mental care, the way he talks on about it. I don’t mind so much for myself, but I’m concerned about my wife. She hates any kind of emotional outburst in public, and that’s Talbot’s forte. The man’s totally round the twist.”
“He’s not violent, is he?”
Villages aren’t as peaceful and cozy as they appeared. They held all the human emotions harbored in cities.
Derek snorted and leaned forward, his hands on his knees. “Who’s to say, if Talbot gets angry enough? We’ve seen the occasional temper tantrum, heard the string of vulgarities, but usually Talbot’s an easy-going chap.”
“Except around the third of November,” I reiterated, wondering if a full moon made it worse.
“He seems to have it in for me personally. And for Arthur, though Arthur’s as innocent of the dole’s regulations as I am. We just show up, do our bit, and I collect the money. Yet Talbot looks at the both of us like it’s some huge conspiracy against him. I tell, you, miss, I wouldn’t be surprised if some Mischief Night or Guy Fawkes Night I fall into a trap that Talbot’s laid for me. He’s a queer one.”
A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British. Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there during her professional folksinging stint. This intimate knowledge of Britain forms the backbone of the Peak District mystery series.
Jo’s insistence for accuracy--from police methods and location layout to the general “feel” of the area--has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research. These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books.
In 1999 she returned to Webster University to major in English. She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.
Jo founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president. Besides her love of mysteries and early music, she also enjoys photography, reading, creating recipes, and her backyard wildlife. Her cat, Tennyson, shares her St. Louis home.
BOOK WILL BE $0.99 DURING THE TOUR
Jo will be awarding a handmade lapis lazuli necklace on a bamboo cord to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour - International giveaway. The cord is adjustable and the necklace is comprised of three stones ranging in length from 1 5/8" to 2 1/8". (It's like the one Brenna Taylor in the book wears)