Janet LaPierre's most recent mystery novel, RUN A CROOKED MILE, is not a Port Silva Mystery, but a (possible) stand-alone featuring a brand-new protagonist and set in a new, very different place: northern California's inland, mountainous Trinity County. [Readers can learn a bit about Trinity County in "The Music of What Happens" on this web site.]
After her husband's death, Rosemary Mendes flees her home on the California north coast and fetches up, more or less by accident, near the small town of Weaverville in Trinity County. There she buys and remodels a small house, becomes a volunteer at the local senior center, makes a few friends. And is keeping herself and her background quietly and peacefully to herself when she finds that her grasping former in-laws have tracked her down.
She's still trying to decide what to do about this unpleasant development when her young neighbor informs her that another solitary incomer had just been found dead in the surrounding forest, apparently shot by a deer hunter. "Anyway, the interesting thing... nobody knows who to tell, who her relatives are, like that. She's—she was—a mystery woman." Just like Rosemary, was clearly Kim's inference.
The image of that woman, Michelle called Mike, haunts Rosemary's thoughts for the rest of the day. When her veterinarian friend Graham Campbell arrives that evening for their usual Friday-night dinner, he brings not only wine, but a big yellow Labrador retriever named Tank. Tank, he explains to Rosemary, was with his owner, Mike Morgan, when she was shot, and was grazed himself. And now he's depressed and homeless. "Gray, I do not want a dog," says Rosemary firmly.
But not firmly enough. Tank stays, and Rosemary becomes known as the person who has Mike Morgan's dog. Tales of the dead woman come to her from nearly everyone she encounters, and she finds herself pursuing them: who was Mike Morgan and why was she here? It's a pursuit that becomes more and more engrossing—and more and more dangerous.
Published by Perseverance Press/John Daniel & Co., RUN A CROOKED MILE was published in April 2009.
RUN A CROOKED MILE and Janet's earlier books FAMILY BUSINESS, DEATH DUTIES, KEEPERS and BABY MINE are available from Perseverance Press/John Daniel & Co., from your local independent mystery bookseller, and amazon.com.