Title: Murder and The Good Old Boys’ Club
Author: Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Who is lying? Who is telling the truth?
Ben Ward and his four partners have sunk vast sums of money into a recreational community, Pleasant Valley Retreat, and this failing project has flamed anger among the investors. Now the main investor, Ben Ward, is being threatened. As a killer stalks the resort, McQuede must sort out who among the Good old Boys is lying and who is being truthful before all four of them end up dead.
What? Are you offering me a room in the jail?”
“We could do better than that,” McQuede said. “We can find a place for you and your wife to lay low. I’d strongly advise that both you and Carol leave town until I can find out more about this deadline.”
“You expect me to go into hiding? I’ve got a project to run, big money at stake. I can’t possibly leave here.”
“Big money. I suppose you’re talking about your work on the stalled Pleasant Valley Retreat project. Have you taken it over?”
“Yes.” Water from the branch above Ben dripped down. Without irritation he swiped it away. “They always call me in,” he replied pleasantly, “to ‘square the circles.’”
A few months ago the manager, Arnold Barton, was found dead in his office on the grounds of the half-finished community land development venture he had started. McQuede had assigned Sid to head the investigation because he had urgent work in Paxton. No evidence existed that Barton’s death had not been a suicide; he was found with a gun in his hand and missing funds on the books. “Finding Barton dead must have been a big set-back. Has it been scaring off the investors?”
“The project has little to do with Arnie’s messed-up life. He was having tons of personal trouble and decided to dip into the till. It’s all there in the suicide note he left. After he was found like that, the boys all wanted to call it quits. But I told them we had to go on—what kind of a man stops progressing because of a tragedy, no matter how terrible?”
“So none of your—do you call them partners?—resented your taking over for Barton?”
“Of course not. No one else would touch it. But why are you asking me about that?”
“I don’t want you to make the mistake of overlooking what’s going on in your business life. A man of wealth and influence has to cope with much hatred and resentment.”
“None of them hate me, I’m sure. We’ve all been close friends for a number of years. Please just leave everything to me, Sheriff.” Ben squared his shoulders. “I’m not afraid. I’ve made it this far. I can protect myself…and Carol, if it comes to that.” He edged away from the drooping branches, dark and heavy with moisture.
McQuede watched Ben slip into his fancy silver Mercedes and drive away, then he took one more look at the ominous warning--Ben’s predicted death date written in stone. Three days left. Not much time.
Whether Ben saw it that way or not, the act reeked of vengeance. It seemed carried out for the purpose of instilling fear, of giving notice to a detested enemy of what was to come. Every detail, down to the droplets of red paint, had been planned to incite fear. Moreover, he believed that Carol Ward was right, whoever had done this was keeping watch on their house.
McQuede would definitely protect Ben for the next few days, even if it came to assigning one of his men to track his every step. He was hoping this was simple vandalism, but he suspected in the deep recesses of his mind that it was more likely to be a lead-up to cold-blooded murder.
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Meet lovable Jeff McQuede, the sheriff of Coal County, Wyoming, a modern-day sheriff with old-time values. Like his family namesake, the old frontier lawman, he always looks for the right answer and never settles for the easy one. He often follows his predecessor’s advice: When you think your right, it’s time to step back and take another look.
The High Country Mystery series has been written with readers in mind who enjoy cozy mystery. Our mysteries are plot and character-driven--light on sex, profanity and while a murder doe occur, the avoidance of excessive gore.
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Vickie Britton, along with her sister Loretta Jackson, has written over fifty novels including the popular Jeff McQuede High Country Mystery series, set in Wyoming.
They are also co-authors of the eight-book Ardis Cole archaeological mystery series and many single title suspense novels.
Both writers are drawn to the western setting, which has provided a background for much of their work.
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