Author of seven travel books, including Backroads of Southern Alberta, Joan Donaldson-Yarmey has written a debut mystery novel, Illegally Dead (Sumach Press, $16.95 2009), about a travel writer named Elizabeth Oliver who finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation while exploring the Crowsnest Highway between Alberta and British Columbia. 978-1-894549-74-5
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This isn't the first time travel-writer Elizabeth Oliver finds herself smack in the middle of a murder investigation. Crime seems to follow her around as closely as her cockapoo companion Chevy. Determined to focus entirely on her work this trip, she sets out to explore the length of Alberta's Crowsnest Highway to research a new travel article. But no sooner has she settled into travel-writing mode than she is flagged down at a roadside crime scene. Human bones have just been discovered in an old septic tank on a property slated to be used for a new hog barn development.
Resisting the temptation to get involved, she arrives at her B&B only to find that her hostess' mother Peggy used to own the septic tank property, and may know more about the situation than she's letting on. Now thoroughly drawn into events, Elizabeth gives free rein to her investigative tendencies. After meeting a few more of the locals, she sets herself to sifting through smalltown rumours and poking into the family's past, raising questions about the long-ago disappearance of Peggy's abusive husband. Could the kindhearted Peggy just be a victim of a crude prank? After all, she is still receiving nasty phone calls from a group of locals who've been protesting her sellout to the developers.
But the gloves are off and things become infinitely more complicated when long-buried secrets from the past begin to surface, and a second murder victim is found.