The Light Catcher Murders
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Nestled in the scenic Texas Hill Country, the cozy town of Wheaton Creek seemed an idyllic place to escape the world’s increasingly harsh realities. At least, that’s what Kate Atherton thought.
Kate once enjoyed a long, successful career with a specialized, highly secret federal intelligence agency. Crises in both her personal and professional life drove her to early retirement and, ultimately, to Wheaton Creek, the perfect place for her and her former-military husband to escape what had come to feel like a world made up of wars, hatred, fear, and untimely death. And, at first, the escape was all Kate had hoped for. Then murder came to Wheaton Creek—a crime that a corrupt county sheriff seems determined to pin on Kate’s photographer friend, Lucy Celek.
Lucy’s work has been chosen to appear at a prestigious photography festival, a festival that could take her from amateur to professional standing. All goes well until the gallery displaying her work is broken into, and one of Lucy’s photographs is vandalized. A week later, the man Lucy suspected of destroying her photograph—a fellow photographer who was angry that his own work was not chosen by the festival committee—is murdered. Faced with a sheriff who shows little interest in expanding his list of suspects beyond Lucy, Kate feels she must dust off her puzzle-solving skills to find the real killer. Murder is just the beginning, though, as Kate’s amateur sleuthing begins to reveal a tangled web of crimes that go beyond anything she could have imagined.
Tessa Boatwright leveled eagle-sharp eyes upon B. D. Jackson as he ambled toward her appointed position near Lucy’s mural-sized photograph, which filled the back wall of the gallery. Ostensibly there to answer questions, Tessa also made it her duty to keep inquisitive children and unthinking adults from touching the expensive photograph. As a painter who had struggled for years before achieving critical and financial success, she was keenly aware of the thin edge between amateur and professional status that Lucy teetered upon. Tessa wanted to help her friend, and she was determined that every visitor appreciate what was special about Lucy Celek’s photographs. And B. D.’s air of indifference to the art around him made Tessa suspect him of needing to be educated.
For his part, B. D. hardly noticed Tessa who—to his boorish young eye—was merely an older woman with graying hair. Though he had no interest in the gallery aside from its convenience as a place to duck the attention of the sheriff’s deputy, the mural, which was scaled so that B. D. almost felt he could step from the gallery into the scene, had captured his interest the moment he had spotted it. The photograph showed an iconic Hill Country scene—a live oak tree, stately and alone on a distant hill that was carpeted with bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and pink evening primrose. The sun was setting behind the tree, bathing the scene in glorious luminous hues. B. D. removed his sunglasses so he could see the mural more clearly. He stood staring, his frown deepening as the realization dawned that he had been mistaken. The sun had to be rising, not setting. B. D. knew what direction the photographer had been facing because he knew this place.
Jo Cassie McRae is a native Texan who has lived near Austin on the edge of the Texas Hill country for over 30 years. In addition to writing, McRae loves to read, garden, and cook. Like Kate Atherton (The Light Catcher Murders), McRae’s bookshelves overflow with history books, biographies, historical fiction, and mystery novels. Unlike Kate, McRae does not have a mysterious, secret former career, having worked instead as a rather ordinary legal assistant at an Austin law firm.
Amazon purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Light-Catcher-Murders-Atherton-Mysteries/dp/B08FTLN76D/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0
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