Murder Under A Western Moon
Murder Under A Western Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Historical Cozy Mystery
by Abigail Keam
About Murder Under A Western Moon
Murder Under A Western Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Historical Cozy Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Montana
Worker Bee Press (July 24, 2023)
Digital Number of Pages: 280
ASIN : B0BTWBFCV5
Mona is the American Phyrne Fisher!
Mona Moon and her new husband, Robert Farley, Duke of Brynelleth are about to board an ocean liner to Merry Old England for their honeymoon when Mona receives an urgent telegram from Rupert Hunt, her eyes and ears in the Moon copper mines.
POTENTIAL RIOT AT MONTANA MINE STOP DEAD MINER STOP POSSIBLE MURDER STOP COME AT ONCE STOP RUPERT HUNT
Since the copper mines are the financial backbone of Moon Enterprises, Mona has no choice but to drop her plans and travel to Montana on the next train. She and Robert descend into a world of seething resentments, bitter accusations against Moon Enterprises, and bad decisions that pose a threat to Mona’s world. She travels incognito to search out the truth of Rupert’s allegations against the mining management. She must decide if Rupert is trying to prevent an innocent man from being hung for murder or if he is part of a grandiose plot against her. After all, Mona had been kidnapped by Rupert while searching for the Swift silver mine a year ago. Rupert is a scoundrel, but Mona hired him to be her scoundrel. Is this another of Rupert’s games? Regardless of the threat, Mona must get to the bottom of it. Thank goodness Robert is by her side . . . or could Robert have his own agenda?
About Abigail Keam
Award-winning author Abigail Keam writes the Mona Moon Mystery Series—a rags-to-riches 1930s mystery series which includes real people and events into the story. “I am a student of history and love to insert historical information into my mysteries. My goal is to entertain my readers, but if they learn a little something along the way—well, then we are both happy.” She has won many awards for her mysteries, and Murder Under A Western Moon is her 40th novel. Miss Abigail lives on the cliffs above the Kentucky River with her husband and various critters. In her spare time, Miss Abigail is a beekeeper.
Q&A With the Author
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Hello Cozy Mystery Readers. My name is Abigail Keam and I write the 1930s Mona Moon Mysteries and the Josiah Reynolds Mysteries. I love history and do extensive research on any book that I write. In my1930s Mona Moon Mysteries, I weave real people and events into the stories. I research the popular food of the time, people’s everyday habits, clothing, and world views. The 1930s was an exciting time with women protesting for better pay, union strikes, banks closing, political division, and people scrambling for work during the Great Depression.
In Murder Under A Western Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Mystery, Mona abandons her plans for a honeymoon with Robert Farley, Duke of Brynelleth and hurries to her family’s copper mine in Montana because of a murder and a possible strike by the miners.
There she unravels corruption, deception, and sabotage at her copper mine while escaping various attempts on her life.
What I love about Mona is her power. She has money, position, and grit. She uses her money and position to influence others and does not apologize for it. She relies on her own strength of character to push her agenda. She is the American Phryne Fisher!
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
Mona will eventually go on her honeymoon with Robert in Murder Under A Honey Moon which will come out in 2024. I write another mystery series—the Josiah Reynolds Mysteries. Death By Theft: A Josiah Reynolds Mystery will come this fall in 2023. Josiah is a beekeeper who keeps stumbling over dead bodies.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
I had only intended to write three Mona Moon mysteries, but they were so popular, I wrote more. I enjoy researching history about the 1930s and weaving it into the Mona Moon mysteries. My planned three books have now turned into 12 books, and I will keep writing about Mona Moon as long as readers enjoy her. At the end of each book, I have an addendum which further explains the history in the book. I have discovered some wonderful historical women while doing my research. My task is to write an entertaining mystery with some interesting history.
How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first short story in the second grade—Bobby Bobo Got Baptized At The Big Bone Baptist Church. My teacher called my mother and told her how good it was. My mom immediately ordered The Happy Holisters Mysteries for 7-10 years old. I received one mystery book per month via the mail. I have been writing continuously since then, but I have been writing professionally since 2009 and have written over 40 novels. Check me out at http://www.abigailkeam.com/
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?"
Like my protagonist, Josiah Reynolds, I am also a beekeeper and have won many awards at the Kentucky State Fair. If the reader comes away with a new appreciation of honeybees and the history of the 1930s from my two mystery series, then I am happy. I receive many emails and DMs from readers, and their praise encourages me to improve my craft. I love writing and telling my stories. It gives me a deep satisfaction.
Feel free to sign up for my HoneyBee newsletter - http://www.abigailkeam.com/
I also have monthly giveaways on my Author’s Facebook and TikTok page.
Official Site http://www.abigailkeam.com/
Read an Excerpt
As Mona and Robert compared notes while riding back to the hotel, both of them heard a loud cracking noise that traveled through the car.
“What was that?” Mona asked. “It sounded like the snap of a bullwhip.”
Robert ordered the driver, “Slow down, please.” He rolled down his window and listened.
“There it is again,” Mona said. “Driver, stop.” She got out of the car and looked about, but it was dark with a moonless sky. Mona couldn’t see anything.
Another crack sounded.
The Pinkertons in the car following them also got out and looked about.
A fourth crack pierced the air.
“It’s gunfire! Take cover,” one of the Pinkertons shouted.
Mona ducked down by the side of the car as Robert joined her. “Turn the car lights off!” she yelled.
Robert threw Mona on the ground and shielded her with his body, but they both lifted their heads upon hearing a rumble. “AVALANCHE! AVALANCHE!” Robert yelled, as he dragged Mona to the side of the mountain and frantically covered both their heads with his arms. Their driver huddled with them. Since darkness prevented them from seeing which direction the snow was headed, there was no use in running. Some of the Pinkertons realized they were in the path of the descending wall of snow and ran. Their shrieks could be heard above the roar of the torrent as they got caught in the avalanche and were hurled down the mountainside.
“Oh, God!” Mona murmured upon hearing the men scream.
Robert whispered into her ear, “Don’t listen. Don’t listen.” He put his hands over her ears.
The rumbling abruptly stopped and was replaced by a haunting silence. Robert and Mona waited a few minutes before climbing out of the snowbank which had fallen about them. Luckily, they had not been hit with any of the displaced rocks and boulders propelled by the tumbling snow. Robert cleared snow from their driver who also was unharmed.
Shouts came from the Pinkertons who had been in a car ahead of them. They had not been involved in the avalanche. “Anyone hurt?” one guard shouted.
Robert yelled, “Second car is fine except we are bound by snow, but the third car got the brunt of the slide. We think there are casualties, but we can’t see and no one is answering our calls.”
“We are digging you out now. Can you get into your car?”
Robert replied, “Negative. The doors are blocked by snow.”
“Stay where you are. We are coming.”
Mona, Robert, and the driver helped each other get the snow from around their collars, inside their gloves, and tops of their boots. Each gave a vigorous shake to remove snow from their coats. Both the driver and Robert dug snow away with their hands from the trunk of the car to access a shovel, emergency blankets, and a first-aid kit. Mona moved to the back passenger door and pulled snow away from the car with her hands. The work kept them all warm.
As the Pinkertons in the first car were making headway with the fallen snow, Mona and Robert saw car lights in the distance behind them, curving the bend in the road. They heard the roar of the car engine and saw beams of flashlights.
Robert shouted, “WE’RE HERE!”
Mona grabbed Robert’s arm. “Robert, be careful. These could be the men who caused the avalanche.”
“WE’LL HELP YOUR MEN. THE CAR’S GONE OVER THE SIDE.”
Robert yelled back, “YES, DO THAT! WE’LL FREE OUR CAR AND THEN START DIGGING TOWARD YOU.” Turning, Robert asked, “Do you have your gun on you, Mona?”
“It’s in my purse which is in the car. What about your six-shooter?”
“Under the snow somewhere.”
“I’ve got one in my shoulder holster, and there’s another gun in the glove compartment if we can get to it,” the Pinkerton driver announced.
“Good man,” Robert said. “Put your gun where you can use it in a hurry.”
Mona, Robert, and the driver dug around their car finally clearing the snow away from the trunk. The driver took the shovel and shoveled the road while Robert put several blankets around Mona, whose hands had frozen so badly that she lost the feeling in them.
After an hour, the Pinkertons from the first car cleared away the snow and reached Mona and Robert. They put Mona in their vehicle which was still warm. She was grateful for the warmth and rubbed her numb hands in front of the car’s heater.
Robert worked with the Pinkertons to reach the third car, but once they broke through a wall of snow, there was no third car. It had careened down the mountain. Its blinking tail lights were faintly visible beneath the snow.
They found four men hoisting bodies through a series of ropes tied to a truck. A man wearing a Stetson and standing near the road’s edge, watched them bring the bodies up. Upon seeing his milky eye, Robert recognized the man, who worked for Margaret Daly.
Robert walked up to the man. “Is everyone dead?”
“No. I have two men in the truck. They are banged up a bit, but otherwise fine. They told me that someone repeatedly fired a gun, which caused the avalanche.”
“How did you happen upon us?” Robert asked.
“Miss Margaret gave orders to follow. She felt you were in danger although we never expected anything like this. You’ve got to admit it was devilishly clever.”
Not sure the Stetson man was speaking the truth, Robert gave him a long stare before stating, “Thank you. Our other two cars are working, so we’ll take the injured men into town and send help back.”
“We’ll stay and clear the road. If the law doesn’t come soon enough, we’ll bring in the bodies and leave them at the funeral home.” The Stetson man tried to peek around Robert. “I trust Miss Moon is fine.”
“Fit as a fiddle,” Robert replied, coldly. “I’ll collect those injured men and be off.” He nodded to the Pinkertons to gather their associates. “Thank you again, and chin chin.
The Stetson man tipped the brim of his hat.
Robert walked back with the Pinkerton men, all the while wondering if he was going to be shot in the back. Once safely ensconced in the first car with Mona, he turned to her. “You’ll never guess who turned out to be our savior.”
Mona pulled her blanket over Robert. “Who?”
“Margaret Daly. She ordered the Stetson man to follow us.”
“She could have ordered him to start the avalanche.”
“I thought it odd myself that her man happened to arrive a short time after the avalanche. I’ll guess we’ll never know the real truth, but she did warn you of danger, Mona.” Robert lit a cigarette as his nerves were frayed. “What do you want to do now?”
Mona didn’t chide Robert about smoking as she knew he was upset. She was disturbed as well. “We’ve got three managers to deal with. We need to stay in Montana until this mess is cleared up.”
“We got out by the skin of our teeth tonight, Mona, and two of our men didn’t make it. We need to make changes fast, and then get the heck out of here.”
“I don’t like putting our men and ourselves in danger, but we’ve got to see this through, Robert.”
A Pinkerton knocked on the car window.
Mona rolled it down.
“Sorry, folks, but we need to put one of the injured men in this car. It’s pretty tight in the other vehicle.”
“Assuredly, bring him here,” Robert said, before turning to his wife. “I’ll drive and we’ll put two men in the back.”
Mona got out and stood aside as Pinkertons carried their injured comrade. They eased him into the back of the car. Mona took off her blanket, wrapping it around the injured man. She said to the non-injured Pinkerton, “You’ll stay with him?”
“Ma’am, he can use my lap as his pillow. We’ll get him to a hospital all right.”
Mona replied, “We shall fly to the nearest hospital like the fastest hawk.”
“Better make it a night owl.”
Mona gave a ghost of a smile at the Pinkerton’s jest. She slid into the front seat and turned to Robert. “We’re ready. Let’s get back to Butte.”
Robert took off the emergency brake and depressed on the clutch, putting the car in first gear. The car began to roll downward and Robert put the car in second gear. “Here we go, ready or not.”
But Mona didn’t hear Robert. She was deep in thought planning her next move.
Someone was going to pay for the death of those two men as well as Piotr Wojcik and Dr. Driscoll. Someone indeed!
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