Deputy Tempe Crabtree arrests fellow Native American Nick Two John at a protest against logging. He berates her for her lack of knowledge of her Indian heritage. When he becomes the major suspect in the murder of the owner of the local inn, she feels sure he is not the guilty one and she begins her own investigation. When someone tried to kill her, she knows she’s on the right track.
Targeted Age Group:: YA and adults.
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 2 – PG
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Because I love small town mysteries, and I'd moved to a small mountain town, I decided to write a mystery in a town similar to where I lived. Yes, I made some changes such as moving the town 1000 feet higher for different trees and weather changes. There is an inn, but it also has undergone some changes for the sake of the story. This is the first of a series.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Deputy Tempe Crabtree is a combination of a Native American friend and a female resident deputy I interviewed for the local newspaper, both strong women. Nick Two John is based on another Indian I'd met. Other characters may have some similarities to real people, but mainly sprouted from my imagination.
Deputy Tempe Crabtree drove her official whit Blazer down the rough track. She spotted the muscular, bronze-skinned Yanduchi Indian plunge his Buck knife deep into the sidewall of one of the big tires of a truck fully loaded with newly-cut logs. She didn't have to see his face, she recognized him by his build and waist long black braids–Nick Two John.
If it hadn't been for the group of angry loggers, their blocked equipment, and the belligerent demonstrators, the scene might have been idyllic. Lofty cedars and fir trees interspersed with an occasional redwood grew so close together their foliage nearly blocked out the sun. Enormous ferns covered the floor of the forest.
Tempe jammed the brake pedal to the floor and leaped from her vehicle, but not soon enough to prevent Two John from yanking the knife downward and ruining the tire.
Before she could reach him, a tall, skinny logger threw down his cigarette and stomped toward Two John. "What the hell's wrong with you, man? You can't get away with that."
He swung at Two John.
The Indian blocked the blow with the arm that held the knife. "Back off, buddy," he growled. "I don't want to hurt you."
With her hand on her baton, Tempe strode toward the grappling men. "Throw down your knife, Nick. Step away from each other. Now."
"Did you see what he did, deputy?" the logger whined.
"How could I miss it? You're under arrest, Nick. You have the right to remain silent…" She recited the rest of his rights while Two John compliantly put his wrists togeth¬er behind his back, awaiting handcuffs. He was only a couple of inches taller than her own five-foot eight.
When she'd finished, he said, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Crabtree."
Tempe laughed. "Because I arrested you? I'm doing my job."
"No, that's not what I meant. You ought to be demonstrat¬ing right along with me. Doesn't your Yanduchi ancestry mean anything to you?"
"Obviously not what you think it ought to.” Tempe led him to the Blazer.
"Didn't your Grandma teach you anything about what it means to be a native?" Nick asked.
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