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Publisher: Golden Eagle Press
Release Date: February 2004
ISBN: 1891940082
Format Reviewed: Mass Market Paperback
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Genre: Mystery
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Nancy Mehl
Reviewer Notes:  Review One

Wing Beat
A Tempe Crabtree Mystery
By Marilyn Meredith

     Tempe Crabtree, resident deputy of Bear Creek, a small town in the southern Sierra, stops a car for speeding. The driver, who identifies herself as Sue Montelongo, raises Tempe’s suspicions. Montelongo has recently moved into an old, abandoned house with three other people. Tempe suspects that they are growing and distributing marijuana. She wants to investigate, but has to wait for probable cause. She can only keep her eye on the group and hope that local law enforcement can find a legal reason to enter the property. One night while on patrol, an owl swoops down in front of her patrol car. Her Native American heritage sees the occurrence as a sign – a harbinger of death. The warning holds true. A family trying to lay their father to rest, finds that someone else has been buried in their gravesite – but this death wasn’t from natural causes. While Tempe tries to uncover the truth behind the murder, something else happens that could destroy her family. A man has been exposing himself to area school children, and the description matches her husband, Hutch. As the pastor of a local church, the suspicions are particularly damaging. Tempe is torn between the case she must investigate and the husband she needs to exonerate.

     In such a small town, could there possibly be someone else who looks like Hutch and drives a similar truck? Or is Tempe married to someone she doesn’t really know? And who is the woman found in another person’s grave?

     Marilyn Meredith has a winner in her Tempe Crabtree series. The mystery is solid and the characters are well developed. The writing is crisp and moves the story along nicely. I look forward to the next offering in this compelling series.

Highly recommended