My Logan & Cafferty Series
Writing about two 60-year old women amateur sleuths has been fun, and I always attempt to involve them in social issues. Dana Logan, a mystery novel buff, and Sarah Cafferty, a private investigator’s widow, inhabited my brain for a couple of years before they were given birth on my computer. Living in my home state of California at the time, I placed them in the San Joaquin Valley in the central area of the state, where dense Tule fog, agricultural sprays and bay area pollution have become health hazards. It’s also a place where a serial killer can hide and kill at his leisure.
I lived in the valley for more than a dozen years and envisioned a killer disappearing into the fog after taking someone’s life. In fact, it actually happened half a mile from where I lived in a rural area, when a young woman was strangled in her ranch house. It could have been me.
In A Village Shattered, the first book in the series, I placed my aging sleuths in a retirement village where their Sew and So club members are mysteriously dying alphabetically. When Dana and Sarah realize what’s happening, they suspect that their own names are on the killer’s list. The newly-elected sheriff—whose only previous experience was training police dogs—is bungling the case, so Logan & Cafferty decide to put their crime solving knowledge to work in order to not only save their remaining friends, but their own lives. Meanwhile, Dana’s journalist daughter shows up on her doorstep, complicating matters.
I had moved to the Casper, Wyoming, area and was working as a news reporter when I placed the widows in a motorhome in Diary of Murder, second book in the series, after they sold their homes in the retirement village. I had traveled extensively around the Southwest, driving a motorhome and listening to truckers on my CB radio, so I used my experiences to involve my amateur sleuths in another mystery. While vacationing in Colorado, they encounter a Rocky Mountain blizzard after learning that Dana’s sister, a mystery writer, has died. Her husband claims it was suicide but Dana knows her sister would never take her own life. When they arrive in Wyoming, they go through the sister’s possessions and find her diary, which details her husband’s infidelities as well as her unhappiness at having married him. Dana then learns that her former brother-in-law is involved in a vicious drug ring, and she and Sarah are nearly killed when they investigate.
They also learn that Dana’s murdered sister has willed her mansion to her and the two women take up residence in Wyoming. During a picture-taking trip to Gray Wolf Mountain, their Escalade is shot at, resulting in a rollover. An old man comes to their rescue in his decrepit pickup truck and they learn that he travels the mountain to find wounded wolves in order to nurse them back to health. Someone has been deliberately shooting them and has recently begun shooting people. Logan & Cafferty decide to help the old man, once again placing their own lives in danger.
In Murder on the Interstate, the two women are traveling in northern Arizona, where they discover the body of a young woman in her Mercedes convertible. Her killer shoots their motorhome tires and a trucker who calls herself “Big Ruby” McCurdy comes to their rescue. The three women follow the killer during torrential rain in Ruby’s 18-wheeler, and discover that the killer is involved in a homegrown terrorist group that plans to overthrow the government. While attempting to discover how the murder victim is connected to the group, they fall victim to a flash flood and, managing to escape, are captured by the terrorist group.
In my latest novel, Murder in RV Paradise, Dana and Sarah decide to vacation in an exclusive RV resort in northern Texas, where they find the body of a beautiful woman who, they eventually discover, has entrapped wealthy men in order to blackmail them. There are more than a thousand residents in the resort so anyone could have killed her. Interviewing the right ones seems insurmountable and the amateur sleuths themselves became murder suspects. During their investigation Sarah finds love with a retired rancher and Dana’s quest to maintain her friendship status with long-time pursuer, Sheriff Walter Campbell, is in serious jeopardy. When the sheriff is wounded, Dana rushes to his side and is persuaded to marry him. But will she?
The Logan and Cafferty series contains elements of humor, romance, mystery and suspense, and the protagonists have become old friends that I enjoy tuning into each morning when I sit down at my computer.
Bio: Novelist and award-winning photojournalist Jean Henry Mead has published 20 books, among them the Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series as well as the Hamilton Kids’ mysteries, Wyoming historicals and nonfiction books. She first served as a news reporter in California and Wyoming, and news, magazine and small press editor while contributing to the Denver Post’s Empire Magazine. Her magazine articles have been published domestically as well as abroad and have won state, regional and national awards.
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