Her mother’s secret first love … a hermit’s terror ... gangster’s loot. Can Jamie learn the connection between the three before the past comes back to kill her?
Award-winning Tulsa writer and former Ponca City resident Mary Coley will be in Ponca City, Saturday, December 5, from 1-3 p.m. for a book signing at Brace Books and More. Coley has just released the third mystery in her Family Secret Series, Beehives.
Coley worked at the Ponca City News as a feature writer, Mary Lutz, for five years when living in Ponca City, and also served as the Public Relations Director for (then) St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.
Coley’s first two books, Cobwebs and Ant Dens, have both been listed as finalists in the 2015 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards. Additionally, Coley won a “Creative Woman of Oklahoma” award earlier this year from the Gamma State chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society of Key Educators for her first mystery, Cobwebs.
Coley incorporates historic events into her mysteries, which all focus on the secrets of family members. In this third book, set in Osage Hills State Park, Coley uses the Civilian Conservation Corps history of Osage Hills (one of the original seven Oklahoma state parks) and tales of the Depression-era gangsters to provide some of the twists and turns of the mystery.
“Jamie Aldrich is not your typical mystery heroine,” Coley says. “She is a curious and intelligent widowed high school science teacher. But she’s one of those people things seem to happen to.
“In Beehives, she’s at the park with her fiancé to plan her upcoming wedding. But the very first day there, they find the body of the park’s resident hermit. The next day, Jamie finds her mother’s name in a ‘love’ notation on an old park wall. As usual, her mother won’t talk about it. She’s keeping this secret as close to her heart as she has kept everything else about her life before motherhood. But Jamie can’t let it go. There’s a tie between her mother, the beekeeping hermit and a boy who died fifty years earlier, and someone does not want Jamie to make the connections.”
Coley uses picturesque settings for her novels; the tallgrass prairie around Pawhuska, the foothills of the Sangre de Christo Mountains in northeastern New Mexico, and the Crosstimbers of eastern Osage County. And the weather in her books is as diverse as the landscape. “I hope,” Coley adds, “that the setting and the weather contribute to the suspense of the story.”
“The series began in Osage County, with my first mystery, Cobwebs, and it seemed fitting to return the main character to that area for the third book in the trilogy,” Coley explained. “In the first book, Jamie stumbles into a web of lies spun eighty years earlier, when her great aunt was a teenager. Two mysteries intertwine in this book which also showcases the intriguing history of the Pawhuska area.”
Although the books are a series, featuring the same main character, each book stands alone as a novel of suspense, Coley added.
Her books are available locally at Brace Books and More, and at the Ponca City library. For more information about Coley, visit her website, www.marycoley.com.