What a deal! This short story book introduces Sheriff Jeff McQuede, the hero of the High County Mystery Series. In these seven mysteries Sheriff Jeff McQuede finds himself square in the middle of a deal made on a handshake—where the result is murder. Set in modern-day Wyoming, the stories take place at an old-time mountain man rendezvous, in a pawn shop where traders vie over rare Native American pottery, and after an engagement ceremony where two family patriarchs pretend to bridge a lifetime of feuding by the gift of a rare peace pipe. McQuede’s arch-enemy Ruger, is a suspect in many of these tales, and just manages to evade his traps. In each of these stories McQuede= relentlessly seeks out the dangerous men who have broken trust.
Full-length novels in the High Country Mystery Series include Murder in Black and White, Whispers of the Stones, Stealer of Horses, and The Executioner’s Hood.
Targeted Age Group:: General Readership
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The inspiration to write this book and all the books in the High Country Mystery Series arose from the Wyoming setting and the many stories we’ve heard, both past and present. Our background in antique dealing also led to the creation of many stories that deal with rare finds and artifacts discovered in unusual place such as swap meets. The High Country of Wyoming seemed a perfect place to tell our tales.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Jeff McQuede was originally a minor character in a gambling/mystery series we wrote which is set in the Old West. These three novels include The Devil’s Game, The Fifth Ace, and The Wild Card. Later, when we developed the contemporary series we decided to have Sheriff Jeff McQuede be related to the old Western sheriff, and try to uphold his values in changing times.
Jeff McQuede, sheriff of Coal County, Wyoming, found himself getting into the spirit of the annual Mountain Man Rendezvous. He had donned a battered Stetson and a red bandana, and for added effect, had strapped on his .45. The trusty six-shooter had been handed down to him by his great-uncle, the man whose name he bore, tough old Jeff McQuede, one of Wyoming Territory’s most famous lawmen.
McQuede even looked like his namesake, broad-framed and rugged. He stood just inside the plank gate, hand on the hilt of his gun, playacting like all the phony Indian chiefs and fur-clad mountain men. If not for the RV’s and trucks in the parking area, he could be stepping back in time, entering an authentic 1800’s fur trader camp.
Silvery gray eyes flitted across the circle of tepees and canvas tents where peddlers dressed in authentic costumes were in the process of setting up wares to lure the soon-to-arrive buyers and sightseers. Smoke from the blazing fire in the center of the camp hung over them, increasing the illusion of times long past.
Barry Dawson, one of the organizers of the yearly rendezvous, hurried toward him. “Howdy, partner.” His exaggerated drawl sounded absurd coming from a man who looked exactly like what he was, a graying, bespectacled history professor. His gaze lighted on the .45. “You expecting trouble, McQuede?”
“Nope. I’m just here to join the fun.”
“Fun? Doesn’t sound like you.”
“I’m taking a day off.”
Dawson looked past the sheriff, mouth dropping open, eyes widening, as if he’d suddenly seen a ghost. “Would you look over there? Trader Dan has some nerve showing up here, after all the trouble he caused last year.”
Whenever McQuede saw Dan Murphy, he thought of men like Jim Bridger, Joseph Redford Walker and Jed Smith, hardy souls who braved the harsh winters trapping furs, men who answered to no one. Trader Dan, as he was called, was a regular, following the circuit from flea markets and gun shows to sites like this one, making a living off his antiques and uniques. A man who quickly made friends, especially with the ladies. He took what he wanted, and when it suited him, disposed of it just as quickly.
Last year, what he’d wanted had been Clayton Lowe’s wife, and when Lowe had found out, all hell had broken loose….
Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton, sisters and coauthors, are drawn to out-of-the-way places, old mining towns, and vast rangelands where the legends and history of the past live on. Inspired by the rugged mountains of Wyoming and Colorado, they find the lonely, high-country region a perfect setting for their novels.
Both writers live in Kansas; Loretta in Junction City, Vickie in Hutchinson. ‘Whispers of the Stones’ is their eighth book for AVALON. Others include their mysteries ‘Murder in Black and White,’ ‘Arctic Legacy,’ ‘Path of the Jaguar,’ and ‘Nightmare in Morocco.’
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy A Deal on a Handshake Print Edition at Amazon
Link to A Deal on a Handshake Print book for sale at Create Space
Links to Purchase eBooks
Link To Buy A Deal on a Handshake On Amazon