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We’ve all visited those lovely little resort towns that sit on lakes or rivers and make wonderful escapes when we’ve had too much of urban life. In my Writer’s Apprentice novels, Blue Lake is just such a town, and like any real vacation escape, its streets are lined with storefronts. Every one of these doors leads to new stories, fascinating lore, interesting people.

death-waits-in-the-darkOne of the first places Lena London discovered when she came to town in Book One (A Dark and Stormy Murder) was a hardware store called Bick’s. In the slightly musty lobby of this eccentric and whimsical place stands a giant Grizzly bear who holds a sign that says “Bick’s is Best.” For a year, Lena walks in and out of Bick’s to pursue various purchases or to mail letters in the ancient post office at the back of the store, but only in Book Four (Death Waits in the Dark), does Lena learn the story of the Grizzly. His name was Wally.

Wally, in life, had been a fixture at the Riverton Zoo, a couple hours from Blue Lake. Beloved by all of Riverton and by zoo visitors from far and wide, Wally enjoyed a long life and formed a loving bond with his caretaker. When the bear died of old age, his keeper asked to have Wally preserved in the hopes of keeping some part of his majestic bear alive for posterity. The man received permission and Wally became a work of taxidermy, similar to the fellow pictured here (from Wikimedia Commons). Through a series of events that are made clear in the book, Wally makes his way to Mr. Bick, and for years he has stood guard in the lobby of Bick’s Hardware. Lena learns this information and feels neglectful—she has passed Wally so many times, but she had never learned his story.

With each door she enters in Blue Lake, Lena learns more about the people—and the animals—who populate her town.

In the latest installment, she also learns a great deal about the past. Her employer, the suspense novelist Camilla Graham, is confronted by a woman who threatens to reveal “Graham family secrets” if Camilla does not come clean. Unfortunately, Camilla has no idea what the woman means, and everyone in the Graham family is dead. She and Lena must come together to find out secrets from the past before someone sullies the family name of Camilla’s dear deceased husband, James.

As they search, they find dark secrets—and death.

Death Waits in the Dark can be pre-ordered now!