Monday, October 26, 2015

The Story Behind Murderous Secrets

Iron statue of Chief Joseph
My newest mystery release, Murderous Secrets: A Shandra Higheagle Mystery, is partially set on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington state. This book took a bit longer to write having part of the book set in a real area rather than my fictional ski resort of Huckleberry.

A fellow writer and friend, Carmen Peone,  who lives on the reservation took me on a tour and explained the problems and life on the reservation. There are 13 tribes who reside on this large reservation. A good number of them were enemies before the government pushed them together on this land.

There are four districts on the reservation. Inchelium, Omak, Keller, and Nespelem.  The thirteen tribes living on the reservation are: Methow, Okanogan, Arrow Lakes, San Poil, Colville, Nespelem, Chelan, Entiat, Moses-Columbia, Wenatche, Palus, and the Chief Joseph band of the Nez Perce.

With my interest in the Chief Joseph band this is the reason I have my main character, Shandra Higheagle's family part of the Nez Perce at the Colville reservation rather than the Lapwai Reservation in Idaho. The young Chief Joseph, In-mut-too-lat-lat, was buried in the Nespelem area. 
Oldest building at the Agency

It was interesting listening to Carmen, who lives on the reservation in Inchelium and is married to an Arrow Lakes member talk about the way the tribe members interact with one another. It has been over a century since they were roaming the area as nomadic tribes, yet the rivalries and one-up-manship still exists.

This look into the relationships between the tribes helped me to take the story on different twists and directions and will also play into the 6th Shandra Higheagle book, Reservation Revenge. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Powwow grounds across from Agency
The tribal headquarters are clear down in the far south west side of the reservation. It is near the town of Nespelem where the Nez Perce reside. The reservation is 2,100 square acres and the town are all on the edges of the reservation. Inchelium is on the far west side, Keller is on the south end and Omak is on the northwest side of the reservation. This large amount of land has only 9,500 people living on it. So the people are spread far apart but sometimes not far enough.

In Murderous Secrets, Shandra travels to Nespelem to ask her family about her father's death that has been plaguing her in dreams. While there she is sent to Omak to talk with someone who had a grudge against her father.

Murderous Secrets: A Shandra Higheagle Mystery Blurb

Book four in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series


The accident that took her father’s life has always haunted Shandra Higheagle. When her dreams become too real, she knows it’s time to discover the truth. It doesn’t take long to suspect her father had been murdered and that someone is unhappy with her probing. 

Detective Ryan Greer knows Shandra well enough to insist he be kept informed of her investigation into the decades old death of her father. When signs implicate her mother, he can’t withhold the information, even though he realizes it could complicate their relationship.

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