How Spirit Woman Evolved

Apr 14, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Elaine Faber

I’ve published four cozy cat mysteries, starring Black Cat, who, with the aid of his ancestors’ memories, helps his ‘person’ solve mysteries and murder.

That was followed by three humorous historical fiction novels set during WWII. An elderly retired government undercover agent, Mrs. Odboddy, believes Nazi spies and conspiracies abound. She is determined to expose and bring the miscreants to justice.

Thinking it was time to move on to something new, I remembered a somewhat humorous short story I wrote several years ago about a sewer truck owner. While pumping out a septic tank in a rural community one day, he stumbles upon a drug lab, and uses his truck to facilitate his escape.

Sewer truck driver? Cozy mystery? Humor? Sounded like a story that begged to be done in a full-length novel, something right up my alley.

The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain
takes place in the California Sierra foothills where folks still have wells and septic tanks. Despite my intentions that the story follow a typical humorous cozy mystery concept, as so often in the past, when I started to write, the characters took over and sent me in a completely different direction. Where did a Native American legendary spirit come from?

So the story concept: Lou Shoemaker owns a sewer truck, the Pooper Scooper. Her business takes her into the mountainous region pumping out rural septic tanks. There ensues a budding romance with Lou and Deputy Sheriff, Nate Darling. Nate’s sister, Suzanna, has mysteriously disappeared three months previously following a minor motor vehicle accident and has not been seen since. The government is up to some shenanigans, pursuing plans to build a mysterious facility near the town without the knowledge of the city fathers, and the local businessmen aren’t happy. When a drug dealer starts selling drugs to the teens on the Native American reservation nearby, it seems their legendary Spirit Woman, said to protect the community, needs to take a hand. Sightings of a woman and her pet mountain lion are frequently seen at moments of crisis. Nate is even convinced that the elusive woman is his missing sister, suffering from amnesia. It remains to be seen if the Spirit Woman, real or imagination, can bring about a resolution to the town’s troubles and help find Suzanna.

My novels do not follow the formula so often seen in today’s cozy mysteries. So, instead of the most common theme in cozy mysteries with the typical widow and her unusual job, who gets involved with a murder, and against all advice, pursues the typical killer, with her typical dog and quirky sidekick, Spirit Woman is a mystery with a paranormal figure determined to aid in resolving the most pressing issues a town or a budding romance can handle, with surprises and humor tucked in here and there.

It’s still a cozy mystery, meaning no extreme violence, explicit sex, or profanity. We have wholesome characters (with a few exceptions), an intriguing puzzle, and a legendary Native American figure that may or may not be real. What’s not to like?

The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain Amazon $3.99 e-book.

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Elaine Faber lives in Elk Grove with her husband and four feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Cat Writers Association, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. She volunteers at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop in Elk Grove. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines, have won multiple awards in various contests, and are included in at least 16 anthologies.
Elaine’s three Mrs. Odboddy novels, and four Black Cat Cozy Mystery novels have won top awards with Northern California Publishers and Authors annual contests. Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary, and All Things Cat, an anthology of cat stories, won 2018 and 2019 Certificates of Excellence with Cat Writers’ Association.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

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