It’s Not Over Until You’re Sure It’s Over

Jun 23, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Marilyn Meredith, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Marilyn Meredith

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of The Trash Harem, and links to purchase it.

When I wrote End of the Trail, number eighteen in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, I thought that would be the last one. After all Tempe retired, so time to retire the series. Wrong.

I took a trip to visit my daughter who lives in Murrieta, and while there, I got a great idea for a new Tempe. Temecula is right next to Murrieta and a town I’ve visited often. It is the place where the author Erle Stanley Gardner lived on a ranch and wrote many of his great Perry Mason and other stories.

I’d been a fan of Gardner and his tales and learned a lot about him when I visited the Temecula museum. A kernel of an idea began forming.

My daughter and her husband live in a gated community for folks over 55. Most of their neighbors are closer to my age than theirs. My son-in-law has become a helper to many of the widows who live in their neighborhood.

While my daughter told me about all the things he does for the various women, an idea began to form.

Why couldn’t Tempe help out in a murder case even though she is no longer a deputy? She’d certainly done it in other places when asked by friends.

Though I tossed the idea out to my daughter and we discussed it a bit, but on the way home plot threads flooded my brain and I could hardly wait to jot things down.

The way I usually write any of my mysteries is to come up with the characters. Of course, I already know all about my heroine Tempe, who is Native American, and married to her pastor husband, Hutch. Next comes who the murder victim will be and who are the people who might have wanted to see this person dead. When I create these people, I jot down short descriptions of them and personality traits.

The tale is set in a fictional gated community though I based it somewhat on one I found on line. I knew a lot about some of the places I included, but not much about the wineries so had to rely on my daughter and granddaughter to answer questions about where the wineries are located. When needing to know the kind of cars my characters drive, I relied on my son-in-law for the information I needed.

I also wanted to find out information about the Pechanga Indians and I relied on the Internet. While researching I learned about an ancient oak tree revered by the Indians. Yes, it plays an important part in the story, and it’s depicted on the cover.

Now to bring Erle Stanley Gardner into the story, how was I to do that? After all, he’s been dead for a long time. Being dead hasn’t stopped others from communicating with Tempe, so you can guess how he appears.

The Trash Harem
is nineteenth in the series, and believe me, I had a great time writing this one. Will there be another? Who knows?

Official Blurb:
Deputy Tempe Crabtree has retired from her job in Bear Creek when friends, who once lived in Bear Creek and attended Pastor Hutch’s church, ask her to visit them in Temecula. The husband, Jonathan, is a suspect in what might be a murder case. The retirement community includes many interesting characters, any of whom might have had a better motive than Jonathan. There is also a connection to Earle Stanley Gardner as well as the Pechanga Old Oak. What is a trash harem? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Available on Kindle and in paper.
Amazon-The Trash Harem-Tempe Crabtree Mysteries ebook
Amazon-The Trash Harem-Tempe Crabtree Mysteries print

To enter to win an ebook copy of The Trash Harem, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “harem,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 3, 2021. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

You can listen to the first chapter of another one of Marilyn’s Tempe Crabtree books featured on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast by clicking here or listening on the player below:

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up last week.

You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Marilyn Meredith, who also writes under the name F. M. Meredith, is the author of over forty published books, most are mysteries. She lives in the foothills of the Southern Sierra, and once lived in a small beach town like Rocky Bluff. She belongs to two chapters of Sisters in Crime and the Public Safety 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.


  1. That’s an interesting origin saga. Count me in!

  2. I’m a big fan of Marilyn and a big fan of the Tempe Crabtree series. I’m so glad there’ll be more to come. Sounds like another winner!

  3. Thank you for the chance this wonderful giveaway!!!

  4. We have a winner!


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