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Death of an Heiress

It’s book four in the Old Los Angeles series, Death of an Heiress. And Maddie Wilcox is up to her ears in trouble again. You can buy the book at any of the retailers below at $15.99 for the paperback and $3.99 for the ebook. The book runs about 300 pages.

When the unmentionable stalks the pueblo…

Death of an Heiress synopsis

It starts when the inheritance that Lavina Gaines was to receive is stolen by her brother Timothy. Then an old Indian healing woman is murdered. Winemaker and physician Maddie Wilcox wants to find the person responsible for Mama Jane’s death, but is also occupied with another killer – the measles. When Lavina’s friend Julia Carson dies trying to rid herself of a pregnancy, Lavina asks Maddie’s help finding the man responsible for Julia’s child. Soon after, Lavina is killed and her murder bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Mama Jane’s. The only motive Maddie can find involves Julia’s death, which is not the sort of thing one talks about. Not only that, Lavina’s nether garments are missing. How does a proper lady in 1872 get the answers she needs to stop a killer determined to stop her first?

Download a pdf of the first chapter

How I wrote Death of an Heiress

One thing about my various series of books is that as the characters start to come together and start talking to me, very often, I get ideas for more stories about them. The initial idea for Death of an Heiress happened when I was still writing Death of the City Marshal, book two of the series. Lavina Gaines made her debut in that book, thanks to a newspaper ad that captured my attention.

I have to concede that I was not happy about killing her off. I liked Lavina. She was nothing like what you’d suppose from the little ad proclaiming that her father, Robert Gaines, would not be picking up her tab anymore. She was, as Maddie says, eminently sensible and in a difficult situation with a father who did not understand her.

That may have played into the difficulty I had writing this book. But a good part of that was the COVID-19 Pandemic. Research – and the kind of research I do means that I have to be there in person – was difficult since the library was shut down. And, if I’m honest, my brain during 2020 was not where it should have been if I was going to be writing this book.

Getting it done

The good news for you readers is that my mother-in-law put the pressure on. She really wanted to read the next of Maddie’s episodes. So did several other people. Oy. I knew I had to get my backside in gear and start writing.

I did know two things – the basic conceit. Timothy, Lavina’s brother, would be one of the main suspects, but who had the least motive to kill his sister since he’d already gotten what he’d wanted. Her inheritance (or close enough). And guys would do stuff like that in the 19th Century when women were considered little more than children.

I also knew whodunnit and even how. What I didn’t have was how Maddie was going to figure all this out, not to mention how Angelina and Regina (two of my most favorite sidekicks ever) would help her.

It wasn’t easy, but the story eventually came together. The research made my life a lot easier. I found out about the measles outbreak in the pueblo and knew I had to use that. Then there was the dispensary fire. I had a lot of fun with that one.

And eventually, Death of an Heiress happened. I hope you enjoy it.