Marilyn Meredith and F.M. Meredith author of mysteries and Christian thrillers

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Deadly Omen

The first book in the Tempe Crabtree mystery series by
Marilyn Meredith.

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A visit to a Native American Pow Wow gave me the idea for Deadly Omen. I so enjoyed the dances and the explanations of them I knew I had to write a book that incorporated these ideas.

It also brought about my first visit to the Tule River Reservation which is the model for Bear Creek reservation. Though the Tule River Reservation now has a casino, I liked the simpler life that it had before, the life you'll read about in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree stories.


"Deputy Crabtree is proud of her mixed-Indian heritage and enjoys working among the people of Bear Creek, California. When she's assigned to keep watch over a Pow Wow celebration she's drawn into the death of a beautiful Pow Wow Princess. A feather left behind is Tempe's only clue. Set against the drumbeats and dances of the festivities, Deadly Omen builds to an exciting climax, as the reader absorbs the color and culture of this unique mountain community."

--Penny Warner, author of the Connor Westphal series


"Bear Creek deputy sheriff Tempe Crabtree is part Yanduchi. She has a son from a previous relationship and recently married a minister. Though she resides near the Yanduchi Reservation, she knows very little about this part of her heritage. Her superior Sergeant Guthrie assigns Tempe to keep the peace during the Pow Wow. That provides Tempe with chances to learn about her people which simply fascinates her.

However, her enjoyment in her current assignment ends when Tempe finds the murdered corpse of Marella Kelso. The very popular teen was considered a sure shot to become the next Princess of the Pow Wow. Though the homicide detectives conduct the official case, Tempe operates he own investigation on her own time where she finds suspects overlooked by her peers.

Though this is the first Tempe Crabtree mystery, Marilyn Meredith provides much insight into the characters so that readers feel they previously met them. At the same time, the intriguing who-done-it provides many viable suspects with motives, means, and opportunities that surface as the book progresses. The addition of attaining understanding and knowledge about life on the Yanduchi Reservation adds depth to an entertaining tale. Fans of Native American mysteries will take much pleasure from Deadly Omen and want similar stories from Ms. Meredith."

--Harriet Klausner, for the The Midwest Book Review


"Tempe Crabtree faces the dilemma of many women as she divides her time between her job and family. Adding to Tempe's stress is the nature of her job as a police deputy. In this, the first of a series, Tempe solves a murder and learns that love is there for her, even though she feels guilt over the time spent away from her family. The book paints vivid portraits of reservation life and customs. This is an excellent read-one you can't put down."

--Scribe and Quill


"Deputy Tempe Crabtree resides in the small Sierra Foothills California Community of Bear Creek. When a young Native American Pow Wow princess is murdered, Deputy Crabtree's determination to identify the killer not only puts her own life in danger, but gets her in trouble with her Sergeant. Her growing interest in her Yanduchi Native American heritage is also causing trouble in her new marriage to Hutch, the local minister, and further complicates the raising of her adolescent son. A veteran mystery writer, Marilyn Meredith's Deadly Omen no only introduces a fascinating protagonist, but also authentically captures the essence and history of California Native American tribal culture. A brilliantly crafted and highly recommenced mystery, Deadly Omen is the first of a promised series to feature the exploits of Deputy Tempe Crabtree."

--Wisconsin Bookwatch


"I like Tempe, her capacity to hold her own against all pressure, even her own guilt, and I am taken with a series that will put two spiritual traditions side by side with neither being the right or only one. I think this is a positive and wonderfully feminine approach. Meredith did a great job of getting all the suspects in from the beginning and in the reader's view and keeping the reader guessing. I love the inclusion of place as a major element of any novel and this setting particularly."

--Lesley Kellas Payne, independent editor


"Deputy Tempe Crabtree is proud of her Indian heritage and enjoys working among her people in Bear Creek, California. When she's assigned to keep the peace at a Pow Wow celebration, she discovers the body of a beautiful Pow Wow Princess. An eagle feather is Tempe's only clue. Set against the drumbeats and dances of the festivities, Deadly Omen builds to an exciting climax as the reader absorbs the color and culture of this unique mountain community."

--Under The Covers


"Tempe Crabtree is the resident deputy of Bear Creek. Being part Native American, Yanduchi, she is the one assigned to cover at a native American Pow Wow. While there, one of the teenagers who was a candidate to be crowned the princess is murdered.

The investigation takes her into the Yanduchi reservation. The number of suspects is many and the murderer is getting nervous as Tempe gets closer to the truth.

This series is great for all ages, but perfect for young adult to bite their teeth on! Tempe's son is not old enough to be a volunteer fireman, however, is allowed to hang around the station, help it out, and go with the men to some calls. The author, Marilyn Meredith, also shows much of the traditions and dances among the Yanduchi. I expect this series to take off quickly!"

--Detra Fitch


"Fans of Margaret Coel and Jean Hager will find much to enjoy in this new series by Marilyn Meredith, with action relation to Native Americans of the Yanduchi Reservation. Deputy Tempe Crabtree, part Yanduchi has much to balance in her life, having been widowed and reared her son alone. Now with a new husband, who happens to be the Anglo minister of the local community church, she concentrates on learning about her neglected heritage while solving the murder of a young Yanduchi girl. Tempe must work with the sheriff and other law enforcement officials, all male and all Anglo, to prove her worth to them and to herself.

"A book that entertains as well as educates, this is a rewarding read. Set on an Indian reservation, Marilyn Meredith, in Deadly Omen, seizes a unique opportunity to pass on her knowledge of Indian customs and traditions while presenting a good old-fashioned "whodunit." A culture clash between Indians and non-Indians, an inter-Indian feud, and the inherent isolation of an Indian reservation combine to create a tense and suspenseful atmosphere in which mistrust and jealousy abound. Meredith thoughtfully imparts a valuable lesson of tolerance in an oft-ignored setting."

--The Bookshelf


"Deadly Omen is the second in a series of Tempe Crabtree mysteries written by the talented Marilyn Meredith. With a cast of 3-D characters, and a back-woods setting, Meredith proportionately incorporates Native American culture to plots of murder and intrigue.

Tempe Crabtree, the deputy of Bear Creek, is part Yanduchi. In this tale, she has recently married Hutch, the town's Christian pastor. Despite working in law enforcement and being newly married, Crabtree also is raising her teenage son, Blair. That's just background.

Assigned to keep peace and order at a Native American Pow Wow, Crabtree finds herself dragged into a murder mystery when the body of a candidate for princess turns up along the outskirts of the fairgrounds. The deceased was more than likely going to win the crown and responsibilities associated with being a Pow Wow princess.

Who would want to kill a young girl, and why? Though only a deputy, Crabtree can not help but investigate the circumstances behind the heinous crime committed while she was on duty, despite the warnings she receives to back off from the male detectives assigned to solve the case. Most of the evidence points toward a rowdy young Native American. The detectives think the case is as simple as open and shut. So how can Crabtree not get involved when clearly the detectives seem closed minded? She knows they are not asking the right questions, or talking to the right people. Sure, Daniel Redwing was drunk at the Pow Wow, and sure, he had an amazing crush on the victim, but would that be enough to motivate him to murder? And what about the pushy stage-mother of the other princess candidate, did she want her own daughter to win badly enough to kill? After all, she warned people someone was going to die that day. How about the crazy old man always feuding with the Native Americans, does it seem likely that he was carrying around a gun during the Pow Wow, but it lost before shooting took place .. and his lost weapon just happens to be the murder weapon? And what about the victim's boyfriend? Everyone thought they were destined to get married. How many people knew she had broken off their relationship? And what about the victim herself, what skeletons did she have locked away in a closet?

Engrossing from start to finish. Like Deadly Trail, Deadly Omen is a character-driven mystery with enough edge to keep it suspenseful and intriguing. Fast-paced and beautifully written, the reader quickly sympathizes and relates to Crabtree and the rest of her family. It can't easy working as a police officer, so having a newly formed family must only make things more complicated. I am anxious to start the third in the series, Unequally Yoked.

--Phillip Tomasso III, author of Johnny Blade & Third Ring