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



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2003 Eppie Finalist!
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Deadly Trail is the prequel to the Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

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Putting the planning of her wedding on hold, Tempe searches for the killer of the owner of Bear Creek Inn. It doesn't take long for her to discover there are several people who wanted the victim dead, including his wife. Tempe follows the trail of clues putting her job, her upcoming marriage and herself in peril.


I was fortunate to meet a Native American couple who had an interesting garden filled with native plants and herbs. They shared with me all the many things that could be done with all these plants from healing to harm. In Springville, the town I live in and the inspiration for the Bear Creek of my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, there is a wonderful inn. In Deadly Trail, I' ve created a similar inn with a garden much like the one I learned about.

This is also the book where I introduce Nick Two John who faults Tempe for not knowing more about her Indian history. Nick is a composite of several Native American men I've met through the years.

It is interesting to note that I held the book launching for Deadly Trail at the Springville Inn. Though the male owner of the inn in the book is murdered, the female owner of the Springville Inn is very much alive and she told me she wished she had some of the things at her end like I describe in the book.


"Deputy Tempe Crabtree arrests Nick Two John for slashing the tires of a logging truck during a protest. On the way to the jail, he repeatedly begs for his freedom. He believes that with her Native American heritage, she should understand she should understand what the loggers represent and not arrest him. Then he offers to reveal a secret information if she'll release him. While she is curious to know the information, she does not give in.

She begins to regret that decision when Andre Donato, owner of the Bear Creek Inn, collapses and dies in the kitchen when Tempe and her minister boyfriend Hutch are there eating dinner. It is ruled a heart attack until another worker collapses with similar symptoms. She is saved, but it becomes evident that both people were poisoned.

The police center their investigation on Nick Two John. Deputy Crabtree is convinced he didn't do it, but she is soon pushed out of the investigation. She comes up with other suspects with good motives and begins to investigate on her own.

When she becomes the target of the killer, she knows she's close, but can she discover the identity of the killer before the killer takes care of her?

I highly recommend this book. It is the first I've read in this series. It won't be the last. Deputy Crabtree is a very likeable character. Her son and fiancé really add to the story. The townspeople do too. I like the setting. It is a very fast and enjoyable cozy read."

-- Reviewed by Dawn Dowdle -


"A prequel to the popular series featuring female Deputy Officer, Tempe Crabtree, Deadly Trail proves to be a solid and clever, cozy-mystery. Marilyn Meredith style is poised and efficient, and her storytelling ability is comparable to anyone writing in the genre.

Bear Creek is a backwoods town. Quiet. But just because everyone knows everyone else, does not mean that everyone likes everyone else. This becomes obvious when Andre Donato, owner of the town's main restaurant, is murdered.

Deputy Crabtree, aside from being the only female officer in the department, is also a single mother of a teenaged boy and engaged to marry the town's pastor. When she learns the detectives assigned to the case follow a close-minded approach and plan to arrest Nick Two John, a local Native American, Crabtree conducts an investigation of her own.

Tempe Crabtree quickly learns that, aside from Two John, there are a host of suspects who could benefit, financially and physically, from Donato's death. As her hunt for answers leads her closer to the truth, she winds up placing her own life and lives of others in jeopardy.

Meredith has written a taut, compact mystery with three-dimensional characters. She knows how to draw her readers in with short chapters and tension-building scenes. A true puzzle with all of the pieces for the reading-sleuth to gather. I look forward to reading the other titles in the series."

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


"Bear Creek is a quiet town in the southern Sierras. The townspeople adore the tranquil way of life. However, someone is not happy with the way things are going, and that person is about to change the town forever.

Deputy Tempe Crabtree works hard to get her boss and fellow officers to take her seriously. When the owner of the local inn is murdered, Tempe is convinced that detectives have arrested the wrong man. Going against orders, Tempe is determined to find the real killer even if it means putting her own life on hold.

DEADLY TRAIL is a short, pleasing mystery that introduces a fantastic mystery sleuth. Tempe Crabtree is honest, dependable, and smart. Her battle to be taken seriously in a "man's world" is well written and fun.

All in all, I quickly became fond of Tempe and Hutch and intend to seek out the other books in this wonderful series. Ms. Meredith has created a compelling series with her convincing characters."

Tracy Farnsworth