A nasty murder pits the local police against the state police.
Historian Lottie Albright’s stress level keeps rising as she juggles her research for the historical society, her work as an undersheriff, and the needs of her rancher husband and his children from a former marriage, some close to her own age. When Victor Diaz turns up in the manure pit at a local feedlot, Sheriff Sam Abbot immediately recognizes his death as murder and calls on the state police for forensic help. But Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent Frank Dimon has his own agenda: He’s trying to set up a regional police force to replace a group of local sheriffs who often lack the resources to investigate major crimes. As they squabble, Victor’s reclusive great-grandmother Dona Francisca Diaz invites Lottie to her ranch and asks her help in solving the murder. Even though the enormous Diaz ranch is an oasis of green, with ample water in the midst of an area of Western Kansas burning up under drought conditions, not one acre has been plowed for farming. Francisca is a curandera who shares her knowledge of medicinal and magic herbs with Lottie, along with historical information about her famed family, whose Spanish roots go far back in American history. Could the Diaz family’s long-simmering lawsuit against the government that claims a vast area of land as their own be a motive for murder? Lottie must use all her many skills to solve a case that has far-reaching ramifications.
This third case for Lottie (Lethal Lineage, 2011, etc.) is filled with surprising historical information, social commentary, romance and a strong mystery.