Mystery Tours Denver

NOTE: Today launches two weeks of mystery novels and other scary things–leading up to Halloween. Don’t be afraid –plunge right in and enjoy the murder and mayhem!

And remember, there are still a few books to give away in the Giant 25-Book Giveaway. So subscribe, tell me in a comment you have subscribed, tweet a reference to @pen4hire, or leave a comment on any post. It would be frightening, if you did not win something. {THIS CONTEST OVER!]

Denver Colorado  at night


The Perfect Suspect by Margaret Coel
The Perfect Suspect (A Catherine McLeod Mystery)Destination: Colorado

Book: The Perfect Suspect: A Catherine McLeod Mystery by Margaret Coel (NEW September 2011)

I will never look at Denver in the same way, and newspaper reporters who read Margaret Coel‘s Catherine McLeod books may reconsider their careers. I heard Coel speak about her Wind River Series–set on an Arapaho reservation–at the Tucson Festival of Books last year.  The fact that the author is an expert in the culture of the Arapaho fascinated me, and her crime-solving combo of Catholic priest and female American Indian lawyer sounded like a winner.  However, when I read The Spider’s Web, it did not hold my interest and I did not review it here. (In fairness, I should let you know that book won a Colorado Book Award for 2011.)

Denver pedestrian mall
Downtown Denver Pedestrian Mall

Therefore, when the publisher sent me The Perfect Suspect ,it sat on my table for several months before I opened it.  The heroine here is part Arapaho, just discovering her heritage.  She works as a newspaper reporter in Denver and has a boyfriend who is a cop.  In the first book featuring Catherine McLeod, she was the victim of a stalker.  In The Perfect Suspect, she becomes the target of a tough but beautiful police woman who goes on a killing spree in an attempt to cover up her murder of a politician.

Don’t worry, I’m not throwing out a spoiler by telling you that the policewoman is a killer.  The Perfect Suspect is not a Who Done It? It’s a What Next? The reader works alongside Catherine as she investigates the story and with her, you wonder who else may be killed. Things get pretty tense as Catherine gets closer to the truth and Ryan, the female cop, gets more desperate. The suspense builds as the cop and the reporter get closer and closer and their paths finally intersect.

This novel makes a great Halloween Season suspenseful read. This was a better book in many ways than The Spider’s Web.  I cared about the characters. Even the warped Ryan never fails to fascinate. I believed the actions of the characters. They fit their psychology. If I have any complaints about the drawing of the characters it is that we are repeatedly told how attractive protaganist Catherine and antagonist Ryan are. Okay, we get it. And if I had not been involved in politics myself at one time, I might have thought Coel was laying it on a little thick about the gubernatorial candidate who could persuade anyone how much he cared, when the truth was that he cared only about getting ahead. And he, too, was beautiful handsome beyond all mortals.  But I’ve seen such people in politics and could totally believe this character and his character flaws.

Aspen Colorado
Aspen Colorado

And of course I loved the reality of the settings–the neighborhoods of Denver, the wealthy ski towns of Breckenridge and Aspen, the magnificent mountain scenery. I can see someone visiting the pleasant downtown area of Denver and thinking–this must be where Catherine met the informer, this is the route she took to her office–it is all very real.

The Perfect Suspect gets high grades for being an exciting and compelling read and for the traveler’s library criteria of showing us a place we would like to visit. When you travel to Denver, climb to the top of the State Capitol dome, visit the Denver Art Museum, linger in a restaurant on the downtown pedestrian 16th Street Mall. But steer clear of a part-Arapaho newspaper reporter named Catherine. She draws danger like a magnet.


Photographs here come from, with a Creative Commons license.  Please click on each photo to learn about the photographer and see more of his or her work.

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Whether you’re reading appropriately scary mysteries for Halloween, or you are just building up your place-oriented mystery library, where in the world would you like a mystery to take you?


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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

4 thoughts on “Mystery Tours Denver

  1. I like reading any good book where the setting is important. Among my favorite mystery series in this category in no particular order are James McClure’s set in South Africa during apartheid, Archer Mayor’s Joe Gunther stories set in and around Brattleboro, Vermont, Andrea Camillieri’s Montalbano tales set in Sicily, and Colin Cotterill’s Dr. Siri series set in Laos. Does anyone know of any interesting mysteries where New Zealand or maybe Tasmania are “characters”

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