A body in a bathtub is the last thing Sylvia Thorn expects her mother’s travel club to find when they check into their Laughlin, Nevada, hotel rooms.
The Florida Flippers, named for their long-standing support of the Miami Dolphins, scatter like dandelion fluff, intent on investigating a murder case to which they have no apparent connection. From the elderly wannabe cowgirl with wild red hair to the caustic-tongued volunteer park ranger in orthopedic hiking boots, the Florida Flippers keep Sylvia on her toes as she does a little sleuthing of her own.
But when the Laughlin detectives want to interview the Flippers, one of the elder travelers and her rental car are nowhere to be found. The tour group soon makes a grim discovery at the Lone Cactus Gold Mine near Oatman, Arizona, and Sylvia realizes there may be a connection between her mother’s club and the body in the tub after all. To add to the confusion, and Sylvia’s internal turmoil, the handsome and much younger FBI agent who tormented her in so many ways in Florida is now in Laughlin—showing intense interest in her group’s activities.
Soon Sylvia’s brother, reluctant clairvoyant Willie Grisseljon, senses trouble. Unable to contact his mother by phone, and prompted by his father who is equally alarmed, Willie abruptly abandons his bachelor weekend in Florida and impulsively, with Dad at his side, flies to the rescue. Willie soon wishes someone would rescue him instead.
The Desert Hedge Murders is a tangle of puzzling events that seem to have no connection . . . until Sylvia and the Florida Flippers stir up so much trouble that Laughlin detectives, the Mohave County sheriff, and the FBI are forced to work together to reveal the missing pieces.
About the Author
Now retired, I live in Colorado with my husband and Katie Kitty and periodically fly off to visit grown-up kids in different parts of the country. I hate to admit it, but 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation. Yes, we had a grand reunion. I thought it would be more scary than facing a pool of alligators, but we had a great time and stirred up some wonderful memories.
When I'm not writing, I read. And when I'm not reading, I do a lot of writing- and reading-related activities like blogging (http://patriciastoltey.blogspot.com). I love television and movies, too, especially "reality" shows like Survivor, Big Brother, and American Idol and mysteries and cop shows such as Longmire and Rookie Blue. I'm a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Northern Colorado Writers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
For ex-FBI employee and retired circuit court judge Sylvia Thorn, a trip from Florida to Laughlin, Nevada should be a celebrated vacation filled with memories and pictures of good friends and fun times. Sylvia is accompanying a group called the Florida Flippers (named after their favorite sports team, the Miami Dolphins) which includes her mother and six other members. However, events take an immediate turn for the worse when a corpse is found in the hotel bathroom of two members, Sandra and Patsy. Patsy is the newest member of the group and no one except Sandra knows anything about her. Then, Sandra disappears. During an excursion to a deserted gold mine, Sylvia and the Flippers come upon Sandra's body hanging over a deep, dark shaft. Not knowing if she is alive or dead, the tour guides try to reach the body, only to see it plunge into the seemingly bottomless crevice. The intrigue mounts as Sylvia discovers Sandra's unscrupulous husband is operating a hedge fund Ponzi scheme and the Flippers had invested in the fund. Then it is revealed to her an organized crime boss she previously tried is also involved. The story also contains an FBI special agent who is as personally interested in Sylvia as he is in the case. Local law enforcements, Sylvia's clairvoyant brother Willie and her father, and local residents fill out the believable yet sometimes eclectic cast of characters. Sylvia, Willie, and Patsy continue to investigate the murders and return to the mine at night, only to find them selves trying to save their own lives as they are confronted by the bad guys. "Desert Hedge Murders" is a fun, amateur sleuth, cozy mystery. Patricia demonstrates her writing talents with terrific character development, team and individual dynamics within the Flippers, a couple murders, and describing the desert scenery at day and during the night. There are also a couple scenes when the lights go out in the mine. Sylvia has to navigate her way through the pitch black tunnel, surrounded by strange noises and the sense she was being followed. Stoltey uses an impressive writing style blending mystery, action, and diverse characters. Nicely done.
I like a story where senior citizens are more than just babysitters or a place to rest. Patricia Stoltey's THE DESERT HEDGE MURDERS is a mystery involving the Florida Flippers; a group of elderly fans of the Miami Dolphins who happen to find a dead body in a bathtub of one of their rooms when they check into a hotel in Laughlin, Nevada. And the adventure starts there. This assembly of feisty octogenarians is chaperoned by Sylvia Thorn (an ex-FBI agent and former judge) and the daughter on one of the Flippers. Willie her brother senses that she and their mother are in trouble and starts snooping himself (And bringing has dad along with him to Nevada). This little mystery is not easily solved which made me enjoy that much more. And I just love the desert!
Retirement is supposed to be relaxing, right? It's not working out that way for Sylvia Thorn. Retired from her job as a judge and at loose ends, she agrees to accompany her mother's group of friends on a Las Vegas trip. The group, who call themselves the Florida Flippers, travel together several times a year. Usually Sylvia's brother, Willie, travels with them, but can't this time, so Sylvia agrees to go with them and ride herd. There's another newcomer to the group, a woman named Patsy. No one seems to know much about her except for the Flipper who invited her, Sandra. Things get off to a rough start when the group gets to the hotel, and a dead body is found in the bathtub in Sandra and Patsy's room. Then Sandra disappears. The group tries to stay on their routine and go to a deserted mine that has been turned into a touring site. The manager there says Sandra has beat them there. Relieved they enter the mine, only to find Sandra's body twisting over a crevice in the mine. Now there are two dead bodies, and mystery galore. It turns out that Sandra's husband is under investigation for hedge fund fraud, operating without Sandra's knowledge in Nevada. Worse, most of the Flippers have invested savings with him. Sylvia steps in to solve the mystery with the help of Patsy and of Willie, who has joined the group after he and Sylvia's father get alarmed when they can't contact the group by cell phone. There are law enforcement officers to dodge, along with a certain FBI agent that seems very interested in Sylvia as well as the crime. Will they solve the mystery before more tragedy occurs? This debut novel stands up very well. It is recommended for mystery readers, especially those who enjoy the "cosy" mystery genre. It appears that this is the start of a series, and I'd be interested in reading more adventures featuring Sylvia and Willie.
In her mind her brother reclusive clairvoyant Willie Grisseljon, a sexagenarian like she is, conned into going with their octogenarian mom and the other Florida Flippers traveling Miami Dolphins' fan club to Laughlin, Nevada. The former judge and retired Fed widow Sylvia Thorn wonders what trouble can the Flippers get into on their trip when they find a corpse in the bathtub of a room shared by Sandra Pringle and non-member Patsy Strump. Sandra turns up missing while the troupe heads off to the Lone Cactus Gold Mine. There they find Sandra's corpse. Willie has a vision of his sister in trouble so with his dad at his side; they race to Nevada while the FBI Agent Damon Falls investigates the goings on at the Mohave County, Arizona mine though he would not mind investigating the much older Sylvia in a more exclusive luxurious locale. As Sylvia tries to keep the Flippers out of trouble, trouble seems to find them; so with Patsy, her sibling, her parents, the other Flippers, and a six foot plus female dynamo, she leads the inquiry (more like a chaotic retreat) into the death of Sandra that forces law enforcement at all levels to share notes. Though over the top of Hoover Dam, THE DESERT HEDGE MURDERS is an amusing amateur sleuth tale in spite of the fact the lead "detective" has experience as a former FBI agent. The story line is as fast as Freda the amazon drives her bike and never slows down even when the seniors are a bit tired. Fans will enjoy this zany Nevada-Arizona whodunit. Harriet Klausner