Murder by Ancient Design
Five Star, Deb 2009, $25.95
In Texas the Nickleberry Museum board is selecting a new curator amongst four candidates. Ana Parker-Nolan is the acting curator while Mr. Nolan, Professor Stahl, and Dr. Etzui have applied for the position too. Currently the museum prepares for its Aztec exhibit.
High School English teacher Willi Gallagher is on the selecting committee as well as the individual assigned to welcome the candidates; Ana happens to be a close friend. Lately she has received threatening notes, which she has hidden from her Texas Ranger boyfriend Quannah Lassiter as he is busily tracking down three dangerous convicts who escaped from Huntsville. However, Will’s world tumbles further out of control when the ancient shapeshifting Jaguar Clan seem to be seeking something from her. When Ana is hurt in what looks like an accident and murders associated with the curator position occur, Willi, living up to her rep as the “Miss Marple of the Range”, begins inquiries into the Jaguar Clan not understanding these shapeshifters seek a sacrifice to their ancient god Chacmool.
Much of the first quarter of this enjoyable paranormal mystery starts slowly with a focus on the curator selection. Once the audience meets directly or indirectly the cast, the pace accelerates and never slows down as the intrepid heroine struggles to survive the apparent assault of the Jaguar Clan. Willi and the candidates make for a fun tale as they compete for the position while the menacing shapeshifter adds suspense. Fans will enjoy this fine look at a Texas Museum displaying Aztec culture while murder lurks in the shadows.