cover image Mesa Verde Victim: A National Park Mystery

Mesa Verde Victim: A National Park Mystery

Scott Graham. Torrey House, $15.95 trade paper (220p) ISBN 978-1-948814-23-2

Graham’s pleasing fifth National Park mystery (after 2019’s Arches Enemy) opens in 1891 Mesa Verde, Colo., where a Swedish explorer has been engaging in an unauthorized dig and a 16-year-old boy working for the Swede is murdered and buried by the killer at the dig site. In the present, archeologist Chuck Bender’s longtime friend and dig partner, Barney Keller, is found shot to death in the alley behind Chuck’s house in Durango, Colo. The only clue is an old postcard in Barney’s hand that was stolen from Chuck’s personal files. Chuck and his family, including his wife, two teenage stepdaughters, and brother-in-law, wind up embarking on a hike through dangerous terrain in search of Barney’s killer. The discovery of a body ties the story of the 1891 murder to a 21st-century quest for valuable Native American artifacts. Agreeable characters and an easy-to-follow plot are enhanced by beautiful landscape descriptions and intriguing local lore. Fans of straightforward regional mysteries will be rewarded. (Aug.)