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Phoebe Ash runs the Quetzal Motel with her father Ricky Lon. It's a quaint inn until one hot summer night when Long John Silver, a tall man in a leg cast and on crutches, pays for a room for Nancy Q, his wife, and him. Phoebe's growing suspicions of the strange Silvers prove well-founded. They are the Earth's first extraterrestrials arriving on a deep space probe from their planet Pfarker.
Murder strikes Tupelo, a nearby small town. Delwood Craven is fatally ambushed behind the hardware store. His traumatized wife Eleanor has little recall of what happened. The hard-nosed Sheriff Bainbridge investigates with the aid of Philip Nostrum, an ex-science fiction author who predicted the ET troubles before he got out of the writing business.
This stylish, quirky, and insightful science fiction tale explores the imperfect scales of justice in two very different worlds--on Earth and on Pfarker--and how one savage murder can disrupt and change the lives of those involved forever.
Older and wiser, P.I. Frank Johnson, in his fifth outing, has moved to the Washington, D.C. suburbs where he's lived with his fianc‚ Dreema Atkins. Times are lean. No new P.I. cases have rolled Frank's way since his return from Ankara, Turkey. His old boss, the flamboyant and wealthy attorney Robert Gatlin is marrying Frank's last client, Lois Mercedes, and Frank has his reasons for giving Lois a wide berth.
Finally, a missing person case comes up when Zani Huang hires Frank to search for her husband Bao. Frank begins his investigation, but things get sticky when he discovers Zani's landlord, Kasper Peres, with a fatal slug in his chest. Then Zani vanishes and with her Frank's alibi when the police decide to charge him for Peres' murder.
So, Frank takes it on the lam with his old bounty hunter pal Gerald Peyton to get some answers real fast. They run up against more dead bodies, and a ruthless gang of bank robbers desperate to find a hidden cache of money. Catastrophic changes rock Frank's world before he can reach any sort of a resolution.
Quiet Anchorage, Virginia, looks like paradise. When she's accused of murdering her fiance, however, the small town is anything but heavenly for Megan Connors. With her fingerprints on the murder weapon, it looks like an open-and-shut case, and Sheriff Fox, running for reelection and anxious to get credit for 'solving' a murder case, intends on ramming through charges and getting a conviction. Megan's only champions are her aging aunts. They don't believe she's guilty, but what can two senior citizens do against the powers of the state and the evidence against Megan?
Isabel and Alma Trumbo may be aging, even worried about memory loss, but they've read just about every mystery published in the past half-century. They're sure they've picked up the skills and knowledge they need to prove Megan's innocence. Starting with the town's gossips and loafers, then scaling up when the sexy ex-girlfriend of one of the Sheriff's deputies joins them, they search for alternate suspects, possible motives, and any evidence that might exonerate their niece.
Similar cozy mysteries are Anne George’s Southern Sisters and Rita Mae Brown’s Merry Minor Herristeen titles (also a series set in Virginia).