A Dangerous Harbor was the result of several years in Ensenada,Mexico aboard our cutter rigged Hylas 47 sailboat. Ensenada is, as most California sailors know, first port of call into Baja, Mexco after San Diego. Most of the town is clustered around the harbor where working marinas like Baja Naval still service American boaters.
I found this sleepy little town to be fascinating, full of endless stories, with a culture that was, and still is, struggling to gain a foothold in the 21st Century. The irony is that I started this book ten years ago, based on a local news story, which at the time was staggering in its brutality. This story is no longer unique as the Mexican Cartels daily murder with impunity. But, just as the cartels are not all that is Mexico, this story isn’t all about them, it’s about what happens when you try to run away from your problems and it’s about Americans, the ones passing through and the ones stuck in A Dangerous Harbor.
A Romantic Sailing Mystery Trilogy
While anxiously awaiting confirmation on the renewal of her TV contract, Leila Hunter Standiford, opts for a sailing vacation on the boat she and her sister co-own in Mexico. But when she impetuously invites family friend and fugitive from American justice, Gabe Alexander as crew, she has no idea of the trouble that will follow.
Now ending her vacation in Puerto Felice, all she wants is to get Gabe off her boat.
Then a beautiful vintage Alden sails into the anchorage, and though she admires the boat and the handsome captain, she doesn't realize the lovely yacht will soon burn to the water line, or that a dead body will be found below, or that the captain, who may or may not be the killer, might also be the man of her dreams.
Bleary-eyed and sleep deprived after a long overnighter into Mexico, solo sailor and SFPD police detective, Katrina Hunter, thinks the mermaid twenty yards behind her thirty-two foot Westsail is nothing more than a sailor’s hallucination but everything she knows about floaters convinces her to turn her boat around for another look.
Now, alone and isolated in the Mexican port’s police station for six hours she’s convinced that reporting a floater to authorities was a mistake. Even the arrival of a handsome, if somewhat dour, Mexican/Italian investigator does nothing to dispel her growing anxiety that she’s about to be charged with the murder.
Chief Inspector, Raul Vignaroli, is as surprised by the attractive solo-sailor as he is to find that she’s a respected member of the San Francisco police force, and after some well-placed phone calls he’s sure that he’s found the perfect partner to help him solve a murder, if not the cure for his broken heart.
"Janet Evanovich meets aero-ag pilots." Emily Anderson for The Kindle Book Review
When a late in the season emergency forces Lalla Bains to accept a greenhorn ag pilot for her dad's cropdusting business, she sighs in relief. After all, he comes highly recommended, his physical is spotless, and with a name like Dewey Treat, what could possibly go wrong?
Then her quirky relatives arrive from Texas and things go south in a hurry: Dewey Treat drops dead, his tearful widow claims he was murdered, clobbers Sherriff Caleb Stone with his own gun, and makes a run for it. Lalla, convinced the widow is innocent, sets out to prove it—against the express wishes of fiancé Caleb Stone.
Feds, local law, suspicious ag-pilots, nutso relatives, and her daddy's new sidekick, Bruce the goat, make life a living hell for Lalla. Will her nosey nature solve the crime and save the day? Or put them all in mortal danger?
Lalla Bains, ex-model and Aero Ag pilot has plenty to keep her busy during another long hot summer in the San Joaquin Valley of California. But when a lovesick, homeless veteran litters her vintage red caddy with paper snowflakes, Lalla figures it's time for a showdown. Unfortunately, someone else has the same idea leaving Lalla with a dying man at her feet and only his strange last words, "The more there is, the less you see," as a clue to his killer.
No one wants her involved in the investigation; certainly not the creepy Modesto Police detective who slithers across her path every chance he gets, and not the local newspaper reporter whose annoying high-jinks cause her to want to set fire to the last three hairs on his head, nor Lalla's love interest, Sheriff Caleb Stone, who can only wish he could rein in Lalla's stubborn enthusiasm for sleuthing.
Meanwhile, nothing stays the same as Lalla watches her tight-wad widowed father becomes a born-again ladies man, a disreputable crop-dusting competitor tries to push her out of business, and last but not least, she gets to worry that the sultry red-head in the police department may be vying for Sheriff Stone's affections.
With nothing but the vaguest of clues to go on, Lalla determines that if nothing else, someone needs to be on the side of this misunderstood vet, and that person will be the exasperating, pushy, tenacious, Ms. Lalla Bains.
"I've been married so many times, they should revoke my license," says NY model, and reluctant pilot Lalla Bains.
Running her dad's Crop-Dusting business in Modesto, California she's hoping to dodge the inevitable fortieth birthday party. But when her trophy red '58 Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask why a widowed piano teacher, who couldn't possibly see beyond the hood ornament, was found strapped in the driver's seat.
Reeling from an interrogation with local homicide, Lalla is determined to extricate herself as a suspect in this strange murder case. Unfortunately, drug running pilots, a cross-dressing convict, a crazy Chihuahua, and the dead woman's hunky nephew throw enough road blocks to keep Lalla neck deep in an investigation that links her family to a twenty-year old murder only she can solve.