An IndieBRAG Medallion Honoree, Chanticleer 2013 CLUE finalist, and bookbzz 2015 Prize Writer finalist. A biking and camping trip to southeastern Minnesota turns into double trouble for Frannie Shoemaker and her friends as she deals with a canoeing mishap and a couple of bodies. Strange happenings in the campground, the nearby nature learning center, and an old power plant complicate the suspect pool and Frannie tries to stay out of it–really–but what can she do? After all, she is only curious, but sometimes it isn’t just cats who have trouble with that!
Targeted Age Group:: adults
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The setting is based on the Root River canoeing and bike trail in Southeast Minnesota. An old abandoned power plant stands on the edge of the Root and just looks like the perfect place for a murder.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Frannie Shoemaker, her husband and friends are an ongoing cast of characters in this series. They all qualify as senior citizens and are mostly retired. I wanted them to be ‘active seniors’ and not stereotypes. I started with general personality types and researched those types, then added a few twists.
Nancy entered the opening and gaped at the busted floor and ceiling, bristling with twisted beams.
“Looks like maybe this is far as we go,” she said.
“No, look! There’s a stairway here,” Donna said. She was the last one in and stood in the open doorway pointing down to the right. The stairs were cement and looked sturdy, so she started down hugging the wall. Frannie looked at the others, shrugged and went after her. Ben and Nancy followed. When they reached the lower level, they looked around at the large rusted machinery filling the center of the room and debris on the floor. Sunlit trees could be glimpsed through the window openings, but a deep gloomy chill pervaded the room.
“I’ll bet there’s a great view of the river from those windows,” Donna said, picking her way through the clutter. Frannie was nervous about letting Donna lead; they would be lucky if they didn’t end up hauling her out by a medevac helicopter.
Donna only tripped once, and managed to make her way pretty quickly to the end of the machinery. She looked back at them, saying, “At least the floor is solid here,” and rounded the corner.
She stopped. She gasped for breath and made a mewling sound.
The others halted too, looking at each other in confusion. Donna hadn’t fallen; she stood frozen in place, staring at the floor in front of her.
“Is the floor gone?” Ben asked from behind Frannie.
Donna looked back again, her face colorless. She shook her head.
“There’s two bodies.”
About the Author:
Karen Musser Nortman is the author of the Frannie Shoemaker Campground cozy mystery series, all of which are indieBRAGMedallion honorees. Karen was a secondary social studies teacher in the West Liberty, Iowa, Community Schools for 22 years and a test developer and senior test associate with the ACT WorkKeys testing program for 18 years. In retirement, she has combined an early love, fiction writing, with the Nortmans’ avocation, RV camping. The Nortmans camp regularly through the spring, summer, and fall in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri with friends and enjoy exploring the local attractions as well as hiking, cooking, and biking. The Frannie Shoemaker series tweeks their real life adventures with a touch of murder thrown in.
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