The germ of the idea for the Grave Sisters Mysteries came in 2022 when I first went to visit the small Ohio town where I now live. It’s a lovely little place by the river that just drips with history. I had never lived in small-town America before and when I decided to move from the mid-sized town in Texas where I had lived for a good number of years, I wanted to settle in a more rural area. My best friend had lived in Ohio for a while and had told me it was a state that respected its history, and I found this little town that seemed to check all the boxes of what I was looking for in a new home and a new town.
I took the sage advice always offered to those looking to move to a new state: Visit the town where you want to live, meet the people, take long walks, and experience the area. I did just that in 2022 and I fell in love with this little place.
I must admit, though, one of the things that astounded me was the town seems to have quite a few mortuaries for its size! Not exactly an encouraging sign for a newcomer. In fact, the street on which I live has a mortuary just a few blocks down – a lovely little Victorian house with an old-fashioned sign outside, clearly a ma and pa kind of establishment with the business on the ground floor and the family living upstairs.
And that got my writer’s mind thinking: What about a series where the sleuth (or sleuths) owned a mortuary in town so their interest in murder was pretty much built into their profession (because you can’t have a murder without a dead body, right?)
Thus, The Grave Sisters Mysteries was born!
Here are more details about this series:
A historical cozy series that features three sisters who run the family-owned Grave Mortuary. The new D.A. in town has a lot to learn about the local community and who better to turn to than the family that makes it their business to know everyone (you might think of it, in a gruesome way, as job security)?
The first book is set in 1921. Right now, the plan is to end the series after World War II.
This series takes place in a small Northern California town (like most of my books) called Gyver (fictional). What makes it unique is that it sits on one side of a river (also fictional) that separates it from the Nevada state line. This geography was inspired by my new town in Ohio with a river that separates it from the state line of the next state.
Another fascinating aspect of this series is the crimes don’t just come from California but from Nevada too. The town of Moony, Nevada is right across from Gyver and the Moony County D.A. works in tandem with the Gyver County D.A. on some cases. So the sisters get involved not only with California crimes but Nevada crimes as well.
The Who (i.e., the main players)
Eve Grave, the eldest of the Grave sisters. Eve pretty much raised her two younger sisters after their parents died suddenly. Shouldering such a responsibility made her wise and cautious. In her early 30s, she’s more a mother to her two sisters than a sister. Like many of the older generation, the accelerated pace of the 1920s Jazz Age leaves her reeling and longing for the slower pace of the world in which she grew up. Her idea of happiness is a gentle, peaceful life in small-town America but even small-town America had been rapidly changing since World War I.
Helena Wright (nee Grave), the middle sister. More than either of her sisters, she picked up the reins of the New Woman a decade earlier and broke barriers that some Gyver people still don’t approve of. She has a scientific (and sometimes calculated) mind. Her interests are the medical and scientific fields, in particular mortuary and forensic science. As a young woman, she headed down to Southern California to attend classes at a mortuary science college but was not allowed to earn a degree or work in the labs (a common thing at that time for women seeking knowledge in male-centric fields). Luckily, she hooked up with an eccentric middle-aged woman named Zadie Hummer whose interest and amateur expertise in these fields and her basement laboratory helped Helena learn her craft.
Violet Grave, the youngest sister, is a mere eighteen years old when the series opens. A Jazz Age enthusiast, Violet defies conventions by throwing herself full force into her flapper identity. Her love of fun and freedom clashes with her eldest sister’s ideas of a more conventional life. Violet is no fool, however, and her intelligence and observations help the sisters solve their cases.
Oliver Clarke, the new D.A. of Gyver County, is one of those warm-hearted but gruff sort of men on the side of law and order. A former San Francisco police detective, why he took the job as district attorney to a small town on the California/Nevada border is a bit of a mystery, especially to his socially ambitious wife. Oliver is the man who realizes Eve’s knowledge of the town and her quiet insights could help him solve the most puzzling cases and it’s mostly through him that the sisters engage in crime solving.
Sheriff Arthur Warner, the Gyver County sheriff. Unlike Sheriff Horatio Hatfield in my Adele Gossling Mysteries series, Sheriff Warner isn’t as pleasant and friendly. He’s not that keen on taking orders from the new D.A. His opinions about women involved in murder cases are better left unstated. But despite his bulldozing and sometimes offensive ways, he’s a serious and effective crime solver and gets the job done.
This series will debut in the spring of 2025. So keep a sharp eye on my website for more details!
But if you really want to be in on this new series, including special excerpts and offers, consider signing up for my newsletter. You’ll get some cool freebies when you do, including a free novella, The Missing Ruby Necklace, from my Adele Gossling Mysteries!