The Case of the Peculiar Inheritance
Autumn 1899 — Colorado
Witty and irascible Rose McKenzie tackles Denver’s criminal cases with a woman’s intuition and a loaded Smith and Wesson tucked in her skirt pocket.
Eager for adventure beyond her scientific experiments, Rose accepts her uncle’s challenge to become Denver’s first female private detective. When a wealthy woman employs her to track down a burglar, Rose zealously applies her unique investigative talents to prove she can handle any job. After two more home invasions turn violent, Rose races to find the perpetrator before another innocent shows up on a slab at the city morgue.
With the stakes raised, Rose employs the help of her friend, the attractive Dr. Taylor Whitman, to lure the perpetrator out of hiding—with Rose as the bait. What Rose fails to foresee is the complexity of the crime, involving more than one perpetrator tasked with silencing her. Will her cunning be enough to unravel the clues before it’s too late?
Step into Denver’s bustling city streets at the turn of the century with Rose McKenzie, a spirited private investigator and a woman brave enough to undertake any case.
Don’t miss The Case of the Peculiar Inheritance, a stand-alone novel in the delightfully entertaining McKenzie Sisters Mystery series.
What Readers Say
"This intrepid heroine kept me guessing till the end and made me laugh out loud! Rose is the epitome of the perfect heroine that I love to follow. She’s colorful, amusing, ingenious, and brilliant. I loved the setting Colorado 1899 and the atmosphere with a delightful blend of humor and adventure. The story grabbed me right from the first page and kept me guessing! It’s one of the best western mysteries I have read lately! It’s well written, suspenseful, and fast-paced!" —Nicole L. for Books & Benches, Top Pick
"This book was so good! It's well written and full of action, drama, suspense, and a mystery to solve. It is full of twists and turns and will keep you guessing until the end. Once you start reading this book you can't put it down, you just have to know what happens next."
—Goodreads review, 5 stars
"I loved the main characters in this book. They were charming and believable, with interesting (and some quirky) personalities. The book is reminiscent of the TV series Miss Scarlett and The Duke on PBS, with a strong central female lead and a potential love interest. The story is set in Denver in the 1890s, a time of rapid changes, which are captured in the story. The historical perspective of the times added interest for me. The story itself had twists and turns and kept me guessing until the very end - the very best kind of mystery!"
—Amazon review, 5 stars
"What a fantastic book! It was hard to put down, you wanted to find out the next clue that Rose was thinking. She was witty, smart, sounds beautiful and funny. She kept me on my toes. Well written book with great details. Samantha St.Claire- great job! I loved it."
—Amazon review, 5 stars
Denver, Colorado 1899
The explosion was small compared to her previous miscalculations, blowing out only one window of the study and merely scorching the hem of the damask drapes covering it. Miss Rose McKenzie and her housekeeper, Mrs. Constance Pennyworth, quickly extinguished the subsequent fire. The housekeeper tore down the damaged drapes and threw them on the remnants of Rose’s ruined experiment.
After she raised the window sashes to give the cloud of acrid smoke somewhere to go besides their lungs, she collapsed on the stool across from Rose. The housekeeper fanned her face with her soot-covered apron and grumbled, “Well now, what have you learned from that experiment, Miss Rose? I surely hope it was worth the expense of a broken window and two rather costly drapes.”
Rose pulled a pencil from the mass of auburn curls pinned high on her head and scribbled notes on the still-smoking clipboard. “Reduce the potassium chloride to magnesium ratio.”
Mrs. Pennyworth pushed herself to her feet with a small grunt and heaved a sigh of surprising force for a woman so small in stature. “I came upstairs to ask if you wanted me to bring your breakfast up. If you recall, you didn’t eat your supper last night.”
Rose tapped the pencil against the clipboard and surveyed the disheveled state of the laboratory. “I suppose I should eat downstairs this morning.” Mrs. Pennyworth's scowl transformed into an expression of concern.
She rounded the table with impressive speed for a woman who’d seen more than a half-century of birthdays come and go. She grasped Rose’s face in her two calloused hands and leaned in for closer inspection. “Why, you’re bleeding!” This time she expressed her opinion with a disapproving cluck of her tongue. “Miss Rose, you are going to do yourself in one day with all this experimenting.” She blew another ponderous breath. “I’m going to ring Dr. Whitman. That might need stitches.”
Rose drew the back of her hand to dab at her temple, surprised to feel the sticky evidence of Mrs. Pennyworth’s pronouncement. “Hmm. I would have expected more blood from a head wound.” She rose quickly from her stool and stepped to the wall mirror, inspecting her forehead with sharp interest. “It’s a clean cut. It might even develop into a quite colorful bruise. You’re right, Mrs. Pennyworth, I should probably have it tended to.” Rose shook small shards of glass from her lab apron and observed brightly, “I’ve never had stitches. I’m most interested in the experience.”
As her housekeeper stormed off, the exasperated blow from her lips sent a good portion of smoke out the open windows. “I’ll give the doctor a call and set another place for breakfast.”
“Oh, did I forget to tell you? We’re going to the museum today. There’s an exhibit on the embalming techniques of Egyptian mummies, which promises to be interesting.”
“I approve of your company, but to my way of thinking, you’ve a morbid fascination with death.” Mrs. Pennyworth harrumphed as she left the room, her footsteps hammering down the staircase.
End of Excerpt
Excerpt © Samantha St. Claire