Dr. Erica Merrill series

Medical mysteries with a twist

 Writing as Anne Barton, the sleuth in my Dr. Erica Merrill mysteries is a young woman veterinarian. So her knowledge of animal diseases and drugs, along with some basic knowledge of human medicine, provides clues to her interest in murders as well as her help in solving them. There are three novels in this series. In order they are:

             anne-b-book-cover-till-hell-freezes-over  Till Hell Freezes Over

            anne-b-book-cover-a-switch-in-time  A Switch In Time

            book_cov_catandmouse  Cat and Mouse

There is a theme that runs through all three novels, but each is a stand-alone mystery.

Erica is a recent graduate of the veterinary school at Washington State University and is trying to establish a practice in her hometown, a small northern Idaho county seat. She becomes reacquainted with a high school boyfriend, Clay Caldwell, who is now a deputy sheriff with a college degree in police science. When she becomes involved in the investigation of murders, she encounters resistance from several directions. Her boyfriend, Clay, is sceptical, her powerful father interfering, and some of the citizens of the small town antagonistic. Her veterinary practice suffers as a result. When she comes up with the solutions to the mysteries, she tries to be sure that Clay and his boss, sheriff Pete Torgeson, get the credit, since the sheriff’s position is dependent upon the voters, and Clay’s job is dependent on Torgeson being re-elected.

Till Hell Freezes Over is a variant of the locked room puzzle. There is one set of tracks in the snow leading to and from the cabin of a man found dead of a gunshot wound, who was known to be alive when the snow began to fall. The reader knows that these tracks were made by a deadbeat neighbour who discovered the body, but Erica doesn’t think he did it and sets out to solve the murder herself to prove her point and establish herself as a person in her own right.

In A Switch In Time, a wealthy widow is poisoned by a medication Erica dispensed for the family dog. Everyone connected with the household has a motive (money), but only the nine-year-old granddaughter has both means and opportunity. Erica does not think that the girl, though she is a brat, would deliberately kill her beloved grandmother. But she wonders whether the girl’s father could have persuaded her to do it.

In Cat and Mouse, a woman is shot dead while looking for her dog in a woodlot below her house. Erica and Clay think the woman was not the intended victim. When another attempt at murder goes awry, the sheriff’s office has two crimes with no suspects and no idea who was supposed to have been murdered. In a grisly game of cat and mouse, the killer tries to trap the victim, who evades the traps, until Erica nearly sets off still another one.

You can learn more about these and my other mysteries at my Anne Barton website.

In my next post, I’ll tell you about my Robin Carruthers series, featuring a female flight school operator and Anglican Church member.

Anne Barton (aka) Carolyn Dale

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