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DEATH IN MINIATURE, Historical Mystery – Pamela Meyer

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Pamela Meyer 
Historical Mystery

Kate Belli’s Gilded Gotham Mysteries meets Bones in DEATH IN MINIATURE, a 97,000-word mystery set in 1906 Boston. DEATH IN MINIATURE is inspired by the world’s ‘mother of forensics,’ Frances Glessner Lee, and her true-to-life crime-scene miniatures.

1906 Boston. A married heiress, fascinated with making miniatures to solve mysteries, enters the world of criminal investigation by living a double life as an unmarried pathologist. 

Back when suffragettes began to rumble, a farmer hangs dead in his barn. Frances Warden teams up with Boston detective William Leeson to solve the mystery. She makes a detailed, to-scale miniature of the barn, and with it, helps solve the crime. But in the process, she must contend with a newsman intent on uncovering the truth about the woman rumored to be working in the morgue. Meanwhile, another threat to her secrets arises—she’s fallen hard for the stiff and meticulous detective. Too bad she’s married.

When the suspicion she’s being watched materializes into mortal danger, she’s never felt so alone. Everything she ever wanted, everything she never knew she wanted, depends on finding the so-far elusive clues that will turn the case in time to convict the guilty, save the innocent, and keep her both out of the papers—and alive. 

In the tradition of Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell and Sherry Thomas’s Lady Scarlet, DEATH IN MINIATURE sets our heroine on a twisty path uncoiling a mystery as she finds her own love story along the way. 

DEATH IN MINIATURE is envisioned as the first in a series. Book two, DEATH IN MINIATURE—PINK BATHROOM, is in progress.

Prose sample:
“Convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.”
― Frances Glessner Lee, Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
Chapter 1: Once Upon a Hardscrabble Farm 
(June 1906)
  With her fine shoes muddied on this warm morning, Frances stepped into the threshold of the weathered old barn. Inside, the eerily floating body of the farmer materialized as her eyes adjusted to the dim, and the thin rope of the noose he hung from came into focus. Underneath the farmer, a glowing beam of sunrise pierced through the back window, illuminating Detective William Leeson, a man of about thirty. Squatting, with his flashlight peering through the slats of a broken wooden crate under the body, he examined the floor intently—very intently. 
  What has he found? Perhaps an insect. 
  She knew that the stages of development of certain insects could indicate the time of death. Or the location where a body might have been and whether it had been moved. And these can lead to identification and finding the actual scene of the crime. Sweet apple carts, how she wished she were the one doing the investigating and yearned to be judged of value to Leeson’s team. 
  This very second, Frances stood merely a heartbeat away from obtaining her dream job as a pathologist, deep in the thick of helping the police solve crimes justly—if she could impress the man currently mesmerized by the floor right in front of her.
  Shaking off her thoughts, she turned to making observations. Neatly piled hay to one side, orderly storage of tools. The noose was rigged up from the barn’s hay hoist, the rope running up through a ceiling pulley then secured to the wall, an overturned pail near the body. As for the wooden crate, the top slats broke inward, the farmer’s feet dangling inside as if collapsed under his weight. But it did not look right to her. 
  “What is it, Detective?” Her voice resonated through the dust-speckled, hay-scented space sounding too much like her twenty-eight-year-old, untested, self. 
  Without averting his eyes, Leeson waved her closer. 
  She crossed the barn floor to join him under the suspended body. Her cheeks burning, she carefully placed a knee down across from him, the crate and dangling legs of the victim between them. All the while, she ensured that her ankle-length skirt did not catch and her position remained that nearly impossible combination of appropriate lady-like comportment and functionality. 
  She glanced through the slats of the crate. “That is peculiar,” she puzzled. Why was the floor wet?
  Their eyes met, and wham, a jolt shot through her in encountering his big brown eyes under those long, dark lashes. Their gaze held too long. 
  “Mm,” Leeson said. 
  “Water from the pail? He dumped it out to stand on it?” 
  “Yes. Very good. But then why the crate?” He rubbed at his forehead. 
  “It seems too high to use for suicide,” she said. “And even if he accidentally fell through the slats, breaking them when he stood on it, he could have gained purchase on the edges to save himself. And further, considering the pail, why use two makeshift stools for the deed?” 

BIO: As a high school forensic science teacher, I discovered inventive ways to solve crimes and Lee’s stunning miniature crime scenes. I am a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America.

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