A Murder in Passing
In Asheville, North Carolina, the Blackman & Robertson Detective Agency faces a disturbing reality - no clients. Sam Blackman finds inactivity intolerable. So when partner Nakayla Robertson suggests a mushroom hunt on the site of an historic, freed-slave commune called The Kingdom of the Happy Land, Sam reluctantly agrees. When he stumbles across a skeleton, his adventure mushrooms into a case of murder. But it isn't his case. He has no client, and the local authorities tell him to butt out. Then Marsha Montgomery comes to the office asking Sam and Nakayla to investigate a burglary at her mother's home. Someone stole a rifle and a photograph of Marsha's mother, grandmother, and great grandmother taken in 1932 by renowned photographer Doris Ulmann. The site of the photograph is The Kingdom of the Happy Land. The date of the burglary, 1967. Marsha's visit is no coincidence. Sam's being played. But why? When Marsha's eighty-five-year-old mother Lucille is arrested for murder, Sam has his answer and his case. Is the skeleton that of Jimmy Lang, Marsha's white father and her mother's lover, who disappeared in 1967 right after interracial couples were allowed to marry in North Carolina? Jimmy's brother says no. Jimmy left to seek his fortune after Lucille rejected his marriage proposal. But others stood to gain from his disappearance. A veil of betrayal and deceit hides a killer desperate to protect a dark secret, and no one, not even Sam, is safe from the deadly consequences of a murder in passing.