About My Rose Beecham Mysteries
I’ve always loved reading mysteries and published my first series in 1992, featuring a transplanted American detective, Amanda Valentine. The series caused unexpected ripples in my home country, New Zealand. Not only was Amanda the first senior female detective to take center stage in a New Zealand crime series (women being discouraged from such heady aspirations), but Book One featured a transsexual police informant, Jezebel, who was sympathetically written. Jezebel’s story shone a light on the plight of sex workers in Wellington, the nation’s capital. I duly scandalized my family by writing a feature article on this topic for the country’s largest newspaper, lobbying for the decriminalization of sex workers (a goal finally achieved by Catherine Healy and the NZPC in 2003). My notoriety seemed complete when Book Three in the Amanda Valentine series – Fair Play – was banned in Canada and became part of the Little Sisters legal battle.
Despite the “taint of scandal” surrounding the series, the stories were lightweight. My then-publisher, Naiad Press, preferred mysteries to be romances with investigative window-dressing, a formula that sells as intrigue romance these days. Amanda was a fun character to write and opened doors for me. Research is one of my passions, and as far as possible, I conduct mine first-hand. Thanks to Amanda Valentine, I was invited to attend crime scenes and autopsies, go out on patrol, and to interview remarkable detectives and some convicted felons serving life sentences.
I got bored with writing less-than-mysterious mysteries and sent Amanda riding off into the sunset with her love interest, Debby Daley in Fair Play, ending the series. Ten years later I returned to mystery writing with years of research and a very different kind of book and detective. My Jude Devine series is set in the Four Corners area of Colorado, a location I frequently visit. The first book in the series, Grave Silence, deals with a murder that leads Jude to the FLDS, a polygamist Utah cult that became national news in the USA a couple of years after the book came out. A subplot features a young girl trying to escape that community.
Another ongoing subplot features a risky undercover investigation by Jude into a neo-Nazi cell based in the Four Corners. Jude is also on a personal quest to solve the mystery of her brother Ben’s abduction as a child. Book Four in the series, Ghost Canyon, is a work in progress, one of several I hope to complete over the coming year.
2006 “Goldie” Award Winner
Grave Silence – Jude Devine Series / Book One
A terrified child escapes from a polygamist cult. How is she connected to the gruesome murder Jude is trying to solve?
Montezuma County Sheriff’s detective Jude Devine doesn’t face too many challenges based in remote Paradox Valley, where most of the crime involves hiker assaults, campsite thefts, and cattle rustling. However, when the body of a local teenager shows up with a stake through her heart, Jude finds herself leading an investigation no one wants to touch.
As Jude uncovers the truth about the murder and tries to save a young girl from being forced into a plural marriage, she must decide how much she is willing to risk to see justice done. Further complicating her choices is her torrid entanglement with the golden girl of Southwestern forensic pathology, Dr. Mercy Westmoreland.
“This is not a book where an author spews her views on religion disguised as a novel. FLDS is a cult that does not adhere to any tenets of any religion. Beecham has done a tremendous amount of in-depth research to incorporate these facts into a fictional murder mystery, and the results are an amazing and fascinating book. The writing is tight and fluid. The path to the murder clues grows as the plot moves forward. Beecham strings her readers along cleverly, not releasing us until the final explosive ending.” Just About Write
Sleep of Reason – Jude Devine Series / Book Two
When toddler Corban Foley vanishes from his home in the dead of night and a goat’s head left on the front lawn, most of Montezuma County turns out for the search. But nothing is at it seems with this case, and Detective Jude Devine soon finds herself caught up in a small-town soap opera whose players seem more interested in their fifteen minutes of fame than in the fate of little Corban.
With the media snapping at her heels, Jude can barely conduct the investigation let alone have a private life, not that it’s going well. Jude never liked time-sharing Dr. Mercy Westmoreland with English actress Elspeth Harwood, and when Elspeth buys land locally, Jude has to make some choices. The unexpected arrival in town of Chastity Young and her niece Adeline adds a new complication to Jude’s life when she finds herself drawn to Chastity who is far from her usual type.
“Beecham is uncompromising when describing scenes, characters and emotions so that the reader can visualize it all. She does this once again with Sleep of Reason, using an economy of words. Beecham’s writing is tight, fluid, and crisp. We can feel the cold snow and the desolation of the desert when Devine is searching for Corban. We become angry at the despicable adults in Corban’s life that have allowed this to happen. Beecham likes to mix it up for us, never giving us the predictable. She carries the reader along to a point where we are putting together the pieces of the mystery puzzle. Then she introduces a new and disturbing angle and efficiently merges it into the main plot. With a less seasoned author, this additional storyline could be an interruption, but as she takes us in and out of this subplot, we turn the pages even faster so we can see how it corresponds with the overall story. Beecham does not disappoint her readers here.” Just About Write
Place of Exile – Jude Devine Series / Book Three
The Four Corners is the perfect place for people escaping from something, and Sheriff’s Detective Jude Devine is no exception. But Jude can’t afford to dwell on her past—she has too much to think about in the present.
Local benefactor and reclusive millionaire Fabian Maulle has been found murdered. The Aryan Sunrise Stormtroopers are planning a ricin attack on the Telluride Film Festival. The feds have hit town and the sheriff wants Jude to liaise with Aidan Hill, the Special Agent in Charge. But Hill is a straight arrow who thinks Jude is a slacker. Their working relationship is only made worse by a mutual lust neither is willing to acknowledge. Jude is also losing sleep over a friend, Sandy Lane a.k.a.Lonewolf, a former paratrooper stalked by her past. Sandy is planning to assassinate the vice president of the United States, and her determination to carry out her mission, and Jude’s to stop her, draws the two women into a lethal game of cat and mouse.
If all that weren’t enough, Jude faces a personal dilemma when the woman who broke her heart, Dr. Mercy Westmoreland comes looking to renew their on-again, off-again relationship.
“[Beecham] writes a very tight book. There aren’t any wasted scenes and the plot flows very smoothly even though it’s dealing with multiple aspects. One of the strengths of Beecham’s writing is that she is able to convey a great deal of information in a limited number of words… The various themes, instead of conflicting with each other, blend to create a feeling that is very realistic. Actual agents are surely required to deal with multiple cases while handling life’s personal trials just as Jude is. An impressive point about the book, though, is the tremendous amount of research that went into creating the story… The important thing to note about this series is that it isn’t static. Jude isn’t solving the same situation book after book and she’s not always dealing with the same people. New characters drift in and out and new information is revealed that keeps adding to the character of Jude herself. This is the book that explains why Jude has sentenced herself to this place of exile and the personal torment from early in her life that drives what she does today. It’s the perfect set up for the next book.” Just About Write
“The fact that the lesbian mystery niche abounds with overrated, overwritten books makes Rose Beecham’s latest stand out even more. Each volume in this gritty series adds new complexity to her main character, Jude Devine. Jude ranks as one of the most believable and complex lesbian detectives ever created… A richly detailed Southwestern setting, an original plot, and superb writing make for an extremely satisfying read. 5 hard-earned stars.” UnderCovers
Ghost Canyon – Jude Devine Series / Book Four – FORTHCOMING
While searching for a missing coed, Sheriff’s Detective Jude Devine runs into ghosts from her own past.
Spring in the Southwest means wildflowers, canoeing, and an influx of city slickers clambering over the Mesa Verde, awestruck by the Anasazi ruins. To take a break from chasing new leads in her brother Ben’s childhood disappearance, Jude had planned a hiking trip with her friend Chastity Young. But when coed Laura Lacey vanishes from a party of archeology students, leave is cancelled for every officer in Montezuma County.
Jude soon links the case to an unsolved disappearance twenty years earlier and a treasure trove of untested DNA evidence. On the verge of arresting their prime suspect gives them the slip, taking his next victim with him. The two are sighted heading toward Ghost Canyon, and Jude rides out with the posse on a dangerous manhunt.
It’s a race against time, and chasing a ruthless killer through some of the toughest terrain on the planet is not Jude’s only challenge. She’s also trying to figure out if Dr. Mercy Westmoreland means what she says about their future together. With her heart at risk and her life in peril as posse members start vanishing, Jude thinks things can’t get any worse. Then she finds Laura.