Bones in the Back Forty by Marty Eberhardt

A Southwest mystery set in Arizona and New Mexico with plenty of regional appeal and nice profusion of food, place and culture that will appeal to fans of the genre.

Bones in the Back Forty by Marty Eberhardt –Artemisia TP 15.95 –
Artemisia Publishing
Paperback | $15.95
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There are many mysteries that qualify to be included in the category “cozy”. This one falls more into “comfy”, in my opinion. It has suspense, bad guys, an appealing and persistent protagonist and a cast of colorful and interesting side characters. There is some lurking peril that hangs behind the action fulfilling that requirement of all such tales, but it never approaches the “butterfly in the stomach, white-knuckle” kind of thing that some readers find disturbing. It’s a nice change from the sometimes bloody and graphic type of violence that populates much of the genre.


The setting is the southwest of Arizona and New Mexico and a wealth of information about plants, places and food are peppered throughout the narrative. In spite of the lack of hardboiled detective action the story is engaging and maintains a brisk pace that keeps the reader’s interest firmly on the page. Altogether it’s a nice work that provides an enjoyable read.


Bea Rivers, a volunteer coordinator for a botanic garden in Tucson is startled when the long-time gardener/handyman for the site calls her to a remote spot on the border of the facility where he has found a buried human skeleton. This, along with the recent murder of the founder’s wife and his own subsequent demise begins a series of events that escalate into a full-blown homicide investigation and a rehash of past events pointing to infidelity, illegal artifact sales, forgery, death threats and intimidation, along with the suspicious hit-and-run attack on the director of the gardens. Bea is thrust into the position of taking up the slack in the organization while simultaneously trying to keep her small children insulated from the negative impact of the events and a budding problematic romance. A little of everything, nicely stitched together with simple straightforward prose that keeps the whole thing moving along.