I recently picked up a copy of Tucson author Nicholas Hazel’s 2009 mystery,”Murder in Mountain Lion Canyon”, while at an art gallery reception at Gallery Row Art Walk (every Thursday at the NE Corner of E. Skyline Drive and N.Campbell).
It’s a fast paced, easy to ready “whodunit” mystery set in a fictitious, up-scale development in the Santa Catalina Mountains of Tucson, with the main characters trying to figure out who committed “murder most foul” in their midst.
“The quiet routines of two couples are interrupted when someone in their circle of acquaintances is cruelly murdered; and then another murder follows as skeletons in many varieties—and even the Aztec Lord of the Underworld, Mictlantecuhtli—revel during the night of the Day of the Dead. What forces of evil have been unleashed in the community that is encroaching on the rugged Mountain Lion Canyon? Above the canyon hovers the scraggly large rock that was named La Roca, the new development in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. A mountain lion stalks the canyon and so do, it seems, human predators.” (from the back jacket)
What’s fun about this book is the Southwest desert setting, with University of Arizona college professors, Tucson developers, artists, and lawyers all involved in the mystery story line. There’s even mention of “Arizona’s white-haired senior senator” in attendance at the opening cocktail party at the developer’s mansion (page 28). The Pima County Sheriff and his deputies also play an active role in the murder investigations.
Author Nicholas Hazel (pseudonym) is a Tucson retired college professor and administrator, so he does know the background of some of the protagonist professors portrayed in this novel. And he does know the Catalina Foothills which he writes about.
Since I enjoy mysteries (mostly Agatha Christie’s) I won’t disclose the ending, or most of the mystery’s complex plot involving the 20 characters. Read the mystery for yourself to find out.
Tucsonans will enjoy this book, and identify a lot of familiar locales.