“I always told you to be careful what you wish for, Maggie dear,” Mom said with a wicked little smile as she handed me the keys to the front door of the big old house in Berkeley where I grew up. Ever since my father died I had wanted her to move down closer to me, into a place that would be easier for her to manage alone. I’ll be damned if, after a couple of years of nudging and nagging, I didn’t get my way. Having won, I had no right to complain, then, when Mom kissed me on the cheek and, with a happy wave, pulled out of the driveway behind the truck carrying the few things she was taking with her, left me to clear out the rest of the house.
So, there I was, with a film project in limbo, a lovely new lover four-hundred miles away in Los Angeles, and a home of my own to look after, spending a July week—maybe two—alone in the house where I had been only an occasional visitor for many years, stirring up dust and occasional ghosts buried among the family’s accumulated treasures and detritus as I cleared everything out for the next tenant, the university’s housing office; the University of California, Berkeley, where my father had taught, was only a few blocks away.
Homes are private places. You may think you know everything there is to know about your family and closest friends, but you never know what secrets they might harbor. A year earlier, when I learned the truth about the messy circumstances of my birth, I began to understand that my nearest and dearest had a genius for keeping secrets. Maybe I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was when, while clearing out my father’s desk, I discovered that he had locked away potential evidence in a brutal unsolved murder that thirty years ago rocked our close-knit community, and had said nothing to the police investigators.
I am an investigative filmmaker. I ask questions for a living. As I began looking into the case, it quickly became clear there were people in that seemingly tranquil university town who would go to lethal lengths to prevent the truth from coming out.
I found out the hard way that going home again can be deadly.
You can read more about Maggie in The Color of Light, the ninth book in the “Maggie MacGowen” mystery series, published by Perseverance Press. The first book in the series is Telling Lies. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.
Meet the author
WENDY HORNSBY is the Edgar Award-winning author of the Maggie MacGowen and Kate and Tejeda mysteries and many short stories. The early Maggie MacGowen books are again available via Mysteriouspress.com and are available in most E-book formats. Her most recent book, is The Color of Light.
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