This year, 1968, looked so promising at first. I married my college boyfriend David. He’s kind, smart, handsome…and taller than me. That’s a real plus.
Unfortunately, today I can’t see him because he’s in jail. And if that’s not bad enough already, he’s in jail in a foreign country.
OK, OK, so we’ve only moved to Canada…but we Americans aren’t supposed to feel any culture shock up here in Canada. Ha! Not true. I’ve got news for you. Canada is not the 51st state.
Now, please, don’t get the wrong idea about me. Just because the man I married became a draft resister, don’t think I’m a hippie, or anything like that. Really, I’m just a good Texas girl from a small town who followed my mother’s advice—to get married and settle down, do what your husband tells you. Mother simply never dreamed I’d end up living in such a cold climate, in a strange place. Canada.
I’m so homesick. I miss my family and friends back in Texas. And I’m scared. So very scared. They say the Mounties always get their man…and the Mounties now have got my husband.
They’re sure David murdered another draft resister. But I know he didn’t do it. After all, we came to Canada because David was against killing—against all killing—even in the war in Vietnam.
Today I’m setting out to prove my husband isn’t the killer. I’m nosey, curious, and had some training from the CIA. My handler, “Mr. Smith,” was sorry to see me leave the program. He warned I might not be happy and said he’d keep the door open for me, in case I ever wanted to return. Smith says the Agency needs my Russian language skills.
Shhh, please don’t tell David. He doesn’t know about this part of my life. I don’t think he would approve.
Here’s the strangest thing about this murder case. I was the one who found the body—literally fell over it, in a church basement. Yes, me. And it turns out the corpse was the draft-resisting son of a United States Senator. That’s why the Mounties moved so fast to jail my poor David. The senator called the prime minister of Canada and demanded the killer be caught, fast.
Now everyone is satisfied the murderer is in jail—everyone but me, that is.
So now I’m on a mission…even though I’m alone, homesick, scared…and only 22 years old…I have to prove David’s innocence. I’m his only hope.
I’m Austin Starr, and I’m hunting for a brutal killer. Wish me luck.
Austin Starr appears in the mystery Desolation Row by Kay Kendall which is published by Stairway Press of Seattle.
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Meet the author
Kay Kendall set her debut novel, Desolation Row—An Austin Starr Mystery, in 1968. The Vietnam War backdrop illuminates reluctant courage and desperate love when a world teeters on chaos. Kay’s next mystery, Rainy Day Women (2015) finds amateur sleuth Austin Starr trying to prove a friend didn’t murder women’s liberation activists in Seattle and Vancouver. Kay is an award-winning international PR executive living in Texas with her Canadian husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. Terribly allergic to bunnies, she loves them anyway! Her book titles show she’s a Bob Dylan buff too. Kay was a 2014 Silver Falchion Award Finalists for Attending Authors at this year Killer Nashville.