Beehives: Mary Coley
Stephen Knapp is enchanted with bees and enjoys protecting them by caring for many different apiaries and making sure that they are in proper order. But, many of us would rather not be near them since their stings do hurt, some are allergic to them and others would rather steer clear. While Jamie Aldrich and Sam Mazie are about to enjoy a vacation in Oklahoma’s Osage Hills State Park, little did they know that their first encounter with the walking trails would bring them smack dab in the middle of a murder that some think was an accident. Stephen is Sam’s cousin and his behavior when he sees his cousin is odd and his manner brash. As the story continues and the ranger requests that they remain for the Sheriff on charge of the investigation what Jamie uncovers on a crumbling wall will rock her world and make her wonder about her life, her mother and what secrets she is hiding. On this wall there is an inscription that Patrick Gallagher loves Mary Jamison who happens to be her mother. Jamie becomes worried and is curious to know more as the investigation is about to bring all of these pieces hoping to fit into one big puzzle.
As the rangers and those in charge question Jamie and Sam facts about the victim come to light. Bridget was a hermit that lived alone in the woods and the ME has determined that she died from an allergic reaction to bees. But, she too loved caring for them and owned her own Apiaries that Jamie would learn were sold to Sam’s cousin tying him into the murder and causing his arrest. Sam and Jamie are supposed to be on this vacation to talk about their upcoming wedding plans but for some reason the discussion never happens. When Jamie calls her mother to question her about Patrick her response is anything but accepting and her words: Leave the past in the Past she hopes will stop her cold. But, not Jamie and this is just the beginning as Bridget lived alone, in fear, a hermit with lots of bees? But, Sam is forced to face the harsh truth about what really happened, takes on Stephen’s defense but someone wants him out of the way. Jamie’s sister calls her and is angry with her calling her mother but she is relentless, manages to go to the cabin where Bridget lived and what she reads in a journal just might be the cause of what happens next. Everyone has their own secrets Sam, Jamie and Stephen things they would rather not share.
Doug Mover is the Park ranger that calls it an accident as both Sam and Jamie state they heard someone scream and then found the body of this hermit. Losing her husband, Ben and Sam his wife Rebecca still plays on their minds and could be the reason why they are taking things at a slower pace. Keen eyes are on this case and the ranger deems this one an accident as a result of a falling tree branch. Odd to say the least that a branch of a tree unless quite thick and heavy could kill someone. As the investigation continues they meet other witnesses and couples that are staying in the Park and are even asked to attend different meetings and tours to learn more about the area, the environment and even the bees. But, a torrential downpour and a meeting they attend leaves Jamie frightened as the cabin she and Sam are staying in is filled with smoke and when the mist becomes clearer Sam and their dog Queenie are both gone. But, where? Is this related to the death of the older woman? Will Jamie find him in time or will it be too late? Is there a tie to her mother’s past, her mother’s boyfriend Patrick that dies and stories about a treasure, ghost stories told at a meeting about someone who died in the Park and the truth might be somewhere in between.
The author’s research and knowledge about bees, beehives is quite extensive creating more interest for readers and explaining why Stephen was so concerned about them, the reasons we need bees, what they provide in nature and for us as well as trying to clear his name with Sam’s help.
A summer park naturalist named Celeste plus a researcher named Aidan Blunt both have ties to Bridget. What he reveals to Jamie sets off alarms as he relates that he knew Bridget, her mother and the connection to what happened when Patrick was killed. Was it really the fact that he was horsing around and fell off of the cliff? What about the money that everyone said he buried there and now Aidan wants it? What happened to Stephen and where is Sam? How do her mother’s boyfriend, Bridget and this ghost story about Patrick and the money linked together?
Gangster’s loot buried somewhere in the park. Ties to Bridget, Mary and even two others that are visitors. When Jamie insists that her mother tells her about what really happened to Patrick, the connection to Aiden the former head ranger and why someone just wanted to get even with Jamie for what her mother did nor did not do, the ending is terrifying as someone winds up dead, another buried alive and a killer that is hiding in plain sight all for the love of greed. Truths, lies, deceits, greed, hate and revenge are just some of the reasons behind the murders. Who killed Bridget and why? Why did the killer target Jamie and Sam? What is the significance of Bee Water and what did the inscription really mean and the poem? What exactly was in the metal box that Bridget hid? Find out when you visit the park, join the nature tour and learn the hidden secrets that have plagued so many for so long. Characters that are well defined vividly portrayed and scenery that is so descriptive you can visualize the park, the cabin and the area and think you are joining the cast on the nature tour and at the CCC lecture. Who is behind the deaths as the author brings out the issue of relationships and which are acceptable to some and which are not.
Beehives: an ending that is explosive, powerful and allows readers to know that Bridget was more than just a hermit and someone who cared for bees. Friendships are lost, lives are gone and one woman who just wanted to live out her years in peace but could not. Beehives: Beware: you don’t want to get stung!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine