Author: Jo A. Hiestand
Narrator: Steve Hart
Length: 8 hours 32 minutes
Series: The McLaren Mysteries, Book 3
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Released: Nov. 30, 2019
Janet Ennis tragically died five years ago in what the police labeled an accidental fire. But Janet’s mother, Nora, believes it to be murder and arson. And she’s hoping ex-cop Michael McLaren can prove it quickly, for she’s losing her memory to dementia. As McLaren pokes through the case details, he becomes emotionally involved with the dead woman. Yet, Janet isn’t the only person who threatens his mental well-being. A series of arsons on his own property hint that he’s upset someone connected with this case. Motives for Janet’s murder rise like the smoky tendrils of a fire. And motive aside, the murder scene seems a bit too pat: a drought-stricken landscape eager to lap up flames and a conveniently locked door barring Janet’s escape. Will McLaren solve the case while Nora can still comprehend the resolution, or will Harvester’s plans see McLaren’s career go up in smoke?
Tunes Selected by Jo A. Hiestand
- Never Leave My Side” -- it’s an original song. I wrote the lyrics and Lola Hennicke wrote the music. It’s out on a single-song CD with her as vocalist and pianist. Also have a drummer and bassist on the song. The song is a sort of 1940s torch song about unrequited love, which fits the story because the murder victim was an up-and-coming torch song/blues singer. I needed an original song to go with the book, and this is the product.
- Chopin Nocturnes
- “The Very Thought of You” - I love this song. It seemed particularly appropriate for “Shadow in the Smoke” because McLaren is beginning to become enamored of the murder victim, Janet Ennis.
- “Nut Brown Maid” - a British folksong that again links McLaren to Janet.
- Any of Eddy Duchin’s slower songs, like ‘Lights Out’ or ‘When a Woman Loves a Man’ or ‘As Time Goes By.’ That style fits perfectly with the story.
- “Short Grass” by the great Canadian folksingers Ian & Sylvia. McLaren’s thinking about his own folkgroup, wondering why Sylvia didn’t play autoharp on the song. I added that because in my own group in the 1970s I played autoharp on the song and I thought it went very well. I added that reference as a sort of ‘in’ joke to the story.
- “Time Is Winding Up” by Ginny Hawker and Carol Elizabeth Jones -- the sentiment portrayed what was going in the story at that point. McLare’s getting closer to discovering the killer’s identity.
- “Green Fields” by the 1960s folkgroup The Brothers Four. It’s a slower paced song and laments that the woman the singer loves is gone. It mirrors McLaren’s growing feelings for Janet, his lament that she’s gone. The song, though, talks about the woman returning to the singer; McLaren might realize Janet can’t return, but the sentiments are the same for him.