Most everyone’s heard of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. But as venerable as these early twentieth century icons are, other masterful sleuths exist with a mystery to solve, not in London, but in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Sherman Howells is an accomplished actor known for his character roles in regional theater. Ronald Watson, technically retired from the international spy game, serves as the stage manager for all of Howells’s productions.
In a mountain town known more for its access to nature than big city sophistication, they use a community theater’s production of Oliver! to hide their true reason for coming to these backwoods. A baron with ties to Transylvanian royalty has hired the two men for a missing person’s case, but he insists on a face-to-face meeting to explain the details.
The clues are subtle and somewhat conflicting. Howells’s dressing room is filled with milkweed and butterflies. Their contact is murdered at a local wildlife refuge. An assassination plot on one of the actors is discovered.
But who are the villains here? Howells’s keen intelligence and Watson’s attention to detail will reveal all, at least in the end.
All proceeds from the sales of this illustrated e-book go to the Friends of Cherry Valley NWR, a citizen support group for Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge (CVNWR) in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. They coordinate with CV’s administration to provide assistance for the wide variety of programs offered at the refuge, including vital communications on relevant issues. Programs are temporarily limited to due COVID pandemic concerns, but will resume as soon as they are allowed.
On personal note, the CVNWR has served as a sanctuary for me during this last difficult year. Walking the old golf cart trails, birding and breathing the clean air have helped me maintain my sanity when masking and limited social interactions were the norm.
A special thanks to all those who contributed photographs for this project. Their initials are in the caption of each of their photos, and their names can be found in the Acknowledgements section at the end of the book.