Preston Holtry is an avid traveler, reader, alpine skier, and novelist. He has a BA degree in English from the Virginia Military Institute and a graduate degree from Boston University. A career army officer, he served twice in Vietnam in addition to a variety of other infantry and intelligence-related assignments in Germany, England, and the United States. He retired from the Army after 27 years of active duty in the rank of colonel at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Following his army career he worked as a Program and Project Manager for various companies in Sierra Vista, Arizona working in the field of operational test and evaluation. He volunteers one day a week at the local VA hospital. In the winter when not volunteering or writing, you can find him at Sunrise Ski Resort in the White Mountains. He lives with his wife, Judith, in Oro Valley, Arizona.
Death in Emily 3, introducing the character Morgan Westphal, is the first in a four-book Westphal series of period mysteries he has written. Emily was published by Moonshine Cove Publishing in Oct, 2013.
Death in Emily 3
Preston Holtry’s debut mystery novel, Death in Emily 3 (282 pages, Amazon paperback $13.95, Kindle $5.99; Moonshine Cove Publishing) introduces Morgan Westphal, former Rough Rider, town sheriff, and now a private investigator. The novel’s setting is the mining town of Adobe Wells, Arizona in 1915 during a time of violent conflict between mine owners and mining unions.
When Morgan Westphal receives a telegram informing him Frank Shaw, his volatile younger half-brother, has been jailed for murder in Adobe Wells and needs help, he thinks Frank just might be guilty. Against his better judgment, Morgan goes to Adobe Wells and finds his brother accused of killing Phillip Hardesty in Tunnel 3 of the Emily Mine. Morgan questions whether the mangled body of the murdered man in the town morgue is even Hardesty. By the time Morgan discovers who was killed in Tunnel 3 and why, he will risk his life in the Emily Mine, become embroiled in a turbulent labor strike, and have a deadly confrontation with a sadistic deputy marshal.
Emily is the first in a four-book series of Westphal mysteries. Volume 2, A Troublesome Affair, is scheduled for publication by Moonshine Cove in the spring of 2014. http/presholtry.webs.com
A Troublesome Affair
The year is 1916 when Morgan Westphal, a private investigator, is asked to investigate the rape and attempted murder of Sophia Parmenter, the wife of an army major assigned to Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The accused is Rueben LeCroix, a highly decorated Negro stable sergeant assigned to the 10th Cavalry Regiment. As a civilian, Morgan at first has no wish to become involved in what he believes is a purely army affair until he is told LeCroix is the man who saved his life in Cuba during the Spanish American War. Morgan’s investigation has barely started when the regiment is suddenly deployed to Mexico as part of the Punitive Expedition in pursuit of Pancho Villa. By the time Morgan solves the crime, he will make a long, solitary, and dangerous horseback ride deep into Mexico, risk his life during a deadly encounter with Mexican bandits, and re-examine his own feelings concerning racial equality. A Troublesome Affair is a mystery with intricately connected characters caught up in a turbulent current of racial tension and armed conflict between the United States and Mexico.
Published In September 2014, A Troublesome Affair is the second volume of a four-book Morgan Westphal period-mystery series. Copies of both books are available on Amazon and B&N in both paperback and kindle as well as the Moonshine Cove website.
Seal of Confession
A man has been convicted and hanged in Santa Fe for the brutal murder of Carlotta Ridgefield. Father Juan Salas, the victim’s confessor, knows the executed man was innocent and wants Morgan Westphal to find who killed her. Morgan is reluctant to take on a case the police consider closed. When he does agree to investigate, he is challenged by the priest’s refusal to say what he knows for fear he will violate the sanctity of the confessional and church dogma regarding the Seal of Confession.
Set in 1916 during a period of western railroad expansion and disputed Spanish land grants, Seal of Confession is a multi-layered plot with seemingly unrelated threads that are tied to both the murder and the execution.