Dear Kids and Other Readers,
Now that my Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries Books 1 and 2 are published, the question I’m now being asked is, when is Book 3 coming out, and what’s it about?
Thanks for asking! Book 3 is Walnut Street: Phantom Rider, and it’s ready for a turn in the publication line. The expected release date will be late 2021.
So, what’s this next adventure all about, anyway? Here you go:
Objects of value have been disappearing from the Mayfield family’s rural California horse ranch and youth saddle club for kids with emotional issues. In town on Walnut Street at a welcome barbecue for the newest club members, the four thirteen-year-old Botanic Hill detectives—Moki Kalani, Rani Kumar, and twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt—also guests, are hired to investigate.
Adding to the excitement is that somewhere on the forty-acre ranch just outside the mountain town of Cody is a long-lost gold mine staked in 1875 by thirteen-year-old Ben Mayfield’s five-times great-grandfather, Pappy Mayfield. Pappy was one of California’s first Black deputy United States marshals turned gold miner. (His character is modeled after the first real-life Black deputy United States marshal, Bass Reeves.)
That afternoon following the party, a nervous Ben reveals his frightening secret to the detectives. At the ranch, he alone has seem a threatening black-clad figure on horseback whom he calls the Phantom Rider. Who is this mysterious person? Is he responsible for the ranch thefts? Why are objects disappearing? Is he somehow connected with the lost gold mine, and the ghost town of Rainbow Flatts? The detectives aim to find out.
Walnut Street: Phantom Rider is a family-friendly read harking to the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries but vastly updated with four diverse, tech-savvy close friends turned sleuths, and other characters of color. In addition to a challenging mystery on horseback, the Botanic Hill detectives offer middle grade readers, and special education students in grades 3-12, valuable role models in how friendship, kindness, perseverance, and teamwork can help anyone solve complex problems to benefit many.
So, get a clue, Readers. Watch for Walnut Street: Phantom Rider to debut in late 2021. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll enjoy Books 1 and 2. And please remember. They’ll make great holiday gifts!