gg

gg

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Ardis Cole Mystery Series in Order of Publication

Welcome, mystery series readers! All books in our Ardis Cole series, set in exotic locations around the world, are standalones, with a complete mystery and resolution in each novel.  You don't have to have to read them in order.  But since many readers prefer to read a series in chronological order, we have made a list of books in the series from the first to the most current release.  So, feel free to start with Book 1, or jump into the middle and find a story or setting that personally interests you.  

Book 1: THE CURSE OF SENMUT


Outside a small village near the Valley of the Kings, archaeologist Ardis Cole arrives in Egypt to help excavate a tomb recently discovered by her mentor, Jane Darvin.  When Jane is murdered, Ardis must assume responsibility for the project. With the help of mysterious Blake Lydon, she must unravel the tomb's mystery--an ancient secret concerning two miniature obelisks of gold hidden by Queen Hatshepsut's love, Senmut, over 2000 years ago.


Nice thrills and chills. The authors have obviously done their archeological homework, and in between all the mysterious goings-on, we learn fascinating details of Hatshepsut's stormy reign. The Egyptology is all there, and it's enjoyable." –Mystery Scene Magazine

...superbly crafted and entertaining mystery adventures..." –Midwest Book Review

Purchase Link: THE CURSE OF SENMUT


Book 2: UNMARKED GRAVE 


Ardis Cole travels to Scotland to do a facial reconstruction on a skull hr friend Bruce McBrier has discovered in the woods outside his ancestral castle.  Because of an ancient ax buried in the skull, Bruce presumes the skull to be a historical relic, possibly the remains of a medieval ancestor murdered in battle.  When Ardis makes the shocking discover that the remains are of a more recent murder, Constable Mark Ridley asks her help in going ahead with the facial reconstruction in hopes the victim can be identified.  But someone is willing to go to great lengths--even murder--to keep the skull's deadly secret.


Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton have effectively collaborated to present a series of superbly crafted and entertaining mystery adventures featuring Ardis Cole, a intelligent, fearless, and persevering young lady who finds herself in the midst of exciting and suspenseful mysteries set in a variety of different locales."    --Midwest Book Review


Purchase Link: UNMARKED GRAVE



Book 3:  THE CRIMSON MASQUERADE


Trouble precedes Ardis Cole to the site of a Han Dynasty tomb in China. Dr. Yong Po, who has asked for her assistance, is being stalked by a person wearing a crimson opera mask. Ardis is concerned when her co-worker, Grant Merlin, fails to arrive at the project, and his ex-wife, Sheri, takes his place. More problems arise when Sheri is attacked on the cliffs by the same masked intruder. Ardis' search for the tomb of emperor Sun Yan leads to ancient intrigue surrounding a captive princess, referred to in his poetry as the "Lady of White Jade." As Ardis delves deeper into the tomb's secret, a centuries old crime of passion is eerily replayed in the present. 

The Crimson Masquerade is so brilliant and thrilling that it will leave readers bereft when it ends. Author Stephanie Parker McKean

Purchase Link:  THE CRIMSON MASQUERADE



Book 4:  MURDER AND THE MONALET RUBY


When Ardis Cole goes to South Dakota to handle a bequest of pioneer and Sioux artifacts left to the University of Chicago by the wealthy private collector, Anthony LaMoine, she finds unexpected trouble—a stolen ruby, a present-day murder, and a skeleton in the cellar! As a teenager after a battle with his father, Anthony’s adopted son had run away from home. Find the son, the housekeeper tells her, and you’ll find the thief. But is the son really the guilty party? And is the mysterious writer-historian, Seldon Drake, the man he claims to be—or is he an impostor?

Suspense and so easy to read!  Judith Peterson

Purchase Link: MURDER AND THE MONALET RUBY



BOOK 5: THE DESTRUCTION OF NEVA


Ardis Cole is summoned to Russia to help Grant Merlin’s friend, Nikolai Savik, locate a priceless marble statue called Neva. The life-sized sculpture vanished along with the artist, Nikolai’s uncle Treve Savik, seven years ago. Most people believe Treve destroyed his masterpiece then committed suicide after being jilted by the statue’s beautiful model, Varina Morinsky. On the way to the Savik mansion Ardis is nearly pushed to her death in the Moscow subway. Once in St. Petersburg instead of finding the sculpture, Ardis discovers the grave of a murder victim, buried for seven years. The search for the missing sculpture becomes a hunt for a dangerous killer--one who will not hesitate to strike again.

Great reads!  Betty Gratz


Purchase Link: THE DESTRUCTION OF NEVA



 BOOK 6: KILLER OF EAGLES


Ardis Cole braves a sudden blizzard on her way to the isolated Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation to help her friend, Ella White Owl, locate her missing niece. Carrie, an art teacher at Shadow Pass High School, appears to have simply vanished without a trace. Medicine man Jim Walks Alone shares with Ardis his disturbing vision about a “killer of eagles,” which to the Sioux represents an evil person, and a destroyer of all that is good.

Ardis soon finds the girl’s wrecked car deep in the canyon, a dead man who was shot through the head was behind the wheel. But there is no sign of Carrie. Ardis’ search for Carrie leads her on a hunt for a rare relic stolen from the local church, a wild chase through the badlands, and a face-to-face confrontation with the “killer of eagles.”

Killer of a Story! Author Stephanie Parker McKean

Purchase Link:  KILLER OF EAGLES



BOOK 7: THE PIRATED EMERALD

Ardis reached out for the glowing jewel encased in its thick, crude mounting of gold. She gazed incredulously at the ring, unable to believe that she held in her hand the famous pirated Sea Star Emerald. 

 When Ardis’ colleague, Red Michaels, is found crushed to death by a fallen beam in the wreck of the 1858 clipper ship, the Fortune, she flies to Galveston to take over his search for the ship’s treasures and to head the Fortune exhibit at the local museum. Known to be aboard the sunken ship is a notorious jewel once stolen by the infamous pirate, Jean Lafitte, the Sea Star Emerald. Oliver Harrington, believing the gem to be the lost Harrington heirloom, traveled to America to purchase the Sea Star from an auction in New Orleans and was returning to England when the Fortune sank. Ardis soon discovers that modern-day treasure hunters are determined to beat her to the jewel. After she retrieves the gem from the ocean’s depths, the Sea Star Emerald is pirated again. Before the exhibit opens, Ardis is arrested for the crime. She suspects that she has been skillfully set up by the Harrington family. Or is she facing some unknown thief who has been relentlessly pursuing the jewel? With time running out, she must face a vicious killer and prove her innocence.

Our latest release!

Purchase Link:  THE PIRATED EMERALD


COMING SOON IN EBOOK AND PAPERBACK: CONSIDER ME DEAD--SET IN AUSTRALIA


All of our books are available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and as paperbacks through Amazon.  The series is also available on audio.

Also check out the two titles in our  Arla Vaughn Pre-Columbian Treasures Series, which concentrates on early Mesoamerican artifacts.  The two books in the series are The Mayan Mask of Death and The Lost City of the Condor.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Pirated Emerald--New Release in the Ardis Cole Series


We are delighted to introduce the sixth book in the Ardis Cole series, The Pirated Emerald.  Set in the United States, in Galveston, Texas, The Pirated Emerald is the story of a fabulous gem that was stolen twice. 
In this story Ardis does a little scuba diving and meets with danger and adventure. 
When Ardis Cole's colleague, Red Michaels, meets with a fatal accident, Ardis volunteeers to take over his project.  Ardis flies to Galveston, Texas, where in 1858 the old clipper ship, the Fortune, wrecked in a hurricane.
Known to be aboard the sunken ship is a fabulous gem, once stolen by the infamous pirate, Jean Lafitte--the Sea Star Emerald.  Ardis soon discovers that modern-day treasure hunters are determined to beat her to the jewel.
After Ardis retrieves the gem from the ocean's depths, the Sea Star Emerald is pirated again!  This time, Ardis finds herself accused of the theft. With time running out, hounded by a relentless sheriff, Ardis must face a vicious killer in order to prove her innocence.
All of our books in the series contain a complete mystery, so they don't necessarily have to be read in order.  They are set in locations around the world, from China, Scotland, Egypt, to the United States. We hope you will enjoy some of Ardis' adventures with her. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book One: Queen Hatshepsut and Egypt

Traveling was much easier when we first set out to see the world.  In the 90s the biggest fear was a long flight delay or missing luggage.  We didn’t even know how fortunate we were to see the sights we saw in Egypt, such as the Luxor Museum and the golden head of King Tutankhamen.

Finding a plot for a novel is much like a reporter’s search for a strong news story. What glorious tales we heard in Egypt, of pharaohs from Ramses to Tutankhamen.  But what struck us most was Queen Hatshepsut’s history, steeped in mystery and intrigue.  When we began to learn more about Queen Hatshepsut, the only woman pharaoh to rule Egypt, we knew we had our story!

By Szilas (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


About Queen Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut was the only woman to rule Egypt as pharaoh. She is depicted here in masculine headdress of the phararoh.  Her step-son, Tutmose III, was in line to be the next pharaoh, but Queen Hatshepsut’s claim to be of divine birth, daughter of Amon Re, caused her to be hailed as the next pharaoh in his place.  Her twenty-year reign was filled with peace and prosperity.





Deir el Bahari
© Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons

A visit to Deir el Bahrari showed us her eye for beauty.  Past the little village of Quarna, through a haze of brilliant sunlight, the huge mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut blends in harmony with the towering, rock cliff behind it.  The sprawling structure with slender, Greek like columns looked amazingly light and graceful.  Its glory gardens were filled with flowers, and myrrh trees lined the courtyard. The temple was constructed by Hatshepsut’s architect , scribe, and rumored lover, Senmut. 

The Vengeance of Tutmose III

Smashed and broken statues lay where an avenue of sphinxes once led up to the monument.  When Tutmose III regained the throne, he vented his wrath on all of the queen’s projects and obliterated Queen Hatshepsut's name wherever it appeared and replaced it with his own.  But Queen Hatshepsut's marvelous accomplishments were impossible to totally destroy and remain in the stately ruins of Del er Bahari.


The Curse of Senmut: A Fictional Tale Based on History

Our novel begins outside a small village near the Valley of the Kings, where archaeologist Ardis Cole has been summoned by her mentor, Jane Darvin, to help excavate a recently discovered tomb--that might be the tomb of Senmut.
Soon Ardis assumes responsibility for the project.  With the help of mysterious Blake Lydon, she must unravel the tomb’s mystery—an ancient secret concerning two miniature obelisks of gold hidden by Queen Hatshepsut’s love, Senmut, over 2000 years ago.  As Ardis uncovers the ancient mystery, she finds herself drawn into a modern action tale of hatred, murder, and revenge.


So, how much of the background in our story is true?  According to history, Queen Hatshepsut had a scribe named Senmut (also spelled Senenmut or Senmout).  For her he promised to guild two giant obelisks in solid gold.  A trip was made to the land of Punt where great treasures, some never seen before, were brought back for his queen.

Were the two lovers?  That was rumored, but no one knows for sure.  It is true that he built a secret tomb within the queen’s monument so he could be buried with her.  If they were in love, because of their roles in society, they could never marry. 

Most fiction is based on truth, but there is a place where they part company.  And that is where our adventure begins--with a newly discovered tomb and Ardis Cole and Blake Lydon as they unravel the secrets of Queen Hatshepsut’s gold.

The Curse of Senmut is available on Kindle and as a paperback. It is also available on audible.com.

          

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Ardis Cole Series: Archaeological Mysteries Around the Globe

We have always been fascinated with archaeology and history and how the past and present sometimes intertwine.  Each Ardis Cole mystery is a story within a story, one dealing with an intrigue in the present, the other dealing with a mystery, murder, or love triangle from the ancient past.  In each instance the past and present coincide.  For Ardis Cole, unraveling the past is to unlock the truth of today. Below is a brief summary of each book in the series and location. 

Book 1:  The Curse of Senmut  (Egypt)

 Archaeologist Ardis Cole is summoned to Egypt by Professor Jane Darvin to help excavate a minor tomb.  When she encounters a murder, Ardis with the help of her associate, Blake Lydon, unravels an ancient mystery concerning two obelisks of gold hidden by Queen Hatshepsut’s love, Senmut, over 2,000 years ago.  As Ardis uncovers the ancient mystery she finds herself entwined in a modern tale of intrigue, revenge and murder.



Book 2: Unmarked Grave (Scotland)




Ardis travels to Scotland to do a facial reconstruction on a skull historian Bruce McBrier believes to be the remains of Sir William, a medieval ancestor murdered in battle.  When Ardis makes the shocking discovery that the remains are of a more recent murder, with the help of Mark Ridley, she goes ahead with the facial reconstruction in hopes the victim can be identified.  But someone is willing to go to great lengths to keep the skull’s deadly secret.


Ardis flies to China at the request of elderly Dr. Yong Po, to help him locate a Han dynasty cave tomb believed to contain a priceless white jade statue.  Her American associate, Grant Merlin, fails to join her.  Instead Grant’s ex-wife, Sheri, appears to take his place on the project, then is attacked on the cliffs by someone wearing a crimson opera mask.  Past meets the present when a centuries old “crime of passion” is eerily replayed on the research team.


Book 4:  Murder andthe Monalet Ruby  (USA)

While handling a bequest of pioneer and Sioux artifacts in South Dakota, Ardis  inherits a load of trouble- a stolen ruby, an heir who has disappeared, and a skeleton in the cellar!  Ardis learns that benefactor, Anthony LaMoine, had a runaway adopted son . “Find the son,” the housekeeper tells her, “and you’ll find the thief.”  But is the son really the guilty party?  And is mysterious writer-historian, Seldon Drake, really the man he claims to be—or an impostor?

 Grant Merlin summons Ardis to Russia to help his friend locate a priceless marble statue, Neva. The life-sized sculpture vanished seven years ago along with the artist, Treve Savik.  Most believe Treve destroyed his masterpiece then committed suicide after being jilted by the statue’s beautiful model.  When Ardis discovers the grave of a murder victim, buried for seven years, the search for the missing sculpture turns into a hunt for a dangerous killer.



We find our inspiration by traveling, especially to archeological areas.  We personally  visit every setting for our novels and do careful research.

 The next book in the series, Killer of Eagles, will be published this year from Rowe Publishing.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

NEW RELEASE KILLER OF EAGLES COMING SOON

A new Ardis Cole mystery, KILLER OF EAGLES, will be out in a few months from Rowe Publishing.  We are excited to have the sixth book in our series available in ebook and also in print. 

In this book, Ardis braves a sudden blizzard on her way to the isolated Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to  help her friend Ella White Owl locate her missing niece.  Carrie, and art  teacher at Shadow Pass High School appear to have simply vanished without a trace.  Medicine man Jim Walks-Alone shares with Ardis his disturbing vision about a "killer of eagles", which to the Sioux represents an evil person, and a destroyer of all that is good.

Ardis soon finds the girl's wrecked car deep in the canyon, a dead man who was shot through the head was behind the wheel  But there is no sign of Carrie.  Ardis' search for Carrie leads her on a hunt for a rare relic stolen from the local church, a wild chase through the badlands, and a face-to-face confrontation with the "killer of eagles."

Our inspiration for the book came from Loretta's experiences teaching on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and fascinating research about treasures hidden by the Spaniards.