By Paula Walter
Betty Maxwell lives in Johnson County on a farm that has been owned by members of the Maxwell family for many generations. Along with keeping up with her family and many hobbies, she publishes a Christian newsletter, “The Scepter,” in addition to being a published author. Her first publication was Psalms for the Soul in 2013.
Maxwell loves mysteries and she decided she would delve into writing a story with a Christian detective at the center of the story. It was then her Daniel James Mysteries series was more than a dream and became a reality. Her first book, “The Homeless Murder Mystery,” grabs the attention of the reader right away as the town of Devanville is slammed with bitter cold weather and an unrelenting snowstorm. Kelly, along with a team of volunteers, is in charge of the local shelter. Despite the frigid temperatures, she makes her way to the warm and cozy building where meals are being prepared for some of the many homeless who live in the town. Once a booming manufacturing area, many of the local residents have seen themselves fall upon hard times as one by one, businesses left the area and out of the country. With no money to pay their mortgages, many lost their homes to foreclosures.
Maxwell’s book, full of vivid details that allow the reader to visualize themselves in the scene she is describing, continues as the readers are introduced to the new and young pastor in the community, Jason King, along with Detective Daniel James. Working a night shift to cover for one of his coworkers, Detective James was thankful that it appeared to be was a quiet and uneventful night as the snow continued to fall. Stepping out for a quick breakfast and some hot coffee as daylight broke, he returned to a hectic precinct buzzing with activity. The body of an older man had been found in a cardboard box behind a trash dumpster. It appeared the man, approximately 75 years old, was using that box for housing. Initial reports indicated he was stabbed in the right kidney.
Maxell does a good job interweaving the story line of the murders along with the personal life of her characters. She is currently working on the next sequel, The Cold Case Murder Mystery. Maxwell is hopeful that one day her murder mystery books will be a television series.
The first two volumes of the Daniel James Mystery series, The Homeless Murder Mystery, along with The Assassin Murder Mystery, can be ordered on www.amazon.com, westbowpress.com, and additionally at Barnes and Nobel bookstores.