Today, Marilyn sits down with Deputy Temple Crabtree of Bear Creek to try and discover why this quiet, little community has had its share of murders.
I am interviewing
Deputy Tempe Crabtree, the resident deputy of the mountain community of Bear
Creek and its surroundings. My first question to Tempe is Bear Creek seems to
have an unusual amount of murders for such a small town. Cabot Cover Syndrome
perhaps? What do you think is the cause?
Deputy Crabtree: (Laughing) Maybe it’s
the water. Bear Creek used to be fairly quiet. Now, many people have moved to
our area from the big Southern California cities and I think they may have
brought their life-styles and troubles with them. All I know, whatever the
cause, I’ve been kept busy. Used to be I spent most of my time arresting drunk
drivers, helping cowboys shoo their wandering cattle off the road and
arbitrating disturbances—and once in a while working natural disasters like
fires and floods.
What is the biggest
difference about police work in your county than other places?
Deputy Crabtree: I’m not merely a
deputy sheriff but also a deputy coroner and can pronounce someone dead. I
don’t have to wait for the coroner. However, if there is any suspicion that the
death might not be from natural causes I’ll secure the crime scene as much as
possible and call in the major crime detectives and the crime scene
I know that you’re
Native American and wondered if this fact has any adverse or positive effects
on your job as a deputy.
Deputy Crabtree: I’m quite happy being
called an Indian because that’s how I think of myself. Whenever there is a
crime on the reservation or one involving Indians, the detectives I work with
the most always enlist my aid. They seem to think that other Indians will
reveal more to me than to them. What they fail to understand is that because I
didn’t grow up on the rez they don’t put much faith in me either.
I’ve heard that sometimes
you use Native American mysticism to help you solve a crime.
Deputy Crabtree: That’s true. I’ve
called back the dead—which had an unusual side effect. I now get unexpected
visitations from dead people. Unfortunately, they are never as helpful as I
might hope. I am not an expert with Indian spiritualism. I turn to two of my
friends when it seems that it might help, Nick Two John, the owner of the
Springville Inn, and a Shaman named Doretha. Both have given me guidance many
Isn’t it true that
you’re married to a Christian preacher? What does he think about your job and
your dabbling in all this supernatural stuff?
Deputy Crabtree: I am so blessed to
have a husband who loves me though he doesn’t always like what I have to do. He
is the pastor of the Bear Creek Community Church. One thing about Hutch, I can
always count on him. Sometimes he even goes on calls with me, and he’s a great
help with people who are grieving.
I know you have a
son. Do you think he’ll follow in your footsteps and go into law enforcement?
Deputy Crabtree: Absolutely not. Blair
has wanted to be a firefighter since he was a kid. He started hanging around
the fire station from the time he was 16. He took all the classes they offered,
cleaned the fire engines, and rolled hoses. He even went out on calls before he
was old enough to be a legal volunteer. He’s going to college now and majoring
in Fire Science.
What do you like best
about your job?
Deputy Tempe Crabtree: First, being
able to help people. Second, I love when I can solve a puzzle. That’s what a
murder is, you know, a puzzle. It’s a matter of putting together the pieces of
who, how, what and why to find out the answer.
Thank you so much,
Deputy, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions.
Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s
investigation of the murder of two close friends is complicated when
relentless rain turns Bear Creek into a raging river. Homes are inundated and a
mud slide blocks the only road out of Bear Creek stranding many—including the
person who leaves comments on the most blogs will have his/her name used for a
character in my next book—can choose if you want it in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree
mystery or a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel.
Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award
winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Raging Water from
Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime
novel us No Bells, the forth from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of
EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on
the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and follow her blog
Marilyn borrows a lot
from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the
I know there are some
people who like to read a series in order, but let me reassure you that every
book is complete. Though the characters grow through each book, the crime is
always solved. Here is the order of the books for anyone who wants to know:
Deadly Trail, Deadly Omen, Unequally Yoked, Intervention, Wing Beat, Calling
the Dead, Judgment Fire, Kindred Spirits, Dispel the Mist, Invisible Path,
Bears With Us, Raging Water.
Labels: cozy, giveaway, marilyn meredith, mystery, temple crabetree, writing