Acclaimed mystery writer Nancy Pickard will present a reading and book signing at the Library on Wednesday, June 2 at 7 pm. The event is co-sponsored by The Raven Book Store, which will make copies of the book available for purchase.
Pickard is the author of eighteen popular and critically acclaimed novels, including the Jenny Cain and Marie Lightfoot mystery series and the Eugenia Potter series created by Virginia Rich, as well as dozens of short stories. She is the co-author, with psychologist Lynn Lott, of the non-fiction book Seven Steps on the Writer’s Path. Nancy has won multiple Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and Shamus awards for her short stories and novels. She is a founding member and former president of Sisters In Crime, the international organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers, and a former national board member of the Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Merriam, Kansas.
Pickard's new novel, The Scent of Rain and Lightning, opens twenty-three years after Jody Linder's father, the eldest son of a wealthy and influential ranching family, was murdered in fictional Rose, Kansas, during a night of violent thunderstorms and torrential rain. When his body was found the next morning, his wife was missing and the evidence suggested that she was dead too. Now Jody's uncles have arrived to tell her that Billy Crosby, the man convicted of the crime, has been released from prison and is returning to Rose. Jody soon learns that not everyone in town believes that Billy Crosby committed the murders. As she continues to ask questions, Jody and the other members of the Linder family are forced to confront the past and reevaluate their beliefs about what happened on that fateful night.
The Scent of Rain and Lightning, like Pickard's last book, The Virgin of Small Plains, is set in a fictionalized version of an area of Kansas with distinctive geographical features that figure into the story. In The Scent of Rain and Lightning, Jody is drawn to a rock formation outside of Rose based on the Monument Rocks in Gove County, unique limestone formations millions of years old that rise suddenly out of the prairie, remnants from the time when Kansas was covered by an inland sea. Kansas weather plays a part in both books as well. Like the blizzards and tornado in The Virgin of Small Plains, the thunderstorm on the night of the murder in this book might be considered a character in the story, driving the action and influencing the actions of the other characters.