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Rattlesnake Hill

It’s November in the Berkshires, a dreary time of dwindling light when the tourists have fled along with the last gasp of fall foliage. So when a stranger shows up in the sleepy hilltown of New Nottingham and starts asking questions, the locals don’t exactly roll out the welcome wagon.

Bostonian Kathryn Stinson is on a deeply personal quest to solve a family mystery: the identity of a nameless beauty in an old photograph an ancestor brought with him to California over a century ago. But, as Kathryn quickly discovers, the hills possess a host of dark secrets – both ancient and new – that can only be revealed at the price of danger and even death.

Her suspicious neighbors on Rattlesnake Hill become openly hostile when Kathryn starts seeking answers to a more recent mystery: the murder of Diana Farley, who once occupied the house Kathryn is now renting. Was it Diana’s husband, who killed her to keep her from divorcing him, or her lover, Earl Barker, a backwoods charmer and leading member of a wild clan known for their violent tempers?

When Kathryn plunges into a passionate affair with Earl, she puts herself on a collision course with past and present. She must find out if Earl killed Diana, or risk becoming a victim herself.


“Not all snakes are reptiles . . . Rattlesnake Hill is a riveting tale of past and present, innocence and evil, that kept me turning the pages far into the night.”

—Barbara Ross, Agatha-nominated author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries

“Strong characterization with a believable, surprise-filled plot and a voice reminiscent of Sharyn McCrumb in her Ballad series.”

—Denise Dietz, USA Today bestselling author

“Great suspense, a strong and interesting female lead, spare but beautiful writing, and an excellent sense of place (rural Western Massachusetts) . . . a real treasure.”

—Sharon Healy-Yang, NIEA finalist author of Bait and Switch and Letter from a Dead Man

“The author of the “Miranda Lewis Living History” mysteries (Murder at Spouters Point) launches an atmospheric series set in the Berkshires. Her vivid descriptions in this intricately plotted novel will remind readers of Sharyn McCrumb’s Appalachian-set tales or Phyllis A. Whitney’s romantic suspense novels with their strong sense of place.”

—Lesa Holstine in a starred review, Library Journal, February 1, 2018

“Leslie Wheeler has written a taut romantic thriller which mixes past and present with a menacing atmosphere, believable characters, and a fast-moving plot.”

—Susan Santengelo, Suspense Magazine, February, 2018

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