BSHS grad returns to Bonner to promote book
A Bonner Springs High School graduate will return to her former stomping grounds this weekend to share her new book.
Almost a year ago, Linda Holt Carrell published “Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief,” a mystery novel set in a fictional town in eastern Jackson County, Mo. After reconnecting with some friends in Bonner, including a member of the library board, Carrell, who now lives in Blue Springs, Mo., will have a booksigning at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Bonner Springs City Library, 201 N. Nettleton Ave.
Carrell grew up in the Piper area but ended up completing her last two years of high school at BSHS, graduating in 1961. She said writing a novel wasn’t necessarily a lifelong dream, but something she toyed with as she got older.
“I’m an avid reader, and you finally get to a point where you think ‘I believe I could write one as good as that,’” she said.
Carrell got her feet wet in writing 15 years ago when she began compiling a weekly history column for the Odessan newspaper’s Focus on Oak Grove.
Carrell said she decided she had time to write a novel once she retired, and spent several months writing the book before putting it “away” for a couple of years.
“And then I went back to it and thought, ‘Some of this is kinda good, and some needs a little work,’” she said.
The novel is considered a “cozy” mystery, crime fiction where there is less violence and more humor that takes place in a small community.
“It’s a Sunday School class that solves the mystery,” she said, adding that many of the characters are based on people she knew in one of her own Bible studies. “It was just the interest in those people themselves, because I found them interesting people … The plot just sort of formed itself.”
The main character, Kate McCullough, finds herself a little bored in the small town she has moved to in retirement, until her friend disappears, leading her to solve a 40-year-old mystery.
Carrell said after revising the book, it was accepted for publication by Oklahoma-based Tate Publishing, and it took about another year before the book was published. She has done several book signings since then and has had a positive response.
“It’s a mystery, but it’s got a lot of funny in it, and I’ve got really good feedback,” she said. “Some of it I really didn’t expect; one girl said ‘I couldn’t put it down.’ People identify with the ladies; they find somebody they know or they find themselves sometimes. The ladies are fun. Really and truly, I wrote what I enjoy reading.”
Carell hopes to continue as an author; "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief" is the first in a series she is calling “The Magpie Mysteries.”
“I planned for three in the series, but who knows?” she said.