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, named for the timber rattlers that haunt its rocky slopes, 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.
An award-winning author of books about American history and biographies, Leslie Wheeler now writes two mystery series: the Miranda Lewis Living History Mysteries and the Berkshire Hilltown Mysteries. Titles in the Living History series are: Murder at Plimoth Plantation, Murder at Gettysburg, and Murder at Spouters Point. The Berkshire Hilltown Mysteries debuted with Rattlesnake Hill. Her mystery short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Day of the Dark, Stories of Eclipse and The Best New England Crime Stories anthologies, published by Level Best Books, where she was a co-editor/publisher for six years. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, she is Speakers Bureau Coordinator for the New England Chapter of SinC. Leslie divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Berkshires, where she does much of her writing in a house overlooking a pond.