In the Rafters is a mystery/romance that takes place in central Kentucky horse country. It is the first of six Millicent/Lute mysteries that I have already written. Who knows how many more are in the future?
This novel introduces Millicent Mason and Lute Girard, not only to the reader, but also to each other. In the process of trying to solve the theft of a thoroughbred mare and her foal from the farm of her fellow breeder and neighbor, Simeon Stanton, the effervescent Millicent is led to suspect the handsome Lute Girard, himself the owner of standard bred horses, which he races at the famous harness racing track, The Red Mile, in Lexington and similar venues throughout the country.
Lute is the owner of a beautiful horse farm and is reputedly independently wealthy. He makes a poor suspect. But nonetheless he may be guilty. However, he may innocent. You’ll have to read In the Rafters to find the solution to this puzzle. I can’t say more. Why give away the mystery?
As Millicent is trying to make sense of the thoroughbred horse thefts, her good friend, neighbor and fellow English professor at EKU, Jimmy Joyce Carstairs, is brutally run down by a hit and run driver on the country lane, where Millicent, Simeon and he have farms. Outraged by this atrocity, Millicent, professor of mystery literature and fan of mystery fiction from childhood, investigates and soon determines that J J’s death was no accident.
Millicent now has two mysteries on her agenda, as well as her teaching duties and her breeding farm to supervise. However, due to her lifelong desire to solve a real mystery and her friendship with Simeon and J J, she cannot ignore the facts in front of her.
Hence it becomes fortunate that Millicent and Lute have one significant thing in common–the love of horses. They just naturally gravitate to camaraderie. Lute joins Millicent in the effort to try to solve the brutal murder. In the process, Millicent finds herself in extreme jeopardy, “in the rafters” of an old tobacco barn.
This is only the first of many crimes the two and their friends take on in novels of the future. They are the cozy mystery personified, with amateur detectives always ready to get involved, ironically set in the supposedly bucolic bluegrass of Kentucky. If you enjoy mystery, romance, and horses, you’ll really enjoy this series of Millicent/Lute adventures. Incidentally all are titled with a prepositional phrase, from the first, In the Rafters, to the sixth, After the Allegro Express.