Fictional Yellowstone -- Adult Mysteries

August 14, 2015 Posted by: Jessi Gerdes, Librarian

Fictional_Yellowstone_Adult_MysteriesEver since Yellowstone was created in 1872, and even before, it has sparked the imagination of writers. Fictional accounts of “Wonderland” have captured the public’s imagination. Whether writing about gruesome murders being committed, romantic relationships blossoming, or cryptozoological creatures roaming, authors have stretched the bounds of imagination using Yellowstone as their backdrop.

A small section of those mysteries include Leslie Ford’s 1947, Old Lover’s Ghost. Leslie Ford was a well-known writer whose work has fallen out of favor because of her inaccurate portrayals of non-white characters. This book is part of the Col. John Primrose series narrated by Mrs. Grace Latham. Grace is on a horseback trip with her son and a group of other people, one of whom is a rather annoying young man with more money than brains. It is he who ends up dead, pushed into one of the geysers. 

In 1992, Valerie Wolzien’s fictional housewife, Susan Henshaw, stumbles into her fifth mystery when she visits Yellowstone with her husband and children. They make friends with another family, the Ericksens who are led by a domineering patriarch. It will be no surprise to mystery readers that it is the patriarch who ends up being found dead, near Old Faithful.

The Quiet, a 1994 book by Patrick Billings describes the murders of several young women by a cold and calculating serial killer. This is definitely not a book to read late at night while alone in the house.

Of course, I have to include C.J. Box’s Free Fire (2007) in this list. Joe Pickett is the favorite ranger of many mystery readers and he’s called back into work (on probation) when a man murders four people and then turns himself in. But he can’t be prosecuted because he killed them in the so-called “free-fire zone” of over-lapping jurisdictions. Will Joe be able to bring this man to justice?

Mysteries have many sub-genres including yoga mysteries, quilting mysteries, knitting mysteries, so it should come as no surprise that there is a series of fly-fishing mysteries set in Yellowstone. In this second book from the Yellowstone Murder Mystery Series, Old Faithful Murder, protagonist Parker Williams is set to attend a controversial speech that will change the way we look at the Lewis and Clark Expedition. But the speaker is found dead in front of the Old Faithful Geyser (I’m sensing a theme here…)

One of our favorite books in the Yellowstone Research Library is Alpha Female by April Christofferson. In this book, the park judge (the only national park to have our own federal judge, only five since the first judge was elected in 1894), Annie Peacock, is tired of butting heads with Ranger Will McCarroll. But they’ll have to work together to help save not only the wolves of Yellowstone, but Annie’s kidnapped mother.

Comment below with some of your favorite mysteries set in Yellowstone!

Next post in series: Fictional Yellowstone -- Young Adult/Juvenile Mysteries

books, fiction

5 Comments Comments icon

  1. Barry
    October 03, 2017 at 01:27

    Enjoyed reading "Old Lover's Ghost" by Leslie Ford. Good scenes with park rangers in this mystery novel.

  2. Wade
    September 07, 2017 at 09:24

    Checkout Scott Graham as of 2017 he has three books in his National Park Series (Canyon Sacrifice, Mountain Rampage, and Yellowstone Standoff). If you like CJ Box, Craig Johnson, Tony Hillerman you might find his writting intriguing. After have worked or visited in many National Parks it is apparent Mr Graham does his research.

  3. July 05, 2016 at 10:59

    I just read Poaching Daisies and I LOVE it!

  4. August 18, 2015 at 02:49

    Keep an eye out Amy! We'll be talking about that in one of our future posts. --Jessi

  5. August 17, 2015 at 12:18

    I enjoyed "Letters from Yellowstone" a novel by Diane Smith. Not a mystery, but a great read.

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Last updated: November 30, 2015

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