For anyone who enjoys mysteries and the Pacific Northwest, this is a great story—four murders, none by a serial killer but all linked to a beautiful pond in the heart of Bend, and to Sarah Chatham, a successful Portland attorney who thought she was coming to Bend to retire. Are the killers long gone or still in Bend, pretending to be upstanding citizens? Police detective Jim Sorenson thinks one murder was an accident. Can Sarah change his mind?
Set in Bend in 2017 and at Rajneeshpuram, the strangest city ever founded in the Northwest, in 1985, the mystery unfolds against the background of a total solar eclipse that overwhelmed the area with eclipse watchers. The story introduces us to cattle ranchers, triathletes, a local Indian leader, a spiritualist who claims to talk with the dead, and to the wildly corrupt (but astonishingly successful) leaders of a world famous guru’s remote community.
The characters themselves tell the story: Sarah Chatham, the heroine who drives the investigations and is the person most affected by the murders; Jim Sorenson, the police detective determined to see justice done (but at a reasonable cost); Dan and Amy, a young couple helping Sarah who find they have their own connection to a murderer; Richard who may or may not be a murderer but has his own demons to fight; and Pammy Paulsen, who experiences Rajneeshpuram through the eyes of a teenager. At the end of the book the author provides links to photos of settings in the book and to revealing poems written by selected characters.
In The Mirror Pond Murders, when attorney Sarah Chatham is asked to claim, for local Indians, a girl’s skeleton found at the bottom of Mirror Pond, she learns she has a personal connection to the victim of a crime. Sarah is determined to find who is responsible for putting the girl in the water. It won’t be the last death related to Sarah, to Mirror Pond or to Rajneeshpuram — the strangest city ever built in Oregon.
Working with City of Bend Police Detective Jim Sorenson, Sarah enlists an uneven team of friends and strangers, with strengths, weaknesses and fears of their own, to uncover the girl’s story and reveal the alarming truths behind multiple murders.
“Central Oregon is a great place to set mystery stories,” says author Ted Haynes. “The scenery is world-class, the people come from all sorts of backgrounds, and the history of the area has moved rapidly from wilderness to remote lumber town to booming recreational destination. The real-world murder rate is low but the rate of imaginary murders is accelerating.”
It all begins in Ted Haynes’ first murder mystery set in Central Oregon, Suspects. Dan Martinez — an intense young man with no training in detective work and only a limited knowledge of criminal law — finds a widely despised man dying on his back deck in a rural Oregon resort community. To deflect suspicion from himself, the murdered man’s wife, and his own father, Dan searches out a host of people who had reason to kill the man, meanwhile uncovering the victim’s history of fraud, bribery, and extortion. At the same time, Dan is training for an off-road triathlon and wondering where his own father — potentially a suspect — has disappeared. Life gets even more complicated when Dan falls in love with his pretty training partner who may, in fact, be the murdered man’s long-lost daughter.
A third book, The Mt. Bachelor Murders, is in the works.
Ted Haynes is an accomplished author of both history and fiction, focusing on Central Oregon — a part of the country that he and his wife first visited in 1975 and fell in love with. They bought land on the Little Deschutes River and built their dream house there in 2007. Ted is a member of the Deschutes County Historical Society, the Central Oregon Writers Guild and Central Oregon Master Aquatics. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America and is on the founding board of the Waterston Prize for Desert Writing, located in Bend. He has studied creative writing with masters of the craft at Dartmouth College, UC Berkeley and Stanford University.
In addition to the Northwest Murder Mystery series, books by Ted Haynes set in Central Oregon include Vandevert—The Hundred Year History of a Central Oregon Ranch (nonfiction written with Grace Vandevert McNellis) and On the Road from Burns—Stories from Central Oregon (short stories).
Plan to attend a presentation, reading and celebration of the new book by Ted Haynes:
June 28 | 6pm | Roundabout Books | Bend
July 11 | 6pm | Herringbone Books | Redmond
July 20 | 5pm | Sunriver Books & Music | Sunriver
Sign up to attend the Sunriver Books & Music event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 541-593-2525 or stopping by Sunriver Books & Music.
The Mirror Pond Murders will be available in bookstores, in trade paperback and in electronic versions on June 17, and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.