Synopsis of The Black Angels

The well respected Judge Daniel Adams is murdered in the mid-1950s Midwest, seemingly by his daughter Carrie.  High police officials circumvent their own investigators to have her committed to the Elm Hill Psychiatric Hospital for Women, instead of being arrested.  However, Carol Mason, Elm Hill’s Director of Nursing, immediately spots several clues which indicate that Carrie may be innocent and that people in the hospital are involved in framing her.  Thus, she works to solve the murder and uncover Elm Hill’s dark secrets with an informal team of associates who call themselves the “Black Angels” because of the black rainwear that several of them wore when they brought Carrie to the hospital.

At first, their investigation turns up a surprisingly large variety of suspicious people at Elm Hill, including a doctor who signs questionable orders, several abusive attendants, a vicious nurses’ aide, a patient who tried to murder one of the state’s leading politicians, and several businessmen who are trying to steal from the hospital.  Unfortunately, none of these people and their schemes initially appear to be linked directly to the Adams’ murder.  Gradually, however, the Black Angels uncover a conspiracy of sex and greed that explains the murder of Judge Adams and the framing of his daughter.  Their efforts culminate in a night of discovery and danger for Nurse Mason and Andy Russell, a university student who is her temporary assistant, in Elm Hill’s Violent Ward and Electro-Shock Theatre.

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Synopsis of A Strait Jacket for Sarah

A Strait Jacket for Sarah is a sequel to The Black Angels (All Things that Matter Press, 2015) that is set two months later, August 1955, at the Elm Hill Psychiatric Hospital for Women.  A new crisis arises when a nurse is caught sneaking out of a mysterious tunnel under the hospital.  She escapes, however, before she can be interrogated.  The investigation of her escape leads to the arrest of two other nurses and strongly suggests a new criminal plot to take over Elm Hill, involving shady businessmen, the city’s underworld, and a shadowy doctor who wants to replace the Hospital Director.  As a result, Carol Mason, the Director of Nursing, reconstitutes an informal alliance of Black Angels to defend the hospital.  The escaped nurse is recaptured, setting off new suspicions, the implication of policewoman Sarah Harker in the plot, a murder to protect the conspiracy, a nurses’ war over a patient that may have broader implications, and a decoy operation to take a prostitute who may know too much for her own good into custody.  Ultimately, the case is resolved in a deadly confrontation in one of Elm Hill’s sinister towers.

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I have thoroughly enjoyed readying the first 4 chapters of your mystery!! Once I started reading, I did not want to stop. You are a very detailed and intriguing writer! I’m on the edge of my seat awaiting what will happen next. This is good news, since I know that’s exactly what you want the reader to feel while reading a mystery.  I love your characters and the title, along with the idea of the “Black Angels,” is very creative.  I love reading mysteries, but usually have a hard time solving them. For you to be able to write one is even more special!

Thank you so much for sharing your book with me so far. I look forward to being able to read the final product once it’s published!!!!

Christy Tanner ‘11

Development Coordinator-School of Nursing, Auburn University Office of Development