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Friday, July 7, 2017


Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her By the Numbers cozy mystery series. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. Learn more about Leeann and her books at her website and blog.  

Hidden Assets – the Story behind the story

Stories are everywhere, if we simply look for them.

I spent some time last year with a friend who had just taken a train ride from Denver to San Francisco. She gave me a lot of insight into how the ride went, about the dining room, the movement of the train, the miles during the night where there isn’t much to see, and how she’d read three books in three days, which was a real treat for her.

I got to thinking how much more exciting the trip would have been if she’d stumbled across a body. Or saw someone being thrown from the train. Okay, I love Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

When I sat down to start writing Hidden Assets, the latest book in my By the Numbers mystery series, I just knew there had to be a train involved somehow.

Except, the bulk of the story takes place at a B&B in Wyoming.

But then I remembered Carly’s second book, There Was a Crooked Man, and how an unrelated mystery happened on their plane ride to New Mexico. So I decided to change it up a bit by making the mystery on the train part of the overall story.

I did some research on train travel, and I’ve been to Wyoming a number of times, so pulling together a mystery set in a small town in rural Wyoming wasn’t too difficult.

Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, visits a friend in Wyoming who is in the midst of a nasty divorce. Her friend thinks her soon-to-be ex is stealing assets and hiding them so he won’t have to split them with her in the divorce, and asks Carly to look into this. When the ex turns up dead, Carly’s friend is suspected. Toss in a body thrown from a train, and Carly is up to her nose in trouble again.

As I said, stories are everywhere. We simply need to look for them and ask the big What If? questions.

Hidden Assets
Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, responds to a call from her friend, Anne, who is in the middle of a nasty divorce, and travels to Wyoming to help find assets Anne thinks her husband has stolen. But the mystery begins before Carly even arrives when she sees a man thrown off a train. Except there’s no body. Husband Mike uncovers an illegal scam in a computer program he has been asked to upgrade, and then Anne is arrested for her ex’s murder. Can Carly figure out what’s going on, and why a strange couple is digging in Anne’s basement? Or will she disappear along with the artwork, coins, and money?

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Angela Adams said...

Enjoyed your post, Leeann. After reading your blurb, your book sounds interesting. Best wishes, and have a great weekend.

Leeann Betts said...

Hi Angela: Thanks for the kind words. There is a sale on at Smashwords.com right now where the first 4 in the series are seriously discounted, if you like ebooks. There are also thousands of other books on sale there,too, but only until July 31.