Stone Butterfly: A Charlie Moon Mystery by James D. DossStone Butterfly: A Charlie Moon Mystery by James D. Doss

Stone Butterfly: A Charlie Moon Mystery

byJames D. Doss, James D Doss

Mass Market Paperback | October 2, 2007

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Daisy Perika is no stranger to eerie dreams, but when she has a nightmare, lives could be at stake. Convinced that her visions of a wisp-thin girl with blood dripping from her hands are omens, the old woman calls on her nephew, Charlie Moon.

A part-time tribal investigator and full-time Colorado rancher, Moon is often skeptical of his aunt's mystical ways. And this time, much as he wants to believe her, Daisy just can't get a clear vision of the girl's face. Moon is ready to give up.until he gets a call about Sarah Frank.

An Ute-Papago orphan that fits Daisy's vision, Sarah seems to be involved in a very real murder. But by the time Moon crosses the border to investigate, he's too late: Not only has Sarah vanished with a one-of-a-kind family heirloom, but Moon isn't the only ones on her trail.

James D. Doss is the author of the Charlie Moon mysteries, including A Dead Man's Tale and The Widow's Revenge. Two of the Moon books were named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly. Originally from Kentucky, he divides his time between Los Alamos and Taos, New Mexico.
Title:Stone Butterfly: A Charlie Moon MysteryFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 6.8 × 4.25 × 1.02 inPublished:October 2, 2007Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312936656

ISBN - 13:9780312936655

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Read from the Book

Chapter 1 As on all their weekly treks to town, where butter was bartered for those few necessities not produced on the Nestor farm, mother, daughter, and dog marched single file along a narrow pathway through chigger-infested blackberry bushes and broad-leafed poison pokeweed. The trail snaked along the slippery bank of the Flint River for nearly a mile before intersecting the gravel road to Sulphur Springs. It was not yet nine o’clock, and the heavy atmosphere was already steamy-hot. “Try to keep up, Daff.”“Yes’m.” Daphne scratched at an itchy sore on her elbow.Without a glance over her shoulder, she added: “And stop pickin’ at that scab!”“Yes’m.” Granny Nestor says that all mommas has eyes in the backs of their heads. The child squinted hard to see the spot. They must be under her hair.Momma rolled her visible eyes. Lord, I don’t know why I even bother—it just goes in one ear and out the other. She cast a nervous glance at the brackish, slow-moving waters. This place is alive with cottonmouths and copperheads and God only knows what else. What Else was approaching her left ear. The target of the assault heard the tiny engine whine, felt the fat black mosquito land on her neck. Well, I ain’t gonna put a bucket down to smack you, so you might as well go ahead and get it over with. The stab came swiftly, was followed by a victorious drumroll of thunder. Momma frowned at a somber shroud of low-hanging cloud. There’s rain in that; enough to soak us to the skin. She quickened her pace. “Get a move on!”“Yes’m.” It seemed that no matter how fast Daphne’s chubby legs chugged along, she was always a dozen steps behind. This, she reasoned, was mainly on account of Momma walks too fast and My legs is too short for me to keep up. But there was more to it than that; the inquisitive child often felt compelled to stop and pick up a pearly fragment of mussel shell, or pluck a pretty brown-eyed Susan, or make an ugly face at a daddy longlegs. She was a busy little pilgrim.The young mother shuddered at a sinister wriggle-rustling in the grass. “Watch out where you’re steppin’, Daff. And don’t touch nothin’—no fuzzy worms, no ugly-bugs—you hear me?”“Yes’m.” But even as she spoke, the child spotted a temptation. Oh! Pretty—pretty—pretty! Pink as a wild rose, glistening with pearly dew, it glittered like a jewel fallen from heaven. But most striking of all, a network of crimson veins webbed its translucent wings. Daphne poked her big toe at the exquisite apparition, expecting it to fly away. It did not. Poor thingy—you must be sick. The child squatted, gently picked it up, whispered: “I’ll take you home to Granny Nestor—she’ll make you all well.” She thought it best not to mention that Granny’s prescription for every ailment—be it toothache, dizzy spell, or painful boil—was a tablespoon of castor oil, followed quickly with a soda cracker. With a furtive glance at the back of her mother’s head, the ardent collector slipped this latest acquisition into her apron pocket with an assortment of other treasured objects—like the shiny silver dime Grandpa Nestor had given her for the tent meeting collection plate, a once-lively June bug (recently deceased), and the bloodred Indian arrowhead she had picked up here just last week.Near a lichen-encrusted log, a largemouth bass broke the river’s still surface to take an unwary minnow. Momma just knew it was a cottonmouth that had dropped off a tree branch. She prayed: Please, Lord—fix it so we can live someplace where there ain’t so many snakes and skeeters.The tot bent over to snatch up a small jade-green frog. The thing was clammy-cold in her hand. I think Miss Froggy’s dead. She was about to straighten up when—The hound (who enjoyed such sport) cold-nosed her on the behind.“Eeep!” she yelped, and hurried to catch up with Momma.Heavy with a second child, the nineteen-year-old turned to scowl. “What’ve you been up to, Daff?”“Nothin’, Momma.”“Nothin’ my hind leg!” Momma raised a lard-bucket like she might take a swat at the girl. “After I told you a hunnerd times not to, did you pick up some dead thing and hide it in your apern pocket?”“Oh, no—cross my eyes and hope to die!” Daphne’s left eye focused on the tip of her freckled nose, the right one stared straight at her mother.Momma cringed. “Please Daff—don’t do that.” She added the standard warning: “Someday they’ll stick thataway.”“When they do, I won’t be able to see where I’m a-goin’.” Imitating Grandpa Nestor (who would get up at night without lighting a coal oil lamp), Daphne bounced off a cottonwood trunk. “Oh, Jimminy—what was that I jus’ bumped into—a ellyphant’s leg?”“Now you stop that silliness!” To keep from laughing, Momma called up terrible images of pain and death, which also provided inspiration for a dire warning: “And you’d better start payin’ some attention to what I tell you—you keep on pickin’ up them creepy-crawlies, one of ’em is gonna bite you and you’ll swell up and die!”The eyes uncrossed, an impish smile exposed a too-cute gap in a row of miniature teeth, a chubby hand closed around the stone-cold amphibian in her apron pocket. “I only stopped to look at a little bitsy frog, but she hopped an’ hopped away”—Daphne demonstrated with little arcs of her hand—“and I heard a splish-splash when she jumped inta the river and got et by a great big garfish.” To illustrate how the voracious gar had chomped the frog, the girl clicked her tiny teeth together.Momma shook her head. This child is just like her daddy and all her daddy’s folks from up yonder in Butler County—she can’t open her mouth without lyin’ a blue streak. I wonder what on earth will ever become of her.Quite a lot, as it turned out.In time, plump little Daphne would grow up to be tall and willowy as a Texas sunflower, semi-pretty, and moderately clever.On her sixteenth birthday, she left Alabama for the land of the Shining Mountains, entered the State of Colorado with great expectations, the state of holy matrimony with a Grand Junction banker who collected Burmese star sapphires and died—as she wrote to her mother “. . . on account of being run over by a green International Harvester lumber truck loaded with jack pine pallets.” Daphne wept as Thaddeus Silver was buried in the First Methodist Church cemetery, wore black silk and a downcast expression for eleven months before drifting westerly into Utah and reciting the vows of marriage with Mr. Raymond Oates, who was building up a fine herd of Herefords by burning his brand on other stockmen’s cattle. Each of these marriages produced a son, but sad to say—neither Ben Silver nor Raymond Oates, Jr. would exhibit the least manifestation of brotherly affection. Or even half brotherly affection.• • •This is how the troubles got started that (decades later) would plague Southern Ute Tribal Investigator Charlie Moon, an upright and amiable citizen, and his aunt Daisy Perika, who is anything but. (Amiable and upright, that is.) How does one describe the tribal elder?Conniving is a word that comes to mind.Irascible is another.And then, there is her little eccentricity: Daisy talks to dead people.  Copyright © 2006 by James D. Doss. All rights reserved.

Editorial Reviews

"The chill of Michigan's Upper Peninsula doesn't cool the action in Edgar-winner Hamilton's expertly paced seventh Alex McNight novel.Plot turnarounds and double-crosses ensure a startling conclusion." -Publishers Weekly"Style, pathos, enthusiasm, and humor to spare." -Mystery Scene"A clever plot.will keep readers turning the pages." -Publishers Weekly"A potent brew of crime and Native American spirituality." -Booklist