The Polly Deacon Mysteries
by H. Mel Malton

Down in the Dumps

Shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel!

"A tidy small-town mystery with an engaging rebellious heroine and memorable characters." - The Toronto Star

There is a killer at work in the sleepy village of Cedar Falls. The peaceful order of puppet-maker Polly Deacon's back-to-nature rural life is violently interrupted when she finds her best friend Francy's abusive husband lying dead in the dump with a hole in his chest. What's worse, Francy can't remember what happened the night of the murder.

The cops soon get involved...and in more ways than one, as Polly finds herself falling for hunky officer Mark Becker. Afraid that the police will arrest Francy for the murder and exasperated with their ineptitude, Polly decides that only she can get to the bottom of the mysterious murder.

The situation comes to a head as the outspoken and resourceful Polly begins receiving threats to her life. As she searches for answers, Polly discovers that the puzzle often points inward and she is forced to question her values and her friendships.

But where there is death, there is also grief and passion, and passion in Cedar Falls is never simple, and sometimes, as Polly discovers, it can also be deadly.

288 pages / 5 1/8 x 7 1/2 / ISBN 978-0929141-62-6 / CDN $10.95, U.S. $8.95

Cue the Dead Guy

"The 30-ish Polly is a lively rural eccentric in a community full of the off-beat" - Quill & Quire

In the sequel to Down in the Dumps, Polly finds herself touring as set and puppet designer for a small rural theatre company. When the stage manager mysteriously fails to appear for the first rehearsal, Polly has to step in and do the job. The full-time employment is welcome, but the work is hell.

Dealing with a cast of viciously feuding actors, a mysterious practical joker whose tricks are decidedly gruesome, and a deepening conviction that the stage manager has been murdered, Polly finds her new job more than a little stressful. Where's the stage manager's body? Is somebody really out to get the star of the show? Will the show open with all of the cast still breathing? The local police won't show an interest, so the intrepid Polly investigates alone, unwittingly carrying out the murderer's master plan, which almost ends in curtains for everybody.

312 pages / 5 1/8 x 7 1/2 / ISBN 978-0929141-66-4 / CDN $10.95, U.S. $8.95

Dead Cow in Aisle Three

"another hoot from Canada...for those who like irreverent humor with their murder, you must try Polly Deacon...I'm laughing just writing about it." - Blackbird Mysteries

"Move over Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky and Martha Grimes; make room for Mel Malton...her third mystery demonstrates a polished writing talent that equals any of these mainstream authors. All of her characters are so well drawn that they seem to leap off the pages with such realism that you would expect to meet and greet them on the main street of your town...Boring people do not exist in Polly's world." - The Huntsville Forester

The third Polly Deacon novel finds our heroine in the unlikely (and uncomfortable) job of designing a mascot (Kountry Kow) for a new mega-grocery store, despite vitriolic opposition by local merchants, including her aunt. This is nasty enough, but when allegations of municipal corruption arise concerning the sale of the property on which the store will stand, Polly's sleuthing instincts take over, to the usual chagrin of her sometimes boyfriend, surly Detective Mark Becker. But the scene starts to get really ugly when people start dying - not exactly the family environment that the developers desire!

288 pages/ 5 1/8" x 7 1/2" / ISBN 978-0929141-82-4 / $12.95 CDN, $10.95 U.S.

One Large Coffin to Go

"Malton has a great thing going here...This is an enjoyable book with a good puzzle plot and lots of off-beat humour." - The Globe and Mail

"If you like your mysteries laced with irreverent humour, social satire, and narrated by a feisty, sharp-tongued heroine, One Large Coffin to Go fits the bill." - Northern Life

In the fourth Polly Deacon mystery, pregnant and grumpy, Polly yearns to escape the increasingly annoying advice of family and friends. When an opportunity comes up to travel to England to attend a puppetry conference, she jumps at it, in spite of her "delicate condition". The trouble starts when someone tries to steal her luggage at the airport, and by the time she arrives in Canterbury, she knows someone's stalking her. When another woman is found dead, a mangled puppet nearby, the question arises - is Polly next? Set against the backdrop of the ancient town where Thomas Becket was murdered, this fourth Polly Deacon mystery places puppet-maker Polly in the middle of a pea-souper fog, eluding a persistent thug, refusing to cooperate with the police and desperately trying to stay out of trouble. This is hard to do - when you're sleuthing for two.

288 pages/ 5 1/8" x 7 1/2" / ISBN 978-1894917-01-8 / $12.95 CDN, $10.95 U.S.