Mystery Writer Tackles Cold Case Series

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:

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Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

Cold case mysteries are hot.

As a fan of mysteries, I have always been intrigued with the unsolved cold case. I still remember the chills that would go up and down my spine when I’d pick up a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book to discover that the plot revolved around an unsolved mystery from long ago.

As an adult, I’d wait anxiously every week for Robert Stack to pull me in for an hour of Unsolved Mysteries. Now, I’m able to satisfy my cravings with other cold case enthusiasts via the internet which offers a ton of websites and blogs where amateur and even some professional detectives offer tips and theories in hopes of thawing out cases that have turned to ice.

So it should not be any surprise that I would eventually endeavor to tackle a mystery series that revolves around a cold case squad. The Last Thing She Said is the latest installment in the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries.

“I’m working on the greatest mystery ever,” was the last thing noted mystery novelist Mercedes Livingston said to seven-year-old Chris Matheson before walking out of Hill House Hotel never to be seen again.

For decades, the writer’s fate remained a puzzling mystery until an autographed novel and a letter put a grown-up Chris Matheson on the trail of a cunning killer. With the help of a team of fellow retired law enforcement officers, each a specialist in their own field of investigation, Chris puts a flame to this cold case to uncover what had really happened that night Mercedes Livingston walked out of Hill House Hotel. Watch out! The clues are getting hot!

Frankly, the Chris Matheson cold case series is not my first endeavor into cold cases. My first novel, A Small Case of Murder dove into a series of cold cases dating back over fifty years. The plot for Shades of Murder involved two seemingly unconnected cold cases, including a missing painting. A Fine Year for Murder takes the Thorny Rose detectives to the Virginia wine country to investigate the brutal murder of a family from Jessica Faraday’s childhood.

While the excitement of solving a cold case mystery makes for thrilling plotlines, they do present their own unique challenges.

For one thing, the writer penning the cold case has to ask the all important question, “What makes a cold case, especially a decades old cold case, turn hot?”

In recent years, science has played a major role in solving cold cases. Police departments across the globe have been dusting off cold cases and sending evidence to labs in hopes that advances in forensics since the crime had been committed will provide that breakthrough needed to identify the killer.

That’s an ideal situation in real life, but not necessarily a page turning plotline for a fictional mystery. Luckily, life and time offer many other scenarios that can—and have―heated up cold cases.

Death Bed Confession: Still, this can be too easy—or maybe not. In one case I researched, an elderly woman confessed to her daughter that her son had killed a young woman decades before. In this true case, the daughter was not surprised. She had often suspected that her brother had committed the murder. The problem was that her brother had an airtight alibi. In spite of the mother’s deathbed confession, the police couldn’t arrest her son, who had gone on to establish a highly respected life since the murder. First, they had to reopen the fifty-year-old case, break the suspect’s alibi, and find proof that he had committed the murder.

Changed Circumstances/Relationships: One cold case murder that I had researched was blown wide open when the prime suspect landed in jail for an unrelated crime. As is so often the case, the police in the small town were certain about who had murdered the victim, a witness in a burglary case. The defendant he was testifying against had an airtight alibi, but not the defendant’s brother, who had a long violent history. Unfortunately, everyone in the small town was terrified of the suspect. The police believed many people had knowledge of the murder but were too scared to come forward. After all, the murderer had already killed one witness. Many years after the murder, the prime suspect was arrested for an unrelated crime. With him locked up, suddenly witnesses poured out of the woodwork—including the brother who the victim was going to testify against.

Long Lost Evidence Discovered: In May 2016, the Plumas County Sheriff in California announced the discovery of a hammer that they believed to be the murder weapon in the thirty-five-year-old murder of Glenna Sue Sharp, her son and a friend of his. Her missing daughter’s remains were discovered three years after their murders. The hammer was discovered over three decades later a stone’s throw from the cabin where the two prime murder suspects resided. Unfortunately, both suspects had died before enough evidence was collected to bring them to justice. This tragic murder case became known as the Keddie Murder Mystery. The discovery of the hammer, resting not far from the crime scene, inspired my second Thorny Rose Mystery, A Fine Year for Murder.

That is often how it happens.

Days turn into weeks, which turn into months, which turn into years, which turn into decades. Suddenly, something somewhere happens—when you least expect it. That unexpected event acts like a flame to make those clues hot again.