The "Rhodes to Murder" Series

Book 1 -- A Merry Little Murder

It was nobody's fault, unless you counted the mice, and even they didn't mean to cause trouble. A forgotten candy cane lured them to the Christmas tree stored in the basement of St. Anne's Hospital. The nibbling and gnawing just went on from there. Now there are holes in the trunk where none should be, and not a single branch will stay in place. 

Despite this disaster, the nurses of Psychiatric Ward One are determined to deck the blues by decking the halls. When an anonymous donor sends them an artificial balsam, they press their patients into decorating it. But what starts out as a happy event ends up as a holiday nightmare when lighting the new tree triggers an explosion that leaves seven people dead.

Who planted the bomb that wrecks havoc in the little town of Rhineburg? A frustrated employee fired by St. Anne's despised administrator? A student terrorist from Bruck University? Or Caroline Rhodes, a nurse with a suspicious past who survived the explosion but refuses to discuss it? Tagged as a suspect by the FBI, Caroline must prove her innocence by unraveling a devilish plot devised to eliminate one man's nemesis. Aided by history professor Carl Atwater, Caroline cuts through a maze of conflicting stories, red herrings, and downright lies to bring a killer to justice.

"The novel shines for its scenes evoking the warm and fuzzy comforts of the holiday season." Chicago Sun-Times

Amazon  trade paperback and ebook
Harlequin Worldwide Mystery  mass market paperback

Book 2 -- The Rune Stone Murders

"We are surrounded by death, and there is no way to stop it. No way at all." 

Caroline Rhodes is skeptical of the dire warning. But a Gypsy fortuneteller's words prove true when the discovery of a Viking rune stone on the campus of Bruck University leads to murder during the school's annual Festival of Knights.

Blackmailed into investigating the crime by university president Garrison Hurst, Caroline soon finds her suspects are as plentiful as the flowers on Bruck Green. Questions come easily to the veteran ER nurse, but the answers are not so obvious. Did Andrew Littlewort's famous temper get the best of him, or is the eccentric professor as innocent as he claims? Is Sid Burke the proverbial "bad seed", or just a troubled student from a famous family? How did Emma Reiser amass a fortune on a government salary? And why does Bruck's gardener call his flowerbeds 'paths of gold'? Most troubling of all, what is Agatha Hagendorf really gazing at through her telescope at the Rhineburg Boarding House and Home for Gentle Women? 

Caroline teams up with septuagenarian Professor Carl Atwater to track a killer without a conscience in little Rhineburg, Illinois.

"A nicely woven campus mystery… characters so appealing you will think of them as friends."   Romantic Times Magazine

Amazon  trade paperback and ebook

Harlequin Worldwide Mystery mass market paperback

Book 3 -- To Kill A King 

When ER nurse Caroline Rhodes agrees to a summer job at Ascension Medical Center in the Chicago suburb of Niles, she has no idea she'll be walking into an Emergency Room marked for murder. But two days after her arrival, a female employee is found dead, smothered with a lavender silk pillow.

Caroline's persistent questions concerning the murder earn her a warning from ER doc Chan Daley. "As me sainted mother used to say," quips the doctor, "man who stands beneath tail of elephant must prepare for much dung to drop on head." But Caroline is willing to risk the fallout when a second death results in the arrest of an old friend. 

Determined to clear her colleague's name, Caroline hatches a devious plot that requires the help of history professor Carl Atwater and her friends from the little town of Rhineburg. Despite a heat wave that causes tempers -- and the death count -- to rise in the ER, the veteran nurse proves once more that attention to detail is the key to solving any crime.

"(A novel that ) traces the political machinations of a large hospital beset with murderous intrigue."  Chicago Sun-Times    

Amazon  trade paperback and ebook

Barnes and Noble   ebook

Harlequin Worldwide Mystery  mass market paperback

Book 4 -- The Scarecrow Murders

It's a battle of the sexes in little Rhineburg, Illinois when Bruck University's fledgling football team butts heads with female rodeo riders during Halloween Homecoming Days. 

The Big Bad Bruins can’t believe it when Bruck President Garrison Hurst hires the Moore Sisters' Rodeo to perform in the school's new stadium the night before the homecoming game. The 3Bs—AKA “The Freebies” because of their losing style—may be lousy at football, but as country boys, they know what a herd of angry Brahma bulls can do to a grass field. Accompanied by every able-bodied man in town, they form a picket line outside Hurst’s office and raise their voices in protest. 

Will the president meet the team’s demands to cancel the rodeo? Not if Donna Moore can help it. Backed by an iron-clad contract and a smart lawyer, Donna rallies the women of Rhineburg in support of their cowgirl sisters. Marching with signs in hand, the women out shout and out maneuver their male counterparts, taking over the college security office and generally causing havoc on Bruck’s campus.

Caroline Rhodes’ son and daughter-in-law take opposite sides in the argument—until a football player is found murdered in a rodeo bullpen and Martin Rhodes is named the prime suspect. Caroline looks to Professor Carl Atwater, Maddy “Mad” Moeller, and the ladies of the Rhineburg Boarding House and Home for Gentle Women for help in catching a clever killer

“A first-rate mystery...unusual and interesting plot...well-defined characters.”
Midwest Book Review

Amazon  trade paperback and ebook
Harlequin Worldwide Mystery  mass market paperback

Book 5 -- Criminal Mischief 

This fifth book in the "Rhodes to Murder" series contains back-to-back novellas featuring Caroline Rhodes. 

In FRAMED, Caroline travels to Chicago when she's named a beneficiary in Geraldine Miller's will. There she meets Paul-Henri Girard, Geraldine's darkly handsome nephew, who requests her assistance in investigating his aunt's untimely death. Unexpectedly drawn to the professional card shark, Caroline soon finds herself gambling with danger to help a man who may be more than just a thief of hearts. 

In HAUNTED HEARTS, Caroline tells Paul-Henri about her first brush with murder years before her arrival in Rhineburg. This time, her involvement in the case was highly personal: police accused her son of causing the death of a PTA member in a local high school's Halloween Haunted House. Will Caroline's story drive Paul away, or can she persuade him that when it comes to murder, she's just an innocent victim of bad timing?

FRAMED is at once suspenseful, fun, charming, and touching as it follows the amateur sleuth’s investigation into a suspicious death—an investigation that could easily get her killed. FRAMED closes with a great scene that will leave fans impatient for Caroline’s next adventure
Julie Hyzy, New York Times bestselling author of AFFAIRS OF STEAK

Mary Welk cleverly weaves a story that leads you into the lives of characters so deeply that you start to question your own judgment as to who is naughty and who is nice
Allan Ansorge, author of the Bay Harbour Mysteries

Amazon   trade paperback and ebook

Barnes & Noble   trade paperback

Nook  ebook

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  1. To all those who regularly read Mary Welk's blog,

    It is with a sad heart that I must tell you that Mary passed away suddenly on the evening of Tuesday, December 1, 2015. She loved writing and sharing her world of books with all of you. Please keep her in your prayers.


    Her youngest daughter Mary C.