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Author E.D. Nebeker
Author E.D. Nebeker
Author E.D. Nebeker
Author E.D. Nebeker

Welcome

JUST ONE STOP to deliver groceries, and Doug Nolan’s world is shaken. A corpse lies at his feet, poison drips from a teacup, and murder abounds. From his first encounter with death, Doug realizes he has a habit of stumbling into a murder scene. Is his ingenuity up to deducing the force behind the foul deeds? Prodded into solving the crimes, he finds support in his grandma’s Bible study group, whose collective skills and keen insight are just what a good investigation calls for. Discovery takes Doug on a tricky road where he must peel away the troublesome past, explore hidden museum messages, and avoid falling cows. The mysteries are flavored with deception and served in a teacup meant for murder.

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Books

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The Final Amen
The Cow Who Knew Too Much
The Fine Art of Murder
The Final Amen
The Cow Who Knew Too Much
The Fine Art of Murder

About me

At 18, I was a journalist in Kansas City. I left it to become an ambulance driver in Italy during a world-wide conflict. Injured and sent home, I rushed off to Spain to insert myself in the civil war ablaze on the Iberian Peninsula.

WAIT! That wasn’t me. That was Hemingway.

My path through Kansas City took a different route. I arrived from Oregon in my thirties with a young family. I came as an instructional designer and corporate trainer, being transferred while working in the telecommunications industry. After a total of twenty-seven years in that world, I left it for other pursuits, but they didn’t involve driving a 1917 ambulance in war-torn Italy.

Unlike Ernest Hemingway, who picked up four marriages and discarded three, I’ve had a long-time devotion to one. Reina and I raised two sons, now adults, which affords us the privilege of being empty-nesters and ardent grandparents.

The Final Amen

Book 1

The final amen is death! And a comforting cup of tea is Audrey Davis’s last wish.

When Doug Nolan stops by Audrey Davis’s apartment at Hawthorne Meadows Retirement Community to deliver groceries, he discovers that she has taken her final breath, uttered her final prayer, and watched her final sermon as it wafts through the speakers of her ancient television set. Audrey Davis is dead, and murder hangs in the air.

Young, affable, and comfortable in his Kansas City surroundings, Doug Nolan’s world is shaken when he finds the white-haired, kindly Mrs. Davis, slumped over in her recliner. Likewise learning that his former third-grade teacher, the formidable Mrs. Beatrice Crenshaw, also resides at Hawthorne Meadows, Doug follows the clues that lead him to believe that Mrs. Crenshaw is the force behind Audrey’s death.

Aided by the varied talents of his grandmother’s Bible study group and joined by an unpredictable septuagenarian sidekick, Doug soon finds that things aren’t always what they seem.

Can a mob-inspired restaurant provide a portal to the past? Can a hidden lockbox expose the dark secrets of a killer’s soul? Can this unassuming grocery delivery driver deliver the goods to put away a cold-blooded killer?

The Cow Who Knew Too Much

Book 2 now available!

It proves to be a bad day for Eldon Blakeley. He is fired from his job at Garland Dairy. His car won’t start. His electricity is shut off for nonpayment. His wife leaves him for the insupportable conditions they had sunk to. And he is murdered while taking vengeance on his wife’s fish tank. Things could not get worse, until they did. His disgruntled wife, Autumn, schemes to benefit from his death with a two-million-dollar insurance policy.

When the young and amiable Doug Nolan discovers the bludgeoned and lifeless body of Eldon Blakeley on the cold bathroom floor, surrounded by dead tropical fish scattered about, with his head against the toilet bowl and his finger on the flusher, Doug knows he has walked into murder.

Can Doug discover who committed the deed?

Egged on by his septuagenarian sidekick, Mildred Clifford, Doug pursues the matter and discovers that one name rises to the top of their suspect list: Daisy the Cow. They hoof it to Garland Dairy to milk whatever clues they can find, and there they learn the best advice ever issued by a dairy: Beware of falling cows.

In an unexpected twist of historical fate, Eldon Blakeley’s murder becomes wrapped into the 1934 murder of John Lazia, the notorious crime boss of the Prohibition era in Kansas City. With his grandma’s bible study group also on the case, can Doug solve the murder of Eldon Blakeley before another victim is put out to pasture?

Buy links coming soon...

The Fine Art of Murder

Book 3 coming 2023

Murder is a masterpiece at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Among the works of Monet, Rembrandt, and Gauguin, the murdered corpse of Monica Lindstrom draws the awe of the crowds.

On a day out while touring this center of fine culture, Doug Nolan meets Monica Lindstrom, the widow of the talented and accomplished artist, Jacob Lindstrom. In their conversations, Monica is impressed with Doug’s acumen in understanding the masterful creations that fill that institution in Kansas City, Missouri. But Monica holds a secret.

A poisoned pill and a sudden death in his arms, Monica has one final request of Doug. She implores him to solve her own murder. The secret, she says, is found in the works of the great artists. Doug realizes that even masterpieces hold their own secrets. The aura of the Mona Lisa still captivates admirers today, so that even Nat King Cole cannot deduce the meaning behind the mystic smile. But there, Doug is aided as ever by the unflappable Mildred Clifford, who believes she holds the answers to both the Mona Lisa’s aura and Monica Lindstrom’s demise.

Doug and his team of talented accomplices, his grandmother’s Bible study group, search the works of the nineteenth century Danish artist Carl Heinrich Bloch for answers to the complex mystery. Or perhaps the answers lie within the history of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art itself and its creator, William Rockhill Nelson—the founder and driving force behind the Kansas City Star newspaper.

Finding Monica Lindstrom’s murderer proves to be as elusive as searching for Vincent van Gogh’s missing ear.

Endorsements

Mark Twang

The Final Amen is as excitin’ as a Mississippi catfish caught on a pole—twistin’ and tuggin’ and tryin’ to break free. It don’t take a trip in a paddlewheel boat down the grand river to know that you’re fixin’ to have a mighty fine supper with a mouthwaterin’ fillet on your plate. Just sit back and enjoy the vittles.”

Charlie Dickins

“It was the best of crimes, it was the worst of crimes. It was the tragic demise of a gentle woman as the teacup met her lips. The Final Amen tells the sad, sad story of a murder and a sermon. It is a far, far greater poison she swallows than she ever thought would be slipped into an old lady’s teacup. It is a far, far greater rest she goes to than she ever had dozing in the recliner. It is a tale of two cities. But why are they both named Kansas City? Is it just a nefarious scheme to confuse visitors? Are they in Kansas or Missouri? A great mystery waits to be unraveled in this riveting novel.”

William Shakespearo

“How wondrous the storyline is! How captivating! How divine! O, brave new plot that has such characters in it. They are such stuff as dreams are made on.”

Agatha Chrispie

“Human nature is much the same everywhere. Once you’ve plunged the depth of human iniquity in a quiet English village, you know that the same can be found in Kansas City, America. When the redheaded waitress at the Bluebird Café served me kippers for breakfast instead of herrings, I knew she was distracted. She was intrigued by The Final Amen, too. My suggestion is to relax with a hot cup of tea—the safe kind, and may I suggest a crumpet, too—and enjoy this thrilling novel.”

Edgar Allan Pole

“Once upon a murder dreary, on a television weary
Played a sermon bleak and eerie, with the teacup she did pour.
Suddenly there came a tapping, while she lay there gently napping.
‘Twas the groceryman a rapping, rapping on her chamber door.
Ne’er again will she awaken to the knocks that go forsaken
While he brings her eggs and bacon, brings them to her chamber door.
Now the clues that are unwinding, spinning toward an end spellbinding,
And the killer that they’re finding, finding danger ever more.”

Q & A

Q. What inspired you to write The Final Amen?
A. The storyline played upon my mind, and I knew I should write it. I wanted to create a character who would be an unlikely amateur detective. I came up with a young man, not long out of school, who was astute and observant, but who lacked direction at the time when a young person would be making important life decisions. I thought he would still be living in the house of his childhood with the grandmother who raised him. If he unexpectedly encountered a dead body in the course of a normal day, what would he do about it?

Q. How did you decide on the characters?
A. I knew I wanted to team my main character up with someone who was also an unlikely match for solving crime, but I didn’t want them to be bumbling and foolish. The idea of a Bible study group came to mind. The size of the group mattered. I realized that the more members there were in the group, the less personality they individually had. That would mean that it was the group who had the personality rather than the members. I decided to keep the membership few in number so that each person was distinct. Also, they each had to contribute something to the investigation. Considering what skills go into crime detection, I settled on a few—law enforcement and detection, medicine, history, research. Based on those four skills, I developed three characters. Combining medicine and history into one character, I created someone with deep, generational ties to the region. Creating another character with law enforcement experience, I gave her a Southern background to make her comfortable yet solid. The next person in the group is expert in internet investigation and other research; I extended her influence by giving her a young family. Then of course the fourth person in the group is the main character’s grandmother—kind, caring, and accepting of others. She didn’t need to bring specific investigative skills to the table, since she is the glue that holds the friendship together.

Q. What did you find most challenging in writing the book?
A. Finding the time to write.

Q. Are any characters based on people you know?
A. I’ll have to clear this question with my lawyer. Actually, no. I wanted my characters to respond to situations and evolve naturally, without being constrained by someone else’s persona.

Q. What writers have inspired you?
A. When asked about authors and influences, my mind goes back to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. In my beginning school years, I loved that book. I used to check it out repeatedly and read it over and over again. Who else? Don’t laugh, but it was the World Book Encyclopedia. I was engrossed in perusing its pages—any volume, any topic. My folks had a 1966 set in the bookcase, and I never let it collect dust. The world has changed much since 1966, and yet it hasn’t. Pick any point in history, and I always wonder what came before and after it.

It isn’t easy to point to specific influences because there were several. However, the list includes Agatha Christie with her tidy plots, William Shakespeare with his strong characters that still endure, and Alfred Hitchcock with his ability to tell a story that keeps you at the edge of your seat.

Q. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
A. Always

Q. What is the writing process like for you?
A. Perhaps I don’t see it as an orderly process. My day is taken up in various obligations, and the rest of my time—the bulk of it—goes into writing and the like. I would rather write than sleep. I honestly do not suffer from the proverbial writer’s block. While I’m writing one book, my mind is plotting the three that follow it. The notetaking, research, and characterizations that go into them are already playing out before me. I try not to get too far ahead of myself.

Read all questions

Discovering Kansas City

After moving to the Midwest, I set out to discover the heartbeat of this populous that proudly spreads across the state line. Known as the City of Fountains because of the abundance of water features, statuaries, and parklike spaces, Kansas City offers culture, enjoyment, and fitting backdrop to an intriguing story.

Early on, I was aware that Kansas City and neighboring Independence are proud of local achiever Harry S. Truman. The former United States president always called Jackson County home, and the municipalities laud him for it. Impressively bearing his name are major streets, buildings, parks, statues, hospital systems, libraries, schools, sports complexes, neighborhoods, businesses, lakes, conference rooms, creeks, parking spaces, and whatever else can be issued in the name of Truman.

The Hotel Muehlebach is a landmark building with close ties to Harry Truman. Since it was built in 1915, everyone who was anyone stayed at the Muehlebach—Ernest Hemmingway, Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra, Babe Ruth, Walt Disney, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and every United States president from Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan. During the Truman years, when the president returned for a visit, he stayed at his house in Independence, but he ran the government out of the Muehlebach. Ever since then, the rooms he used have been called the Presidential Suite.

Kansas City still recognizes with honor the political boss Tom Pendergast, who ran the city for decades in the first half of the twentieth century, yet he never held an elected office. A master of machine politics, he positioned people into all levels of government to carry out his wishes. His open city policies during Prohibition were legendary, as he encouraged alcohol sales, gambling, bookmaking, and similar indulgences, thus ensuring that Prohibition never reached Kansas City. Overlooking the fact that he personally profited from human vice and corrupt deal-making, he gave Kansas City some of its most memorable landmarks during the era of deco-style skyscraper construction.

Rich with mob history, Kansas City still swoons from the 1934 assassination of mob boss John Lazia, whose murder has never been solved. Speculation on the matter still runs free and imaginative. So too is the 1950 assassination of mob boss Charles Binaggio and his underboss Charles Gargotta. Known as the “murder of the two Charlies,” they were last seen leaving the Last Chance Saloon—the bar and secret gambling den that straddled the state line, allowing lawbreakers to push gaming tables across the room into a different state when the cops came knocking on the door. Mob activities in the 1970s resulted in a turf war over the River Quay district, with strategic buildings bombed into oblivion and a string of murders strewn throughout the metro.

Depression-era bandits also considered Kansas City a haven from the law. The likes of Pretty Boy Floyd, Adam Richetti, Creepy Karpis, the Ma Barker Gang, and whoever else fell on J. Edgar Hoover’s Public Enemy list—as well as a multitude of lesser-known criminals—were received with open arms in Kansas City. The infamous 1933 Kansas City Massacre at Union Station still excites the public mind, as curious observers trace the steps to recreate the scene and look for bullet holes that may still exist. The event that degenerated into a shootout between outlaws and federal agents left four officers and one fugitive dead.

As a sports town, locals are proud supporters of the Kansas City Chiefs football team (2020 and 1970 Super Bowl winners) and the Kansas City Royals baseball team (2015 and 1985 World Series winners). Depending on the game day, two sets of fans funnel into one property with two stadiums that share one parking lot, all of which is known as the Truman Sports Complex. There’s his name again!

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Author Ed Nebeker
The Final Amen
The Cow Who Knew Too Much