Death Rides the Zephyr by Janet Dawson




Death Rides the Zephyr: Available Now!

Janet Dawson
Credit: Charles Lucke

Death Rides the Zephyr. It’s coming down the track.

December 1952. The California Zephyr pulls out of Oakland headed for Chicago. Zephyrette Jill McLeod hopes for an uneventful run. But the Silver Lady’s passenger list includes mayhem—and murder.

The original California Zephyr was a streamliner, a sleek train that ran from the Bay Area to Chicago, beginning in 1949 and ending in 1970. It was called the CZ or the Silver Lady because the cars were constructed of stainless steel and they all had “silver” in their names.

The Silver Lady was a joint operation of three railroads. The Western Pacific took the CZ over the Sierra Nevada and through the Great Basin to Salt Lake City. The Denver & Rio Grande Western ran the train through the Rockies to Denver. From there the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy took the train to Chicago.

Janet Dawson
The Silver Solarium. Credit: Janet Dawson

The CZ’s Vista-Domes provided passengers with a 360-degree view of the spectacular scenery. The route took the train through the Sierra Nevada’s beautiful Feather River Canyon. In the Rocky Mountains, the tracks ran along the Colorado River for over 200 miles, through some amazing canyons.

The Silver Lady was also known for its amenities and level of service provided to passengers. In addition to the male crew members—engineer, brakemen, conductor, stewards, porters and the like—the California Zephyr had a woman hostess known as a Zephyrette.

Get ready for suspense and intrigue as Zephyrette Jill MacLeod and the crew of the Silver Lady take a trainload of passengers for the ride of their lives.

Death Rides the Zephyr is published by Perseverance Press. You can read an excerpt and order it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound and Perseverance Press.

Read Janet's post at the Dames of Dialogue blog.


"Death Rides the Zephyr brings the golden age of rail travel back to thrilling life while providing more twists and turns than an express ride through the Sierra Nevadas. If you have a taste for mysteries or history, it's a trip you won't want to miss!"
—Steve Hockensmith, author of Holmes on the Range

"Through a trip onboard the California Zephyr Janet Dawson takes the reader back to the 1950s and does an admirable job of capturing the spirit of a time when World War II was a recent memory and the Korean War was an all-too-vivid reality. . . Dawson has a fine eye for the details of life aboard the Zephyr and creates an intriguing cast of characters whose interactions mirror the surprising twists and turns the train takes as it crosses the Colorado Rockies.  Death Rides the Zephyr is an engrossing and suspenseful adventure.  Readers will be thrilled to take the ride."
—Judith Van Gieson, author of the Neil Hamel and Claire Reynier mystery series

"Death Rides the Zephyr is an entertaining tale... [that] captures nuances of a transcontinental train trip in the early ’50s."
Railfan & Railroad

"With a nod to Agatha Christie, Dawson has created a stand-alone historical that's perfect for Western Collections with its detailed descriptions of the mid-century train routes through the Sierras and the Rockies. Her stately pacing and elaborate attention to clues make this a must-purchase for any library with historic-train aficionados."
Library Journal

"Fascinating... Dawson writes so convincingly, she could have been a Zephyrette."
Mysterious Women

"This historical mystery is really a love song to a bygone way of life, when the luxury train known as the California Zephyr was in its heyday... the real star is the train, which is lovingly described, from its layout to its ingenious bedrooms to its cuisine. That's worth the price of admission."
Roberta Alexander, Oakland Tribune

"An engrossing murder mystery... settle back and enjoy the ride."

"If you are a railroad buff, you will truly enjoy Death Rides the Zephyr... Makes me want to make reservations for my own trip."

E-Book News

Jeri Howard's back! Backlist, that is. The e-books of Kindred Crimes, Till The Old Men Die, Take a Number, Don't Turn Your Back on the Ocean, Nobody's Child, A Credible Threat, Witness to Evil, Where the Bodies are Buried and A Killing at the Track are available as e-books for Amazon's Kindle, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble's Nook. They are also available from the iTunes Store.

Short Stories

Short stories, we've got short stories! Now available for Kindle, Kobo and Nook. Check it out!

Also available is Casebook. Together in one volume—four short stories featuring Jeri Howard: "Slayer Statute," "Blue Eyes," "Candles on the Corner" and "Little Red Corvette." Buy it for Amazon's Kindle.


Read an interview with Janet at the Authors Are People Too blog.

Read Janet's post "Old Gold" at Ronald Tierney's Life, Death and Fog blog.

Read Janet's guest blog at Mystery Fanfare.

Read an article from the East Bay Express about Janet's "Mysterious Women" library panel with Camille Minichino and Ann Parker.

Read an interview with Janet from the University of California's Link e-newsletter.