Death Above the Line
A California Zephyr Mystery
Jill McLeod is playing her real-life role as a Zephyrette in front of movie cameras after a director proclaims she’s “perfect for the part” in his film noir. Now she finds herself in a Niles, California, warehouse that’s been turned into a movie set. Her temp job as an actress would be a lark if it weren’t for the dark emotions and conflicts swirling around the cast and crew. Some have secrets they’d rather not share, and antipathy toward a visiting studio executive who enjoys wielding his power. Someone winds up dead, and once again Jill is investigating a murder. Can she discover the murderer in a new and unfamiliar milieu before the real-life villain catches up with her?
- Read an excerpt
- Learn more about Niles in Janet’s essay, “Niles—Where Movies And Trains Come Together”
- Write what you know—or find out. Read Janet’s blog at Mystery Readers Only.
“Agreeable [and] pleasantly nostalgic.”
“Another great story in the life and times of Jill McLeod, Zephyrette and now actress… Jill and her friends are really nice people and get into these investigations because they are truly interested in finding the killer and taking away the threat to the rest of the characters.”
Janet blogs the first Monday of every month at Ladies of Mystery!
- January 2021: “What a Difference a Lockdown Makes”
- December 2020: “There’s A Cat in the Christmas Tree!”
- November 2020: “Working the Polls”
- October 2020: “The Mystery of Movies”
- September 2020: “The Quest to Write”
Praise for the California Zephyr Series:
“Dawson writes so convincingly, she could have been a Zephyrette.”
“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
“A nostalgic, wonderfully detailed look at an era when trains were still a major mode of transportation and life.”
“The details of train travel, especially on the Zephyr, which ran from Oakland to Chicago, are wonderfully researched. The descriptions of sleeper cars, observation domes, and even the lounge cars make one want to hop aboard a train.”
—Reviewing the Evidence