Mystery Novels by D.P. Benjamin

Cover Design by Donna Marie Woods

THE ROAD TO LAVENDER has been published! purchase a paperback or kindle copy by clicking on link below:

a mystery novel of 100,000 words by D.P benjamin



ANNE SCRIPTOR, a dedicated young student of archaeology, finds herself at the center of a deadly treasure hunt. Russian mobsters have offered millions to possess a rare prehistoric artifact which Anne’s unscrupulous University of Arizona professor, DR. ARNOLD CLARK, seeks to sell to the highest bidder.

 When Dr. Clark’s Russians buyers threaten to kill him, he improvises a plan to smuggle the precious item out of Tucson. The Russians are closing in and, without Anne’s knowledge, the professor hides the artifact in a nondescript toolbox. Then he entrusts the toolbox to Anne and uses the pretext of a university geocaching assignment to dispatch her to western Colorado. Her instructions are to place the box in a remote location known only to the two of them. After the artifact has been safely hidden, Clark plans to slip away, follow Anne, and retrieve the treasure.

Unaware of her professor’s scheme, Anne hikes through rugged wilderness terrain to hide her caches. Alone in the Colorado mountains, she’s overwhelmed by persistent memories of her abusive father. Battling unwelcome thoughts, she reaches the small village of Lavender where things go awry.

Mysterious strangers follow her until they die in unexplained explosions. Local characters take an unwholesome interest in her and DIAK HODELL, a sinister German, lurks in the shadows watching her every move. Seeking allies, she accepts help from TRINIDAD SANDS, a local man who owns Lavender Hill Farm, which is the source of the town’s name. The two share a budding romance until she grows to distrust the handsome stranger.

Suspicious of Trinidad’s motives, haunted by childhood memories, and driven by a sense of loyalty to her professor, Anne flees from Lavender and embarks alone on a harrowing journey to retrieve her cached boxes only to be pursued by the relentless German and a growing posse of local and federal law officers. It will take all her courage and cunning to survive.


A Lavender Wedding

A mystery novel of 100,000 words by d.p. benjamin
ANNE SCRIPTOR forms a working partnership with TRINIDAD SANDS by joining his investigative team. six months later the handsome detective proposes marriage and Anne says yes. The working couple is already busy investigating the unsolved murder of Esau Koller, a prolific author and local celebrity, But the wedding isn’t going to plan itself. so the bride-to-be travels from the small village of lavender to the relative metropolis of Canyon Junction, ostensibly to audition a wedding band, but also to tie up loose ends in the Koller case. The band is awful and the loose ends refuse to be tethered. After a frustrating day, with little accomplished, anne seeks to relax in the warm embrace ONE of the colorado mountain town’s famous hot springs pools.


Anne Scriptor closed her eyes and sought to clear her mind. It was late and she was the sole occupant of the sprawling aquatic complex. The main pool, where she’d just finished swimming laps, was nearly a block long and, although the open water was reputed to be maintained at a constant 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the night air had grown chilly and she’d halted her circuits at twenty. Now she was sitting in the smaller and much warmer therapy pool, languishing in the heat and steam as water jets caressed her tired shoulders. In the moonlit distance she could see snow on the neighboring peaks. In fifteen minutes it would be 10 o’clock—closing time and she was certain the staff would be glad to be rid of their final customer.

Anne sighed. She should be making wedding plans. But, instead of compiling a guest list and planning a reception, her thoughts kept returning to the fantastic events of the past twenty-four hours. The case was a troubling one. Old man Koller’s murder remained unsolved and, so far, the investigation had uncovered a dead wife and two daughters missing. How deep, she wondered, did this sordid tale go? She was lost in speculation until a nearby voice jolted her back to the present.

“My daughter needs your help.”

“Pardon,” Anne said as she reached back to turn off the noisy water jets.

“She needs your help,” the voice repeated.

Anne pushed away from the pool wall and turned in the shallow water until she could make out the figure of a woman standing on the deck above her. She tried to study the face, but the mist was thick and she couldn’t read the features.

“Mrs. Koller?” Anne ventured the name of the woman she knew to be dead.

“Of course.” The woman’s reply was raspy, perhaps intentionally disguised. It was a deep sound, almost animal in tone.

“And how do you suggest…?”

“Just stop,” the woman interrupted as the night wind shifted and she seemed to disappear in the enveloping steam. “You need to stop.”

Feeling the need for distance, Anne pivoted and swam further from the wall. Then she turned to tread water and searched the mist for signs of movement, but the phantom had vanished.


Hypothetical Cover Design


A mystery novel of 100,000 words by d.p. benjamin

In this prequel, set a decade before Trinidad Sands meets his precocious wife, the bachelor detective lands his first case. The brutal murder of a local hermit entangles him with a deadly assassin who seeks to rekindle a sinister World War II Nazi scheme involving the key to eternal youth and a hidden stockpile of counterfeit nickles.


Photo by Jennifer Nichols
rare earth
A mystery novel of 100,000 words by d.p. benjamin
excerpt from manuscript

The husband and wife detective team of Trinidad and Anne Sands decide to take a vacation from sleuthing. Trinidad has received a generous offer to purchase his lavender farm and he focuses his energy of making a life-altering real estate decision. Anne gets a chance to apply her scientific skills when a trio of visiting Chinese archaeologists come to Western Colorado. Masquerading as fossil hunters, the Chinese visitors are actually geologists who’ve been dispatched by on a secret mission to locate rare earth minerals. Their assignment carries them from the hallowed halls of Peking University to the wilds of Colorado, a change of venue which convinces them they need protection.       

The nervous Chinese fly to America, survive customs, and reluctantly board a California jet, to wing their way to Colorado. Their selective viewing of Hollywood films and daily news accounts of mass-shootings have left them with the clear impression that all Americans are gun-crazy. And, if America is an unruly nation filled with pistol-packing varmints, it seems logical to the distressed Chinese that they’ll encounter particular danger in the wilds of Colorado.

Their secret search for isolated deposits of rare and valuable minerals means exploring miles of remote mountain terrain—a quest which their imaginations have enlarged into a perilous trek through a hostile and lawless frontier. Given their anxieties, it’s only natural to be momentarily stunned when their plane touches down at the small Grand Junction regional airport and they learn that a well-armed platoon has not be assigned to accompany them. They are, in fact, on the point of abandoning their mission until their guide introduces JEREMIAH SPURGE and assures his nervous countrymen that the huge man is to be their assigned transporter and formidable protector.

And so, Spurge–all seven feet of him–is on the job and it’s just ANNE SCRIPTOR’s luck that she’s been left alone to neutralize the giant bodyguard. Lying prone fifty yards away, the palpitating woman struggles to get comfortable with the heavy rifle and its awkward sling. Remembering how much she hates guns, she’s certain that the recoil will be unpleasant and she imagines the telescopic sight slamming into her eyeball. But TRINIDAD and the others are depending on her. There will only be time for one shot, so she has to make it count.


Photo by D.P. Benjamin
Lavender farewell
A mystery novel by d.p. benjamin

It may be time for my husband and wife detectives, TRINIDAD and ANNE SANDS, to leave Lavender. I envision the catalyst for their departure to be an unsolved murder perpetrated by a notorious villain who was earlier presumed dead.