I’m excited about the release of my brand new book and wanted to give readers a peek at the book from the inside and outside. Berlin and Betrayal, the third book in my Tangled Roots Historical Mystery Series, starts out about a year and a half after the previous book left off, and now Lucas Landry and his family are living in Germany.


Lucas Landry, March 4, 2020, Chiemsee, Germany—

STANDING AT THE bow of a crowded tourist boat approaching Fraueninsel, one of three main islands on Chiemsee, Lucas Landry could already make out the ancient Benedictine nunnery he’d read about. Chiemsee was a freshwater lake in the idyllic Bavarian countryside and was part of a famous recreation area called Chiemgau. He could see why visitors flocked here most of the year, except in the coldest winter months. From what he’d heard, the boats had only recently resumed operation, because up until the last few days, pockets of ice had remained on the lake. With his hands firmly gripping the railing, he tilted his head up, letting the crisp wind whip his hair, feeling the light refreshing spray of water dapple his face. This is the life, he thought. Fluffy white clouds drifted leisurely across a crystal blue sky. Ahead, a few sailboats dotted the lake, their masts tilting and swaying, white and colorful sails puffed out, driving happy occupants forward. In places, water shimmered on a glassy surface, reflecting like a mirror. Fresh air smelled faintly of fish. He could get used to this. No wonder his great-aunt, Gretchen Nagel Auermann, had chosen to take refuge here after the war.

“Daddy, Daddy, are we gonna see another castle?” Bianca came up alongside Lucas and looked up at him, her brown eyes squinting at the sun.

Her mother, Tawny, grabbed hold of Bianca’s hand, safeguarding her, apparently still nervous. The six-year-old had climbed up to the railing on the previous boat and leaned over—way too far over—to watch for fish jumping in the water. Both Lucas and Tawny saw her at the same time, gasped and rushed forward. Lucas had reached the child first and pulled her back from the railing and imminent disaster.

“Sorry, munchkin, not this time,” he answered. The previous island they’d stopped at in Chiemsee was Herreninsel, and it housed a palace built by King Ludwig II in 1878. Bianca and her little brother had stared in wide-eyed awe at spectacular fountains, their water-spraying statues, and even a horse-drawn trolley on the castle grounds. And inside the castle, they’d all been spellbound by the vast shiny gold inlays decorating every room.

“Isn’t that a castle?” Bianca said, pointing to the fortress-like building looming ever closer. White, three stories tall, dark gray roof, dormer windows, with a protective wall around it, he could see why she thought that.

“No, sweetie, it’s an abbey and convent,” Lucas said, snapping photos of the convent and the island with his cell phone. Then, turning back to his daughter and seeing the confused look on her face, he added, “An abbey is, uh, a kind of church.”

She nodded. “Is it a fancy church with lots of gold? Those are really pretty.”

Lucas smiled. “I guess we’ll have to find out together, but first, we have to visit someone.” He’d uprooted his family in the middle of February and moved them to a different continent and that was enormous. But that was only the start. Today’s trip, well, it was more than a sightseeing trip. Much more. Today, he would finally begin his efforts to complete the European-side of his family tree and reunite long-separated family members. He was the one who could do it.

It had become an obsession with him, but luckily Tawny was understanding and had happily agreed with the temporary move, giving them approximately one year in Germany. She’d always wanted to spend time in Europe. Why not make it business and pleasure?

Bianca scrunched her cute little face the way she did when she wasn’t happy. “Do we have to, Daddy? I’m hungry. Can’t we get lunch and then see the fancy church?”

Tawny intervened. “Bianca, honey, the main reason for this boat ride is so your daddy can meet two ladies who are really important to him. We should go downstairs to the cabin now and prepare to get off the boat, okay?”

“Okay.” A gust of wind lifted Bianca’s hat off her head, and she screamed. “Oh, no! You can’t have that, stupid wind.”

A few tourists looked over and smiled.

Lucas reached out and rescued the pink hat decorated with white swans—a souvenir hat they’d purchased in the port town of Prien before boarding the first boat. He placed it back on her head, then pulled the hood of her coat over it to keep the hat from escaping and nudged her toward the open doorway back to the boat’s cabin.