Alchemy Fire Murder: a Mary Wandwalker Mystery

Alchemy Fire Murder: a Mary Wandwalker Mystery

Former Archivist Mary Wandwalker hates bringing bad news. Nevertheless, she confirms to her alma mater that their prized medieval alchemy scroll, is, in fact, a seventeenth century copy. She learns that the original vanished to colonial Connecticut with alchemist, Robert Le More. Later the genuine scroll surfaces in Los Angeles. Given that the authentic artifact is needed for her Oxford college to survive, retrieving it is essential.

Mary agrees to get the real scroll back as part of a commission for her three-person Enquiry Agency. However, tragedy strikes in Los Angeles. Before Mary can legally obtain the scroll, a young man is murdered, and the treasure stolen.

Murder and theft are complicated by the disappearance in the UK of a witch mysteriously connected to the scroll. While Mary's colleague, Caroline, risks her sanity to go undercover in a dodgy mental hospital, her lover, Anna resorts to desperate measures. These, and Anna's silence over blackmail, threaten the survival of the Agency. Mary teams up with the victim's brother to track the killer, and the real alchemy scroll. Solving crimes on two continents will involve a rogue pharmaceutical corporation, Janet the witch, the Holywell Retreat Center near Oxford, plus the trafficked women they support, a graduate school in California, and a life-threatening mountain-consuming wildfire. Can these inexperienced detectives triumph over corrupt professors and racist attempts to rewrite history? Can they remake their fragile family? Will the extraordinary story of Robert Le More prove a source of hope for today?


PROLOGUE: Oxford 1399, January, Prima Materia or

Mother Julian's Gift

CHAPTER 1: A Present Day Summons

CHAPTER 2: St Julian's College has a problem

CHAPTER 3: Who Stole the Alchemy Scroll?

CHAPTER 4: What has Been Split Must Be Reunited 3

CHAPTER 5: A Mixing of Bitter Substances

CHAPTER 6: Holywell's Vulnerable Clients

CHAPTER 7: Mary Takes Charge

CHAPTER 8: Like Treats Like

CHAPTER 9: Two Brits in Snowbound Los Angeles

CHAPTER 10: Strange Mixing

CHAPTER 11: Anna and Leni

CHAPTER 12: Into Darkness

CHAPTER 13: An Awful Lot of Blood

CHAPTER 14: They Call Him Cookie Mac

CHAPTER 15: Who's Looking for the Invisible College?

CHAPTER 16: Brother of the Victim

CHAPTER 17: Pursuit of the Scroll and the Murderer

CHAPTER 18: Stew

CHAPTER 19: Janet Holds the Key

CHAPTER 20: Janet's Story

CHAPTER 21: An Arsonist at The Old Hospital

CHAPTER 22: The Fire Between Them

CHAPTER 23: A Good meal Around the Fire


CHAPTER 24: Miss Wandwalker on the Trail

CHAPTER 25: The European History Foundation

CHAPTER 26: Mary and Sam

CHAPTER 27: Flying Apart

CHAPTER 28: Betrayal

CHAPTER 29: Anna with the Scroll

CHAPTER 30: Over Water, Back to Earth

CHAPTER 31: Reunion at Holywell

CHAPTER 32: Pizza After the Storm

CHAPTER 33: A Phone call to St. Julian's

CHAPTER 34: Trouble at St. Julian's

CHAPTER 35: St. Julian's in Turmoil

CHAPTER 36: Reading and Gardening

CHAPTER 37: Letters Across the Atlantic

CHAPTER 38: In the Doldrums

CHAPTER 39: Roberta Africanus

CHAPTER 40: Mercurius

CHAPTER 41: Coagulation

CHAPTER 42: Mer-Corp

CHAPTER 43: President of the Alchemy School

CHAPTER 44: Roberta Le More's Scroll

CHAPTER 45: Land of the Fire

CHAPTER 46: Confronting Demons

CHAPTER 47: Fire in the Valley

CHAPTER 48: Your host, Jez Wiseman

CHAPTER 49: Last Act in Oxford

CHAPTER 50: A Question of Trust

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Sacred Well Murders

Sacred Well Murders

A simple job turns deadly when Mary Wandwalker, novice detective, is hired to chaperone a young American, Rhiannon, to the Oxford University Summer School on the ancient Celts. Worried by a rhetoric of blood sacrifice, Mary and her operatives, Caroline, and Anna, attend a sacrifice at a sacred well. They discover that those who fail to individuate their gods become possessed by them.

For the so-called Reborn Celts, who run the summer school, have been infiltrated by white supremacists. Could their immersion in myth be less a symbol for psychic wholeness and more a clue of their intent to engage in terrorist violence? Who better to penetrate their secret rites than an apparently harmless woman of a certain age?

Mary agrees to spy on the Reborn Celts, then learns, to her horror, of Anna's passionate affair with the chief suspect, Joe Griffith. With Griffith also the object of Rhiannon's obsession, Mary realizes too late that that these 21st century Celts mean murder.

The Reborn Celts draw Mary and her friends into three rites to summon their gods: at an Oxford sacred well, by the Thames on the way to London, and in Celtic London, where bloodshed will restore one of the Thames' 'lost rivers.'

Before the fatal night of the summer solstice, Caroline and Anna race to London seeking Mary, who has been kidnapped. Will she end as the crone sacrifice? Or will the three women re-make their detecting family, so re-constituting a pattern of archetypal feminine compassion?

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Sleuth and the Goddess: Hestia, Artemis, Athena, And Aphrodite in Women's Detective Fiction


260 pp.

Detective fiction is compelling–once started it has to be finished: The Sleuth and the Goddessis no less gripping. In this riveting book Susan Rowland is part detective, part analyst, and always a brilliant literary critic.  She adroitly reveals how detection is one of the central myths of the modern psyche.  The crime scenes she investigates reveal their psychological and literary clues to show how the re-emergence of the sacred feminine is at the center of women’s mystery detective stories.  Never cozy, never hardboiled, this is cultural psychology at its very best.
Dr. Luke Hockley, psychotherapist and Professor of Media Analysis, University of Bedfordshire, UK, author of Somatic Cinema
With The Sleuth and the Goddess, Susan Rowland joins the rarefied pantheon of women writers that includes Jane Harrison, who a century ago in her magnificent work Themis, explored the archetypal world of the pre-patriarchal goddesses of ancient Greece. Likewise, Rowland has ventured behind the veil of the contemporary detective story and finds that the ancient goddesses are alive and well in the psyches of modern women detective authors and their heroines. Both Harrison and Rowland became detectives in their own right and render a great service for the goddesses in ancient and modern form.
Thomas Singer, M.D., Editor of the Cultural Complex Series
Rowland shows us the endless incarnations of ancient goddesses – Athena, Artemis, Hestia, Aphrodite, Psyche and Persephone – in women’s mystery narratives. Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, The Sleuth and the Goddess argues that fiction – the mythology of today – responds with proactive, investigating, justice-seeking, curious and creative women to the social and political changes in contemporary society. As the feminine spirit re-emerges, the sleuth heals the fragmented modern psyche by reconciling it with the unconscious and the archetypal. Topical and timely, this book is Jungian feminism at its best.
Dr. Helena Bassil-Morozow, Cultural Philosopher and Film Academic, author of The Trickster in Contemporary Film
By illuminating the presence of the Goddess in the incarnation and creation of character, Dr. Susan Rowland brings a fresh and exciting perspective to the study of archetypes in women’s literature. She makes us aware of the enduring influence of the Goddess in one of the most powerful and compelling areas of literary endeavor-the development of the mystery novel.
Jacqueline Winspear, author of the novels featuring psychologist and investigator, Maisie Dobb
About the Author:
Susan Rowland, Ph.D., is Chair of the M. A. in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life at Pacifica Graduate Institute, California. Author of many books on Jung, the feminine, literature and literary theory, her recent work includes C. G. Jung in the Humanities: Taking the Soul’s Path (2010) and The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Evolutionary Complexity and Jung (2012). She lives in California with her husband, the digital literary artist and poet, Joel Weishaus. 
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