J.v.L. Bell books in order
J.v.L. Bell is an American author of historical mystery, historical fiction and non-fiction novels based in Colorado.
Her historical mystery books include: The Lucky Hat Mine, set in Idaho Springs in 1863; Denver City Justice, set in 1864 Denver; and Murder at Buckskin Joe, set in 1865 South Park.
J.v.L. Bell has also authored a non-fiction book, Elizabeth Byers, Denver Pioneer, perfect for 5th graders. The book is a biography of Elizabeth Byers—the wife of Rocky Mountain News editor, William Byers—who was a resident of Denver from 1859 until her demise six decades later.
J.v.L. Bell is passionate about attending book groups, and presenting at historical societies and other adult organizations, or visiting classrooms.
She’s even willing to visit classrooms in costume and impersonate Elizabeth Byers, teaching students about Colorado life during the Gold Rush.
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery
- The Lucky Hat Mine (2016)
- Denver City Justice (2019)
- Murder at Buckskin Joe (2021)
- Elizabeth Byers: Denver Pioneer (2019)
Detailed book overview
"What’s a Southern Belle to do?"
Wife-wanted ads are always risky business, but Millie Virginia never imagined she’d survive the perilous trip across the Great Plains to find her intended husband in a pine box. Was he killed in an accident? Or murdered for his gold mine? Stuck in the mining town of Idaho Springs without friends or means, Millie is beleaguered by undesirable suitors and threatened by an unknown assailant. Her troubles escalate when the brother of her dead fiancé, Dominic Drouillard, unexpectedly arrives.
Dom is an ill-mannered mountain man who invades Millie’s log cabin, insists his brother was murdered, and refuses to leave until he finds the killer. Compelled to join forces with her erstwhile brother-in-law-to-be, Millie discovers the search for Colorado gold is perilous, especially with a murderer on their trail.
The Lucky Hat Mine interlaces the tale of a feisty heroine with frontier legend and lore making for a rousting historical mystery.
Territory of Colorado, 1864.
Millie and Dom Drouillard return with more murder, mayhem, and misadventures in J.v.L. Bell’s latest novel, Denver City Justice.
The newlyweds are barely settled into wedded bliss when their neighbor, the Widow Ferris, is found dead with an icicle piercing her cold heart. Suspects abound—Widow Ferris has been blackmailing most of the upstanding citizens of Idaho Springs, including its sheriff. Millie’s new husband Dom soon becomes the main suspect and is hauled off to jail for a taste of Denver City justice.
Can Millie arrive in Denver City in time? Joined by an unusual ensemble of proper matrons, her best friend Mary, and Idaho Spring’s’ “fancy girl,” Millie heads to Denver City willing to do anything to keep Dom from swinging from the end of a rope.
Denver City Justice is a historical novel rich in frontier lore, interesting Colorado history, and endearingly quirky characters.
Territory of Colorado, 1865.
Millie knows the raucous mining town of Buckskin Joe is no place for children, but when Dom’s Uncle George shows up needing help, Millie and Dom reluctantly head to South Park. George has been accused of murdering his mining partner, Wandering Will, but Millie soon questions his innocence, although there are many suspects who wanted Will dead.
There’s fancy-girl Queeny, Will’s ex-wife, and dancehall-girl Kate who wanted to be Will’s next wife—until he dumped her. Mountain man Kootenay despised Will enough to have dispatched him and the Odd Fellows have seized George and Will’s mine, claiming the gold inside is theirs. Even the local lawman might not be trustworthy, although he bakes pies so tasty Millie might kill for them.
Millie’s investigation heats up when Dom volunteers to visit the local saloon for some hands-on investigating of Queeny and Kate. Interruptions from hostile Utes, the children’s devilment, and the local schoolmistress chasing after Dom make this Millie’s most difficult investigation—especially when the killer decides she is getting too close.
Murder at Buckskin Joe weaves a cozy murder mystery with fascinating South Park mining history and lovable, unforgettable historic characters.
Elizabeth M. Byers moved west during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush and quickly became a civic leader in the small settlement of Denver City. Her husband, William N. Byers, founded the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado’s first newspaper.
The Byers lived in Denver as it grew from a boom-and-bust town into the thriving state capital of Colorado. Elizabeth was burned out of one home and flooded out of another, yet she managed to find humor throughout her life.
NB: This book is Number 19 in the Now You Know Bio Series from Filter Press.