“Coronado’s Trail” and “Death Rattle,” two mystery novels featuring Deputy Sheriff Calvin Creede, are romping fun mysteries set in the grasslands of Sonoita. The books were written by Carl and Jane Bock, biologists who did research for 25 summers at the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch in Elgin. 

The first novel, “Coronado’s Trail,” blends the historic expedition in 1540 led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado with a twenty-year-old murder case involving the son of a prominent ranching family. Solving the murder uncovers connections with drug lords, archeological site looting, jealousy, and dysfunctional families. 

The second novel, “Death Rattle,” features Deputy Creede solving the mysterious sudden death of a young man from a rattlesnake bite. The death leads to a convoluted web of border vigilantes, vineyards, unscrupulous housing developers, and illegal reptile trade. While solving the murders, Deputy Creede struggles with his personal life, balancing work, and relationships, completely absorbing the reader into the story. 

For those of us who live in the Sonoita area, the books are delightful in describing the beauty of the local mountain ranges, rivers, and canyons. Locals will recognize the descriptions of monsoons, one horrific drive over Box Canyon, and many other references. For readers who are not familiar with our area, they will be transported to the beauty of the grasslands and its amazing history. Every reader will benefit from learning more about archeology, cultural and natural history, local food, and the diversity of people who are fortunate enough to live or have lived in the Sonoita Valley. 

The books are available at the Patagonia Library and on Amazon in book, eBook and audible format.“The View from Bald Hill, Thirty years in an Arizona Grassland,” also by Carl and Jane Bock is available on Amazon, as well.