A Mount St. Helens Mystery


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A Mount St. Helens Mystery

By Jeanette F. Chaplin

Soft Cover, 255 pages, 5.5" x 8.5", Perfect Bound

Usually shipped within 48 hours

ISBN# 0-7388535-1-2


This book is temporarily


The Good News is that a Second Edition is in the final stages and should be available soon.



Sunflower Dungeon,

the Second Mystery in this series by author, Jeanette F. Chaplin.

Bluebonnet Meltdown,

the third Mystery in this series by author, Jeanette F. Chaplin.




A Mount St. Helens Mystery

Join Torrie Madison in her first adventure as an unwilling sleuth. This mystery, set in the harsh landscape of Mount St. Helens is the first in a series of books planned by author, Jeanette Chaplin. Torrie is an amateur sleuth with a quirky sense of humor, a sharp mind, quick reactions, and more than a little bit of bravery.

Is the Fireweed a real plant?

Yes. It’s very common in forested areas and is one of the first plants to appear after a forest fire. I had never seen the plant until my first trip to Mount St. Helens. In fact, it was seeing the abundance of its eye-catching blooms that sparked the idea for this critical element in the plot development. The biggest difficulty was deciding whether to make the plant a force for good or evil. I decided that impending evil had more potential.


Could the events described really happen?

Well . . . some of them could. I interviewed a biogenetics expert before I finalized some of the plot elements, because I wanted the happenings to have a ring of truth to them. Mutated species do actually make some bizarre changes, and many plants glow in the dark. A mutation moving from one species to another is not likely, but changes that spread into the environment are indeed irrevocable

On May 1980, an unforgettable devastation was wrought by the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption. But in the midst of that destruction appeared a portent of good. In a remote canyon, prehistoric Fireweed seeds germinated in the intensity of the blast, making possible the production of a potent honey with incredible healing powers. Unfortunately, genetic tampering caused mutations, bringing death and destruction instead of healing.

Torrie Madison, a young aspiring journalist, stumbles across the genetically altered Fireweed while vacationing in Washington State. When people and animals start dying around her and she becomes a murder suspect and potential victim, she must solve the mystery before it's too late. She and her ranger friend Brad set out into the barren landscape to discover who is behind this aberration of nature. Meanwhile, the plague proceeds up the food chain. Who will be the next victim of the GLOWING FIREWEED?




About the Author

Jeanette F. Chaplin

Jeanette F. Chaplin is a transplanted Iowan currently teaching English and Spanish courses in the Phoenix area and working to expand her writing business. In pursuit of her lifelong goal of being a writer, she obtained a doctorate in composition and creative writing at Texas A&M-Commerce, and participated in a workshop at the University of Iowa’s Summer Writing Festival as well as an array of other workshops and conferences. Publishing credits include inspirational writing and a travel piece on her hometown of Sioux City, Iowa, in the Des Moines Sunday Register, as well as self-published works such as the Self Publishing Guide.

Her ongoing goal is to travel to exotic places and research a series of mystery novels featuring twenty-something aspiring journalist Torrie Madison. Torrie’s next adventure takes place in France, which of course necessitated two wonderful research trips. Chaplin is now working on the third draft with a local critique group.

When not reading, which she counts as “market research,” she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, swimming, and biking—as long as they aren’t too extreme. She loves to travel and visit her daughters Rachelle in Iowa, and Andrea in Seattle as well as friends in Monterrey, Mexico, where she spent two years teaching and conducting short-term mission tours.


What inspired you to write the story?

I had been moving in this direction ever since the Indiana Jones movies and Romancing the Stone were popular. About the time I had decided to write in the mystery genre, I watched a slide lecture on Mount St. Helens. The lecturer narrated an incident about falling into a pit of “quick mud” while researching in the volcanic monument area. It struck me that the harsh landscape would provide an excellent backdrop for a mystery.


How long did it take to write the book?

From the time I first got the idea, I worked on it about four years. I anticipate the next one taking closer to two years. I did a lot of background work on Torrie, her family and background, and potential locales before starting, so many of the elements of the next novel are pre-established.


How much of you do we see you in Torrie?

Not too much—she’s braver than I am. Of course she thinks and reacts the way I do in a lot of situations and has my quirky sense of humor. I think I’ve also borrowed a lot from my daughters since she belongs to their generation. In reality, I relate more to her mother, whom we didn’t see too much of in this novel. Watch for her in the next book of the series.

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