Where's that dang book?—The Mule Ears is on the way.

The Mule Ears, fourth volume in the Big Bend Country Mysteries series, is in production! The process entails creating both online and paper versions. A cover has to be designed too and the finished versions carefully proofread one last time.

The third book in the series spent two months in production. I hope this one will be quicker. But The Mule Ears is real and has been reviewed by Kirkus. I'll post a link to the review closer to the date of publication.

As I've explained in earlier versions of this posting, I initially hoped that The Mule Ears would appear by late fall, 2022. But I held it back while I sketched out the plot for the fifth book—tentatively entitled The Roosevelt Cottage. While each tale is complete in itself, there's on overall narrative that needs to be coherent and consistent. So I'd been tweaking The Mule Ears to lead neatly into that climactic (but not necessarily final) fifth book.

Then I fell off my mountain bike (at age 72), broke my hip, and found myself laid up following surgery.

I hope The Mule Ears will be worth the wait. Composed during our "plague years," it's deliberately lighter in tone than the previous tales in the series—offering relief for readers tired of viruses, masks, and inflationary woes. There is, of course, a crime and plenty of intrigue. But parts of the book are, I hope, funny, playful, romantic, even clever.

The title of this fourth novel in the series comes from a distinctive feature at Big Bend National Park, two peaks along the Max Roswell Scenic Drive that resemble a mule's ears. And the epigraph for the book? "Lord, what fools these mortals be," from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The fifth Big Bend Country Mystery will return to the spirit of the initial three volumes, opening with a suspected hate crime that steadily grows more complicated.

I hope it, too, will be worth the wait.