The Foothills Mystery

The Investigation into the Death of the Solo Rock Climber

by Stanley Yokell


Book Details


The Foothills Mystery is the author’s fourth book that features Marie Quizno, Detective Chief of the fictional town of Big Rock, Colorado. When Tom Campbell, a doctoral candidate in mathematics at Colorado University is near completion of the first solo free climb the Risky Route in the foothills, a person he knows greets him on the trail above. Tom asks for a sip of the coffee that he smells. Instead, the person stamps on his hand causing him to fall to his death. Marie Quizno, who is climbing a nearby route with two other officers, finds his body. Her investigation leads to identifying who stamped on Campbell’s hand and whether it was an attempt at murder.


Book Excerpt

Tom Campbell, a doctoral candidate in mathematics, woke up at first light. His live-in girlfriend, Lucille Tueur, lay next to him snoring gently. He eased himself quietly off the bed very carefully so as not to wake her. He went into the bathroom, closed the door, attended to his morning needs and showered. He looked in the mirror and decided that there was no need to shave. Quietly he slipped into the anteroom where he kept his climbing gear. A glimpse out the small window in the west wall showed a clear sky. The foothills reflected the first rosy rays of sunlight off the flatirons. He muttered to himself “Today’s the day I’ll solo free climb the Risky Route . If I know Morris Beard, he is too busy with Karen Betryger to climb this early. I wonder if he knows that we get it on now and then. Lucille might not think she is such a good friend if she knew too.” Campbell sorted through his climbing gear and rubbed moisturizer into his feet. He pulled on a pair of thin white socks and tight rock climbing shoes. He slipped into his climbing shorts, under which he wore no undershorts, and fastened them with a belt, pulled a tee shirt over his head, and picked up his climbing helmet. He walked down to his ancient Volkswagen and left for the foothills. Not another soul was in sight when Campbell parked in the fenced-off enclosure that the Big Rock’s Parks commission had set aside for climbers and hikers. His tight climbing shoes caused his toenails to turn black, but Campbell considered it a small price to pay to feel every toehold. Hobbling over to the Risky Route, he recalled having climbed its three pitches many times with Morris Beard, one leading and the other belaying. But this would be his first attempt at a solo free climb. Campbell had used binoculars to plan for the solo free climb, picking out every hand- and foothold on the way up. He had memorized the location of each bucket and crack. He took a few moments to visualize the whole climb. After the ascent, he planned to climb out to the meadow above the rock and hike down the steep side footpath to the lot where his Volkswagen was parked. Campbell’s advance planning made for a smooth problem-free climb. Nearing the top, he congratulated himself on his skill and daring. As he reached for the rock slab at the top of the climb, he looked up and saw a familiar face. “Hi, he said, “nice to see you. You’re out early for you on a Sunday morning. What brought you here?” “Just a hike in the quiet before the foothills get crowded. I took the side path up thinking this would be a good day for you to try a solo free climb and came to see if I was right.” “Do I smell coffee?” Tom asked, his fingers curled against the rock outcropping at the top of the climb. “Just give me a minute and I’ll get a leg up,” he said. The hiker poured hot coffee into the plastic cup that capped a thermos taken from the backpack, took a sip, and with hard-surfaced hiking boots stamped on Campbell’s fingers. The cup of coffee finished, the hiker capped the thermos, put it into the backpack and began walking down the steep side path to the parking lot near the start of the trail. After arriving at the lot, the hiker drove home, showered, dressed and went to church.


About the Author

Stanley Yokell

Stanley Yokell is a retired professional engineer who lives in Boulder, Colorado. Like many Colorado residents, he has had a full life of outdoor activities. His published books include The Ship, a book about a landing ship tank (LST) that saw combat in the Pacific in WWII; The Ride (written under the pen name S. Israel), about the author’s solo coast-to-coast bicycle trip to celebrate his 59th birthday; Dog Stories, about the important dogs in his life; House of Mirrors, an erotic novella; and Sex, Love and Erotic, an anthology, both written under his pen name; A Happy Life, his autobiography; An Old Timer’s Scuba Tales, an illustrated recounting of the author’s nearly 1,000 scuba dives; Murder at Plato House; the first in his series of murder mysteries; Old People, an anthology of stories about the elderly; Beneath the Surface, fictional tales of scuba diving; The Body in the Park, the second of the series of murder mysteries; The Murder on the Mall, the third in the series; and 2084 The Secularist Revolution, a tale of how technology upset the power of religion over people. His technical books, all published by McGraw-Hill are A Working Guide to Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchangers, 1990; Tubular Exchanger Inspection, Maintenance, and Repair, written with Carl F. Andreone, 1997; and Closed Feedwater Heaters for Power Generation: A Working Guide, 2014 written with Michael C. Catapano and Eric Svensson.

Also by Stanley Yokell

Beneath the Surface
The Body in the Park
2084 The Secularist Revolution
The Murder On The Mall
Old People
A Little Book of American Haiku
Short Stories and Sketches
Drugs and Death
Becoming American
Old Times in Elizabethtown
Dining Room Murders
Stories of My Boyhood
Anecdotes and Stories, Old and New
Sir Thomas Cat and Me and Stories my Grandpa Told