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Parks Pat Cases 1-9 - ebook

Parks Pat Cases 1-9 - ebook

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Looking for a police procedural set in picturesque Canada? Let Award-winning and Bestselling Author P.D. Workman take you to her favourite Calgary parks, as Métis detective Margie Patenaude investigates a murder in this fast-paced new series.

Detective “Parks” Pat — Margie Patenaude — is a new Calgary homicide detective. Being Métis and a single mom, she has a few things on her plate. Working on a spate of murders in Calgary and area parks earns Margie her nickname.

Whether you’re a fan of police procedurals, Canadian mysteries, or just looking for a thrilling read, the Parks Pat Mysteries are sure to satisfy. Don’t miss out on this exciting new series — grab your copy today!

These short mysteries are just right for those days when you could use a break from your busy life. Take a walk in a Calgary park with Parks Pat

Investigate this series today!

What you'll love:

  • Engaging Police Procedurals: Immerse yourself in meticulously crafted police investigations that are both realistic and compelling.
  • Beautiful Canadian Backdrops: Experience Calgary’s parks like never before, with vivid descriptions that transport you right into the heart of each setting.
  • Rich Indigenous Culture: Gain insights into Canada’s Indigenous heritage through Margie’s Métis background, adding another dimension to each story.
  • Quick Reads for Busy Lives: These short mysteries are perfect for those looking to escape into a thrilling narrative without committing to a lengthy novel.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The writing is excellent, the plot is nice and twisty and the the characters and situations are believable. I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to seeing where she takes these new characters.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This is another well-written, briskly-paced mystery featuring great characters, lots of interesting glimpses into Canada’s Indigenous culture, and a satisfying resolution all wrapped up in delightful quick-read police procedural by an author who could make a description of drying paint sound fascinating.

Step into the shoes of Métis detective Margie Patenaude — affectionately known as "Parks Pat" — as she navigates a labyrinth of murder investigations that will keep you on the edge of your seat. With her unique perspective and relentless determination, Indigenous single mom Margie brings justice to Calgary homicide victims and their families.

 

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Chapter 1

"Mom, you’ve got to be kidding me! Are you serious?”

Margie winced at Christina’s complaint. Up until her phone ringer had shattered their quiet morning preparations, the day had been going well. Bright sunshine streamed in through the kitchen windows of the small house. The rich odor of brewing coffee filled the air. Christina had been blow-drying her long black hair, the hum of the dryer providing a soothing white-noise background as Margie prepared her breakfast and reviewed the day’s plans. Everything had been peaceful despite both of their ‘first-day’ anxieties.

“I know, honey. I didn’t plan this. You know I was going to take you to school today and help with your schedule and getting settled in. But…” She gave a dramatic shrug and grimace, “you know I can’t control when someone gets murdered.”

“Couldn’t someone else take this one? You promised me.”

“They need me. Others in the department will be involved, but this is my first lead, and I can’t turn it down.”

“You could.”

Margie took a deep breath in. Her stomach felt hollow and heavy. She knew she had promised Christina that she would be there for her first day of school. It wasn’t fair to expect her to do everything by herself while Margie went off to a murder scene. She was brand new in the Calgary homicide department, and her coworkers would be watching to see how she took on her first case—watching for her to make a mistake. To see whether she was competent, or was just a ‘diversity hire’ for a department that needed Indigenous representation on the team.

Christina was right, of course; she could turn it down and ask them to make someone else the primary. But what message would that send to the rest of her team about her commitment and ability to handle both her personal life and the rigors of the job?

“Maybe you could start tomorrow instead,” Margie suggested. “I could call the school and let them know that you won’t be starting today, but you’ll be there tomorrow.”

“No way!” Christina’s response was immediate and emphatic. “I’m starting the same day as everyone else. It’s bad enough that I’m the new girl; I’m not going to have everybody looking at me because I didn’t start the same day as everyone else. Like I’ve got some kind of… privilege.”

Like Margie’s, Christina’s black hair, bronze skin, and facial features showed her Cree heritage clearly. Neither one would ever be mistaken for white. But others often saw Indigenous people as lazy, looking for a handout, or expecting compensation for what had happened to them over the generations. Christina wouldn’t want to be branded as one of those Indians.

“Well, those are the only two options.” Margie looked at her watch. “I need to get to the scene. You can go today and get your guidance counselor to help you get everything set up, or you can wait until tomorrow when I can go with you.”

Christina slammed the door to the bathroom and started the water running so that Margie couldn’t talk to her.

Margie swept her long hair back with both hands and divided it into sections. She deftly braided it and pinned it up into a bun so that it would be neat and out of the way. The coffee machine finished brewing and she poured her coffee into a travel mug.

After making sure she had everything else she would need, including Staff Sergeant MacDonald’s directions to get to the site, she knocked on the bathroom door. “I’m going now. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Christina snapped. What she said after that wasn’t as easy to make out, but it was something along the lines of “Not that you’d care.”

Margie sighed. “Love you, sweetie. I’ll see you after school. Give me a call if I’m not home and let me know how your day went.”

“You’re really going to go take this case and make me go to a new school all by myself?”

“I’m sorry. I can’t do anything about it.”

Christina slammed something down on the bathroom counter. Margie knew there wasn’t anything else she could do or say to smooth things over. Christina was old enough that she could manage. She wasn’t a shy or anxious child. She was a strong young woman. She would be able to navigate a new school. Margie had actually been surprised that Christina had wanted her to be there. Usually, she was embarrassed by her mother and didn’t want her anywhere close to her teenager peers.

“Goodbye. Love you.”

There was no answer from her daughter.

Margie picked up her coffee and her shoulder bag and got into the car. She stuck the note with Sergeant MacDonald’s instructions on the dash. After starting the car, she waited for the GPS to boot up. She put Fish Creek Park into the GPS, but the route it popped up was nothing like the directions she had been given. She studied the picture on the small screen. The green area was massive, covering many blocks. So there was undoubtedly more than one entrance. She would have to go by MacDonald’s instructions and hope that they were detailed enough to get her there.

She pulled out of the gravel parking pad in the back of the house and found her way out to Twenty-Sixth Street. There was a long multiuse path along the ridge above the irrigation canal, or ‘the ditch’ as it was known as in the neighborhood. There were always people walking dogs, running, or biking along it. Even late at night or early in the morning, she could almost always count on seeing people on the pathway. She was looking forward to taking Stella out to explore and meet other fur-babies. In September, the trees were still green, with just occasional yellow leaves fluttering to the ground, and there were a lot of parks and green spaces throughout the city. The grass along the path was more yellow than it was green. She hadn’t realized before moving to Calgary how arid the city was. The summer temperatures were nothing like they were in Manitoba, but it was still hot and dry. She had thought that it would be a lot more temperate in the shadow of the Rockies.

She found her way to Deerfoot Trail and kept one eye on MacDonald’s instructions to make sure that she didn’t miss any exits or turns.

Despite the traffic, she pulled into the east entrance to Fish Creek Park in under twenty minutes. There had been no need for lights and siren. The man wasn’t going to get any more dead.

Chapter 2

There were more cars in the parking lot than Margie would have expected, and she wondered how many of them could be associated with the investigation and how many were typically there every weekday morning, like the walkers on the path along Twenty-Sixth Street. She supposed that if she lived close to a big park like Fish Creek, she would try to get over there as often as possible. She pulled on a face mask, got out of her car and looked around, trying to figure out which way to go. MacDonald had only given her directions to the parking lot; he hadn’t told her where to go from there. She had hoped to be able to see the crime scene from there, but all she saw were trees.

“Detective Pat—er—Patter…” A man in a gray uniform shirt, dark pants, and gun belt approached her with his hand outstretched. He had a bandana-style mask.

Margie reached automatically to shake, then drew back and gave him a little wave. “Patenaude,” she told him, pronouncing it clearly for him, “PAT-en-ode.”

“Oh, that’s not so hard.” He gave an embarrassed laugh. He dropped his hand to his side. “French?”

“Yes. Métis.”

“Sure.” He gestured toward her face, indicating her dark skin and whatever he could see of her nose and other features above the mask. “I should have guessed. We don’t see a lot of Natives in law enforcement. Sorry.”

Margie shrugged it off. “I guess if you know my name, you know what I’m here for.”

“Yes,” he seemed far more comfortable with this topic. “You’re here for our body.”

He said it possessively, maybe even a little affectionately. Our body. She glanced at his gray uniform. Not the black shirt of a Calgary Police Services uniform. “What department are you with?”

“Alberta Parks. I’m one of the Conservation Officers here. Dave Barnes.”

“Okay.” Margie nodded. “You know the park well, then.”

“Very well. Come on; I’ll take you to the crime scene.”

She followed him to an electric golf cart and took the passenger seat. Margie looked around her as Barnes drove down one of the bicycle paths, slowing and occasionally tapping his horn as they passed cyclists out for a morning ride.

“The park looked pretty big on my GPS screen. How big is it?”

“Thirteen and a half square kilometers with ninety kilometers of trails.”

“Whoa. I’m glad you’ve got a cart.”

“Me too. But we don’t have too far to go today. We’re just headed to Hull’s Wood.”

Margie watched the sunlight filtering through the green leaves, creating dappled shadows on the pavement of the pathway. It all seemed so peaceful and idyllic, people walking and running, some with dogs or companions and some alone, the occasional bicycles thrumming along beside them. A paradise in the middle of the busy city. She had been impressed by Calgary’s long list of parks, both city and provincial. She liked to walk and bike. She was hoping to be able to ride her bike to work, taking the new bridge alongside Blackfoot Trail, then through Pearce Estate Park and along the Bow River Pathway to get downtown. It would be much better for her than always driving her car. Once she got settled in and more familiar with the route.

“Here we are.” Barnes’s words drew her attention back to the present and to the not-so-idyllic scene she was there to see.

Tape had been looped around several trees to cordon off the area. Sunlight streamed down on a small clearing. Bright green grass against the dark trunks of the trees. The grass and wild plants had a fresh, sweet scent. There were more gray-shirted conservation officers and a few dark-uniformed Calgary Police officers hanging around. A crime scene truck was parked outside the cordoned area, waiting for Margie to review the scene and give them the go-ahead to collect forensic evidence.

She dismounted from the cart and looked slowly around before advancing to the crime scene. She looked at the spectators rubbernecking nearby, all hoping to catch a glimpse of something exciting or disgusting to brag about to their friends and family.

No one who seemed out of place. No one who appeared to be anything other than curious as to what had happened. But one never knew. Sometimes killers returned to the scene or stayed around to watch the discovery and investigation go down.

Margie approached the crime scene truck and nodded at the techs who were suited up, face shields on and ready to go.

“Hi. I’m Detective Patenaude. New in town. You guys been here long?”

A couple held disposable cups of Tim’s coffee, looking like they had been waiting for her for a while.

“Half hour,” one of them commented, thumbing his phone to check the time.

“Okay. Sorry to keep you waiting.” Margie pulled on her own protective gear, trying not to fumble or look incompetent in front of them. It wasn’t her first rodeo and she didn’t want them thinking that she was inexperienced. “While I take a look, do you think you could get pictures of the bystanders?”

One of the men holding a Tim’s cup raised an eyebrow. “The bystanders?”

“Yeah. If you could just do that sort of unobtrusively, so we’ve got a record if one of them ends up being a witness or suspect?”

Most of the observers were not wearing masks, which was lucky. One of the unfortunate effects of mandatory masking policies was the increased difficulty of reading and recognizing faces.

The tech exchanged a look with his coworkers, then shrugged and nodded. “Pictures of the bystanders. Roger.”

“Thanks.” Margie finished with her protective gear and lifted one of the lines of tape to duck under it. She made her way over to the body with great care, watching for any footprints or crushed vegetation.

One of the uniformed cops nodded to her. He wasn’t masked and kept his distance. He had a medium build and a round face, hair thinning on top. “You the primary?” he asked.

“Yes. Hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long.”

“He might have gotten a degree or two colder while we were waiting, but it’s not like he’s going to get up and walk away.”

Margie chuckled. “No,” she agreed. She looked at his name bar. “Officer Smith. You want to walk me through it?”

“Found by a dog walker this morning. As you can see,” he tilted his head toward the spectators on the pathway, “there is a lot of foot traffic here, even very early in the morning. Dogs are really good at smelling out bodies. The riper, the better.”

“But this one hasn’t been here very long,” Margie observed. The body hadn’t been there long enough for her to detect any decomp.

She gazed down at the crumpled figure. Looked like a male, but he was face-down, so she wouldn’t be able to verify until he had been moved. Tall and slim. He seemed deflated beneath the wrinkled jacket and pants. The vegetation in the area had not been trampled down; Margie couldn’t see any sign of a major struggle. And there was not a lot of blood and gore. Most of that would be underneath him.

“Has anyone touched him? Moved him?”

“Just to verify that he didn’t have a pulse and check for signs of violence.”

Margie raised her brows questioningly.

“Stabbed,” Smith informed her. “Center mass. Probably too low for the heart, but could have punctured a lung or caught the aorta. Not just a heart attack on his morning constitutional.”

Margie stooped briefly to feel for a pulse—never hurt to have it verified more than once—and to evaluate the temperature and rigidity of the body. Someone from the medical examiner’s office would be there to take the liver temp and make other observations, such as rigor, but Margie wanted to know for herself as she began the investigation.

“He’s been here a while,” she observed. “I don’t think it happened this morning. More likely last night.”

Smith didn’t disagree. “The park closes at night. But that doesn’t mean someone didn’t stick around and avoid being seen. A place like this, you can’t check behind every rock. The CO’s do what they can to keep anyone from setting up camp here, but still come across homeless encampments now and then hidden in the bush. It’s a big park.”

Margie looked around. “I guess we don’t have the luxury of surveillance cameras like we would if this happened on the street.”

“Actually, there are some. I don’t know where they all are.”

“Probably the parking lots.”

“There are wildlife cams too, though. And some of the trails are probably monitored. You can ask the CO’s what video they have. Maybe you’ll get lucky.”

“Not lucky enough to have a video of the actual murder,” Margie posited. “That would be too much to expect.”

Smith shrugged. “Yeah. You’re probably right.”

Margie looked around at the ground for anything that was out of place. “Is the knife still in him? If not, did you take a look around for it?”

“Not in him. I kept my eyes open while we were deciding how much area to rope off. I was hoping it might have been dropped close by. But we didn’t see anything. We can take another look, now that it’s daylight. It was still pretty dark when we got here.”

Sunrise had been around seven o’clock the last few days, Margie knew. Of course there had been runners and dog walkers out before that. People trying to get their workouts in before heading to office or retail jobs starting at eight or nine.

So when was their victim killed? During the small hours of the morning before opening? Or late at night when he shouldn’t have even been in the park? She hoped they would be able to narrow it down quickly.

“Did you get all of the contact information for the dog walker who found him? And what about him, did he touch the body?”

“Dog might have contaminated it. Owner kept his distance after bringing the dog under control. We got everything we needed from him, down to the dog’s name and morning routine. You can give him a call and talk to him or request an interview any time today. He’s eager to help.”

“Great. Thanks. Do we have an identity for our victim yet?”

“Haven’t searched him. He’s fully dressed—you know, not for running or something—so he probably has a wallet on him, unless it was a robbery. We figured we’d let the techies do that part.”

Margie nodded. It was a good call. They might even have a missing person report on him already if he had a family and should have been home the night before.

She looked around some more without moving her feet, but couldn’t see any other clues and didn’t want to be guilty of contaminating the scene any further. She looked toward the crime scene investigators and nodded to them.

“Let’s get out of the way and let them do their thing,” she advised Smith, raising her voice a little for everyone within the cordoned-off area.

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L
Lorraine St-Jean
Love Detective Pat!

I really enjoy reading Parks Pat’s adventures. On my 5th book now. Another way to visit our beautiful Canada.

P.D. (Pamela) Workman is a USA Today Bestselling author, winner of several awards from Library Services for Youth in Custody and the InD’tale Magazine’s Crowned Heart award, and has published over 100 mystery/suspense/thriller and young adult books.

Workman loves writing about the underdog. She has been praised for her realistic details, deep characterization, and sensitive handling of the serious social issues that appear in her stories, from light cozy mysteries to darker, grittier young adult and mystery/suspense books.

P. D. Workman does not shy from probing the deep psychological scars of childhood trauma, mental illness, and addiction. Also characteristic of this author, these extremely sensitive issues are explored with extensive empathy, described with incredible clarity, and portrayed with profound insight.
—Kim, Goodreads reviewer