The Crimson Masquerade

The Crimson Masquerade

The Ardis Cole Series (Book 3)

by Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson


“… superbly crafted and entertaining mystery adventure …”

— Midwest Book Review


Trouble precedes Ardis Cole to the site of a Han Dynasty tomb in China. Dr. Yong Po, who has asked for her assistance, is being stalked by a person wearing a crimson opera mask. Ardis is concerned when her co-worker, Grant Merlin, fails to arrive at the project, and his ex-wife, Sheri, takes his place. More problems arise when Sheri is attacked on the cliffs by the same masked intruder. Ardis’ search for the tomb of emperor Sun Yan leads to ancient intrigue surrounding a captive princess, referred to in his poetry as the “Lady of White Jade.” As Ardis delves deeper into the tomb’s secret, a centuries old crime of passion is eerily replayed in the present.


Mystery writers and sisters, Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson, are back! Co-authors of more than 40 mysteries, suspense, and western novels, plus numerous short stories, and the adventure continues in this third edition of The Ardis Cole Series, The Crimson Masquerade. Good clean reading for all!


Midwest Book Review—Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton have effectively collaborated to present a series of superbly crafted and entertaining mystery adventures featuring Ardis Cole, an intelligent, fearless, and perservering young lady who finds herself in the midst of exciting and suspenseful mysteries set in a variety of different locales.

A&RBC Reviews, Teresa Beasley—Ardis Cole is back … [she] is hit with many obstacles from members being attacked, murder and surprising twists. The more Ardis digs for answers the more secrets she reveals related to the Han Dynasty tomb. Ardis’ trip to China turns out to be more than she bargained for. Readers will be in for a shock when Ardis pulls all the clues together. The Crimson Masquerade is about betrayal, secrets and greed. This book had a shocking ending which had me guessing until the end. The main character is consistent with the previous books in this series and the supporting characters were unique. I recommend The Crimson Masquerade to others.

[Praise for Book 1] Mystery Scene Magazine—Nice thrills and chills. The authors have obviously done their archeological homework, and in between all the mysterious goings-on, we learn fascinating details of Hatshepsut’s stormy reign. The Egyptology is all there, and it’s enjoyable.


“This was a really good mystery. Even after I was done reading I was still trying to figure out how the killer did it, and I could not believe who the killer was. I also really enjoyed that the story took place in China, and the authors did a great job of making me feel like I was in China with the characters … I can not wait for more of this series to come out.” –DSA

“… a great adventure and also has is a wonderful meeting of two unlikely people who find they share more than just an interest in unlocking history and finding a treasure. The story keeps you interested and as you read you might think you have it figured out but just wait you could be in for more surprises. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read adventure books and loves a good mystery.” —IMK

“I enjoyed reading a book without foul language and a lot of gore. It is very well written and the story line kept you interested and wanting to read more. My hat is off to the authors. Please keep up the good work.” —BG

Thrilling – Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson’s mystery “The Crimson Masquerade” can be summed up in one word: thrilling. The Crimson Masquerade sweeps readers into Xian, China, where Chicago archaeologist Ardis Cole teams up with one of China’s foremost archaeologists, Yong Po. Yong Po believes he has found the tomb of Sun Yan, dating back to 200 AD. Besides the wealth of historical fact to be collected from the tomb, a priceless statue of rare white jade is rumored to be inside. But before Yong Po can disclose the location, he is murdered. Ardis expects her good friend and co-worker Grant Merlin to join her on the project. Instead, Grant’s ex-wife shows up, creating chaos and claiming handsome bachelors Jacen and Billy as personal entertainment. That’s tough on Yong Po’s assistant Won and his daughter Jen—because Jen has a deep romantic interest in one of the men herself. However, the biggest problem the crew faces is the unknown attacker who wears a black robe and crimson opera mask. The entire crew is in danger and when Sheri disappears, the mystery deepens. Ardis and Grant become suspects in robbery and murder at the abandoned tea plantation and even team members turn against them. The Crimson Masquerade is so brilliant and thrilling that it will leave readers bereft when it ends. – BPM

Interesting read – Enjoyed the plot but would like to see more realistic information about what it is that archaeological excavations and investigations actually do. – K

front cover

front cover

back cover

back cover

Look Inside This Book

Select Add to Cart. If ordering more than one, adjust the quantity in VIEW CART or CHECKOUT.

Price: $14.95


View CartCheckout

This book is also available through bookstores in print, Kindle, and Nook: Amazon | B&N

Vickie Britton

Vickie Britton

Loretta Jackson

Loretta Jackson

Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson are not only experts in researching the setting for their novels; they also travel to the location to get a sense of the local scenery and to learn more about the culture. Britton holds a degree in British Literature and has taken courses in forensics and criminal justice. Jackson, a graduate of K.U., has taught English and Creative Writing at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and at Mission Valley near Eskridge, Kansas. Both authors reside in Kansas.

Britton and Jackson are available for book signings and book club discussions.

Website on Facebook:

ISBN: 978-1-939054-05-0

Softcover: Perfect bind

Trim Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″

Pages: 268