Unmarked Grave (Book 2 of The Ardis Cole Series)
“… superbly crafted and entertaining mystery adventure …” — Midwest Book Review
Ardis travels to Scotland to do a facial reconstruction on a skull her friend Bruce McBrier has discovered in the woods outside his ancestral castle. Because of an ancient ax buried in the skull, Bruce presumes the skull to be a historical relic, possibly the remains of a medieval ancestor murdered in battle. When Ardis makes the shocking discovery that the remains are that of a more recent murder, Constable Mark Ridley asks her help in going ahead with the facial reconstruction in hopes the victim can be identified. But someone is willing to go to great lengths … even murder … to keep the skull’s deadly secret.
Mystery writers and sisters, Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson, are co-authors of more than 40 mysteries, suspense, and western novels, plus numerous short stories, and the adventure continues in their first edition of The Ardis Cole Series, Unmarked Grave. Good clean reading for all!
Each book in The Ardis Cole Series takes place in an exotic location. The authors have travelled to such places as Peru, Russia, Egypt, China, and Australia in preparation for this series.
Book is also available through Amazon and BN or ask for it wherever books are sold. The ebook version of this book can be ordered through Amazon.
About the Authors
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: www.facebook.com/VickieBrittonAndLorettaJackson
Britton and Jackson doit again – Always enjoy Ardis Cole stories. Good plot, easy reading. Interesting characters. Had me guessing who the murder’s identity was. Figured it out just before the end. A good read.
M. Siedzik –
Another great book! I loved the book! Scotland is a wonderful setting for a story. I like that there is no profanity or sex scenes in these books!
Stephanie Parker McKean –
Misty, Mistical Scottish Mystery – Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson’s Unmarked Grave transports readers to misty, mystical Scotland—complete with castles and romance.
When Bruce McBrier finds a skull on his castle grounds, he believes he has found his ancestor and that the skull dates back to the 1500s. One proof is the ancient ax point embedded in the skull. He is so excited over this proof that Sir William returned to the castle after the Battle of Flodden that he sends for archaeologist and friend Ardis Cole.
Cole, who is fleeing grief after losing her fiancé, runs head-on into danger including being stalked, threatened, kidnapped, and witnessing a modern version of the Lloyd-Venwell feud dating back through the centuries. The danger intensifies because when Cole finds missing teeth from the skull, she realizes she holds in her hand proof of a more recent murder—perhaps even one of the two people missing from the area.
Using the measurements on the facial tissue chart, she cuts and glues small dots of eraser material in 32 strategic points around the skull, then fills them in with modeling clay and smoothes it to create the likeness of a human face. The result turns out to be terrifying! And she can trust no one, not even the attractive Chief Inspector Mark Ridley.
Great story Excellent story – Ardis does not disappoint.
A great adventure and also 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. I found this book to have some interesting facts included into the story which I appreciated. So if you want to go for a faraway adventure then pick up this book and start. It covers unexpected love and friendships along the way. Just when you think you know what is going to happen next the story takes a turn. Just read it and find out for yourself you will see what I mean. I am ready for the next book in this series.
Betty Gratz –
Two sisters who know how to write a great story.
John Hunter –
This book, like all of the others in this series, builds to a climax so that it is hard to put down.
Susan Leatherman –
Absorbing read – Another excellent book by this clever team of writers. You can’t go wrong with archeology and murder. Clever plot and good characterization. I look forward to other books in this series.
Pat Browning –
Discovery of a skull kick starts an ancient feud ahhhhhh, Scotland, land of intrigue, betrayal, murder and an ancient struggle with “the auld enemy, the English.” In Unmarked Grave, history lives in the McBrier and Lloyd families whose castles date back to 1295.
Their age-old feud erupts again with Bruce McBrier’s discovery of a skull he believes belonged to his long missing ancestor, Sir William, who would have been the fourth Lord of Venwell. The neighboring castle belongs to the Lloyds, who backed Henry VIII and fought for England. Sir William rode with James IV in defense of Scotland.
Bruce wants Ardis Cole, an archaeologist from Chicago, to authenticate the skull by a facial reconstruction. He’s writing a book to indict Sir Wendell, third Lord of Lloyd, as the brutal killer of his ancestor, Sir William. The final chapter of Bruce’s book depends on authentication of the skull.
There are sorrows aplenty at Venwell Castle. Ardis arrives in Scotland hoping a change of scenery will temper her grief over the death of her fiancé. Bruce’s niece Gwynne is pursued by one of the Lloyds who wants to get his hands on Venwell property by marrying her. Gwynne’s true love, the tavern keeper’s son, has disappeared. Also missing is Bruce’s nephew, who left home to get away from his domineering father, the current Lord Venwell. If the wisp of a figure lurking near the garden really is Sir William, his spirit showed up in the right place at the right time.
But Ardis was hired to do a job. She takes her canvas bag of archaeology tools to the river bank to dig for remains and what she finds only adds to the mystery. The result of her facial reconstruction is shocking. Murders, assaults, theft, kidnapping and an old diary—the story is full of twists and turns right up until the end.
I like Ardis Cole. The loss of her fiancé gives her compassion for those who mourn. Her work on dig sites in foreign locales reinforces her fearlessness, which at times makes her foolhardy. If she’s in a hurry for a tool or piece of information she will jump in the car and take off down a dark and lonely road. She’s lucky there are those who care enough to keep an eye on her.
The title comes from a gravestone Ardis finds when she visits a nearby abbey. Dated 1608, the stone reads: “Good son, brave sailor/Lost at sea/The world his unmarked grave.”
Sylvia Hogan –
Like a maze of clues the twists and turn of clues lead in almost every direction. The only character not implicated is Ardis Cole. Very good book.
A&RBC Reviews, Teresa Beasley –
Editorial Review – Ardis Cole is at it again in this new adventure, Unmarked Grave by Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton. In this new mystery, Ardis heads to Scotland to help a friend. Bruce McBrier has uncovered a skull in his backyard and wants Ardis to help him reconstruct it. This relic has distinctive features and Bruce believes its historical background could be of an ancestral battle.
Ardis is on the job and soon finds out the skull Bruce has discovered is of a recently murdered victim. The more Ardis and Bruce dig into this mystery it becomes clear that someone wants the identity of the skull to stay hidden. Will Ardis find out who is behind the mystery before it is too late?
Unmarked Grave takes readers on a journey of family secrets. The twists in the story were unsuspected and shocked me once I discovered the culprit’s identity. I enjoyed this story because of its mysterious nature and also because I couldn’t figure it out until the very end. It kept my attention and I enjoyed the characters. I recommend Unmarked Grave to others.
This book was provided by the authors for review purposes.
Mystery Scene Magazine –
Editorial Review, Praise for Book 1, The Curse of Senmut – 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.
Midwest Book Review –
Editorial Review – 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.