Blog posts about the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries and their author Rabbi Ilene Schneider

I am pleased to welcome back author Marilyn Meredith, who wrote on this site last March about publishing under a pseudonym (in her case, as F.M. Meredith).

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area, including the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation. She does like to remind everyone that she is writing fiction. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and follow her blog at

In her latest book, the 10h in the series, Spirit Shapes, ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war. You can buy the book directly from Amazon or from the publisher in all formats:

Keep reading to find out Marilyn’s inspirations for Bear Creek. Spirit Shapes Cover


Bear Creek is where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives and works. It’s located in Central California in the Southern Sierra. (Sierra means mountains and this refers to the southern end of the mountain range.)

Though Bear Creek is a fictional place it is very similar in many ways to Springville where I live. One big difference is I moved Bear Creek up in the mountains 1,000 feet. Why? I wanted better trees and more change in the seasons. I use weather a lot in my Tempe mysteries and I wanted more variety.

Another similarity to my town is that it runs alongside a river and there’s only one main street that runs through it. Though some businesses are similar, they have different names because with the exception of a couple, businesses don’t seem to last long in Springville.

Most people have never heard of Springville or Porterville, the closest city, that is changing now that the local Indian reservation now has a casino. Yes, the casino is in some of my mysteries, it’s called the Bear Creek Indian casino, though it doesn’t make an appearance in the latest, Spirit Shapes.

Tempe is the resident deputy of Bear Creek which covers much more territory than just the town. In Spirit Shapes most of the action is in and around a haunted house. She does visit the campground at the lake and her investigation takes her to one of the high schools.

Though Bear Creek is based on a real place, I have moved some things around a bit, though people who live in Springville don’t seem to have a problem with it—and do tell me that they recognized this or that.

It will be fun to see if any of them think they know where the haunted house is since I completely made it and its location up.


The person who comments on the most blogs on this blog tour will have the opportunity to have a character named after him or her in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. You can continue to follow Marilyn at her next stop,


  1. Thank you for hosting me today, Ilene. It’s fun to visit someone I actually know.


  2. California is such a beautiful state and I tend to forget that until I read something like this – having only ever been to LA myself.

    • California is a wide and even longer state. Besides the big city areas that more people know, there are so many other interesting spots, from San Diego and tiny Julian to the all the southern California beach towns–the better known ones and places like Oxnard and Ventura, farther up the coast with Los Osos and Morro Bay and in the Central Valley with lesser known places like Hanford and Visalia, all the mountain towns like my Springville, Three Rivers and so many more. There are so many Northern beach towns that people know like Monterey, but even more north, Mendocino and all the way to Crescent City–and then inland there are oodles of interesting small towns like Merced and the mountain places like Coarsegold, Oakhurst, Mariposa all on the way to Yosemite, Jackson, LaGrange, Sonoma and I could go on and on, and when you get near the border, there is Majestic Mt. Shasta.

  3. Marilyn, I love that your books are about the California other than LA/SD/SF. I think it’s easy for the rest of the country to never realize that there are small towns and rural areas throughout that long, long state.

    • Hi, Linda. Thanks for stopping by. I have downloaded your books onto my Kindle – now I just have to find the time to read them!

      I’m looking forward to my two trips to CA next year (for Left Coast Crime and for Bouchercon). I’m going to extend my trip a couple of days on each side of the conferences and hope I can do some exploring.

      • Hi, Ilene! I had so much fun on the panel with you at Killer Nashville. I hope I’ll see you at Bouchercon next year.

        There’s so much more to see in California than just the big cities that TV and movies show us. I think you’ll really enjoy your side trips.

    • Thanks for stopping, by Linda.

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