Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Ajamie-Boyer

In “Death at Hell’s Canyon Quarry,” Ash Fork Detective Alan Anderson takes on a case of a woman whose death, although deemed accidental, is suspicious. When all leads go cold, the case is filed away.

However, three years later, a succession of similar deaths occur. Assisted by Navajo college student Becky Tsosie, Detective Anderson investigates the possible links and motives while trying to solve the murders.

On Saturday morning, the phone ringing in the police station startled several officers.

“Ash Fork Police Station, how can I help you?” said Sergeant Hank Snow unenthusiastically. Not usually his assignment, today Hank manned the duty officer desk. Ash Fork, such a sleepy place, wasn’t crime-ridden like towns closer to Kingman or Prescott. Saturdays were usually boring, except for drunk and disorderly calls.

The voice on the other end sounded frantic. Before the conversation ended, Sergeant Snow said, “We will be right there. Don’t touch anything.”

Today just got more interesting, thought Hank.

“Death at Hell’s Canyon Quarry” by Elizabeth Ajamie-Boyer and TJ Boyer

The murder-mystery was co-written by Phoenix resident Elizabeth Ajamie-Boyer. Married to co-writer TJ Boyer, Ajamie-Boyer feels called to write about the accomplishments of other Christians to make the United States of America a great country. In addition to writing, she makes jewelry, crochets and loves working in her church’s sound booth.

Images Arizona caught up with Ajamie-Boyer to ask the author a few questions about “Death at Hell’s Canyon Quarry” — the latest selection in its summer book club.

From where did you receive your inspiration for this book?
TJ and I enjoy murder-mystery TV programs like “Father Brown Mysteries,” “Midsomer Murders” and “Death in Paradise,” as well as “CSI” and “NCIS.” I said to him, “Why don’t we write a murder-mystery?” He has given me primary author position.

Aside from that initial inspiration, were there any other experiences from your life that played a part in the setting, characters or trajectory of the plot?
Except for reading the “Happy Hollisters” and some “Sherlock Holmes and enjoying “Murder She Wrote,” there is nothing in my past history to give me inspiration for a book like this. I have also read all of Zane Grey’s books. They were, of course, Western romances, but Grey inspired the best of my imagination.

What themes did you aspire to tackle with this particular work? Did any other themes reveal themselves to you during the writing process?
We have added themes from Arizona, Native American people and an up-and-coming female secondary protagonist. I want people to look at my profile photo and be surprised by my stories.

What or how are you hoping your book makes readers feel? What other takeaways do you hope they have?
I want to have fun with our books. I want to be inclusive of Arizona culture, showing our characters as real people. I want people to feel satisfied with a happy ending and well-thought-through characters.

What are some of your own takeaways? Specifically, did your characters teach you anything?
This book taught me a couple of things. First, working with your spouse is tricky. We had loud discussions about how characters should act, what we wanted to accomplish with the story and how to make sure the verbiage was tight.

Second, changing genres is also tricky. Research has to be done. We needed to consider our setting, we had to decide how fiction our fiction was to be, etc. What I mean by that is, although our story takes place in Ash Fork, Arizona, the real town is not the town in our story. Location and a few other details are realistic, but many other things are very fictional.