The Connor Westphal Mystery Series

Meet Connor Westphal, deaf journalist in the small town known as Flat Skunk. Follow her through exciting twists and turns as this journalist-turned-amateur-sleuth makes her way through the perilous world of death, crime and intrigue.

Dead Man's Hand

When Connor Westphal and the residents of the gold-country town of Flat Skunk realize that the ubiquitous wooden dummy hanging in front of the town's gold-mining shop has been exchanged for the body of Zander Nicholas, Connor's determined to get the scoop on this story. Questions and theories compel her to take a closer look at the fringe groups—religious cults, survivalists, environmentalists, pot growers, and gamblers, to name a few.

Complicating Connor's life is the reappearance of her former boyfriend, Josh, newly widowed, and proposing marriage. For Connor, this is an unsettling issue because her current love, Dan, had also proposed recently. Afraid of losing her independence, she's avoided giving Dan an answer. With all the personal turmoil and quirky, not-so-friendly suspects milling about, it's no surprise that Penny Warner's Dead Man's Hand is a fun and fast-paced read.

Dead Body Language

Winner! - Macavity Award for Best First Mystery

Nominated! - Agatha Award for Best First Mystery

Deaf newspaper reporter Connor Westphal traded in her San Francisco mocha lattes for boiled coffee and her family inheritance: The Eureka!, a tiny local paper in California's Gold Country. Working out of her office in the town of Flat Skunk with her TTY telephone and her cute, hearing assistant, Jeremiah, Connor puts together mystery puzzles for her readers. Her mini-mysteries are by far the most deadly doings in this one-horse town -- at least until the first lady of Flat Skunk, Lacy Penzance, is found sprawled across her husband's grave at the Memory Kingdom cemetery, cold as his headstone.

Lacy had secretly visited Connor the day before her death to place an anonymous ad in the Eureka! supposedly looking for a lost sister. Now Connor is determined to uncover Lacy's secrets and nail a killer--if she can avoid moving into a Memory Kingdom plot of her own.

Sign of Foul Play

Last night's earthquake has the California Gold Country town of Flat Skunk buzzing; and over her morning mocha, deaf newswoman Connor Westphal is shaping it into a lead story for her local paper, the Eureka!  Then her TTY phone brings more sensational news: a twisted corpse has been found on a construction site owned by her rival publisher, Harlan Truax.  What was the soil engineer doing there at midnight, and was it the quake that toppled him four stories to his death?  An act of God--or human malevolence?

Connor is soon back in the sleuth business, uncovering Flat Skunk's darkest secrets: from toxic dirt to tainted relationships.  But someone's out to stop her, and they're saying it with flowers, verses, menacing e-mail--and a series of murders that could knock the numbers off the Richter scale and silence on lip-reading reporter forever.

Right to Remain Silent

Deaf journalist Connor Westphal just broke a huge story for her California Gold Country newspaper, the Eureka! Old Sparkle Bodie has finally passed away--only to send local tongues wagging by coming back to life at the funeral home!  Rushed to the hospital, Sparkle is dead again within the hour.  But this time, someone's used a pillow to smother any chance of a resurrection.

Most folks agree that Sparkle was pretty unpopular.  She was Flak Skunk's most vocal opponent of plans to develop the town.  And when she organized a Bodie genealogy, she unwittingly revealed a few embarrassing family secrets--ancient history most people would rather forget.  When Sparkle's deaf son is accused of her murder, Connor is determined to use her investigative skills to find the real killer.  But as tempers flare and bodies pile up, Connor is afraid that the story of her life may ultimately be the death of her.

A Quiet Undertaking

Life is never dull in the California Gold Country town of Flat Skunk. But deaf journalist Connor Westphal is shocked all the same when she learns that boxes of human ashes have been found stashed in a nearby self-storage facility. The space is leased to one Jasper Coyne, a bourbon-happy fisherman hired by the Memory Kingdom Memorial Park to scatter the ashes at sea.
Connor thinks the scandal will make great copy for her paper, the Eureka!--until Jasper is murdered and suspicion falls on Connor's own best friend, Memory Kingdom owner Del Rey Montez. Connor is sure Del Rey is innocent. To prove it, Connor must navigate mortician politics and skinhead teens to untangle the secrets of Del Rey's past. But when she gets too close to the truth, she makes an enemy who's determined to make sure the intrepid reporter bites the dust along with her biggest scoop of the year.

Blind Side

Croaked in Calaveras, Buford the Bullfrog is dead.  And that's only the beginning...

Connor Westphal, the feisty deaf publisher of the weekly Eureka! jumps into the annual Jubilee festivities when her sidekick and main squeeze, private eye Dan Smith, is retained by Buford's jockey to find the "murderer".  With the help of Sheriff Elvis Mercer and the eccentric denizens of Flat Skunk, Connor and Dan think it'll be a snap, until the sheriff's son Jeremiah comes under suspicion -- and a human body surfaces in Critter's Creek, along with a lot more dead frogs.  Connor knows Jeremiah is innocent, and with the aid of a new blind friend, sets about finding out who is killing the frogs -- and people -- of Calaveras County.

Silence is Golden

When old prospector Sluice Jackson announces his discovery to the regulars at Flat Skunk’s Nugget Café, no one takes him seriously. After all, Sluice is missing a few nuggets himself, after eighty years of drinking liquid gold in the form of homemade whiskey. But yelling the word “gold” in a room full of wannabe prospectors is like yelling “chocolate” at a PMS support group. Soon the whole town is headed for them thar Gold Country hills.

Deaf reporter Connor Westphal sees a gold mine in newspaper sales, but her next headline comes as a surprise. Sluice’s gold nugget turns out to be a gold tooth – and the grisly find belongs to a long-buried skeleton...

Sign Language

Check out my sign language book, Learn to Sign the Fun Way!