Margaret Coel

A writer of mystery novels, Margaret Coel is well known for her ‘Wind River Mysteries’ series of books. Although part of a collection, they’re made to be read in no particular order, as they work individually as stand-alone novels. Coming from America where she was born and raised, she has been writing for many years now having created a long and illustrious career for herself.

Early and Personal Life

As a New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Coel has been successfully writing her unique brand of suspense and mystery for some time now. Living in Boulder, Colorado, she was born and raised as a native Coloradan, having come from a native family resident to Colorado. Having not spent long away from her home, she feels it’s a part of who she is as it informs both her and her work as an author local to the area.

Attending the Marquette University to study journalism, which she graduated from in 1960, she is also a historian alongside her career in mystery novels. Born on the 11th of October, 1937, she has built herself a reputation throughout the years that is based on both critical and commercial success. With an in-depth knowledge of the local area, she began her career writing for the ‘Boulder Daily Camera’ upon graduation.

Her work has been published across other publications as well, and she’s also known for her non-fiction books too. With a view of the Rocky Mountains from her window, she continues to draw inspiration from the land around her defining her literature in the process, which she still writes to this day. Taking in the beauty of the surrounding landscape, she shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, as she will carry on with her novels into the foreseeable future.

Writing Career

Starting out in journalism for her local paper, Margaret Coel began by writing for the ‘Boulder Daily Camera’ following receiving her degree in journalism. Going onto write a number of articles for publications as diverse as the ‘New York Times’, to the ‘American Heritage of Invention and Technology’ along with the ‘Christian Science Monitor’, she gained her credentials as a serious writer. This then all paved the way to her publishing her first book which was a non-fiction title based on ‘Chief Left Hand’ published in 1988. Her first fiction novel was titled ‘The Eagle Catcher’, which was to be the first in her ‘Wind River Reservation’ series of books, it being initially published in 1995. Over the course of this series there have been approximately eighteen novels to date.

Writing a number of other works too, Margaret has written many non-fiction books as well. With her memoirs of the Indian people, along with her in-depth knowledge of the local area, she has created large quantities of literature concerning the history of Colorado. Books such as ‘Goin’ Railroading’ rank amongst the hundred best books focused on Colorado history. All of this has seen her receiving awards and recognition of her work over the years. She has also appeared on the cover of ‘Mystery Scene Magazine’ during the Fall of 2006 with a profile featuring her. There are also regular appearances from her at the ‘Tony Hillerman Writer’s Weekend’, whereby she gives talks and meets her fan-base.

Continuing to write, she will carry on writing into the foreseeable future. With her work being of a highly accessible nature, she has also started to gain recognition internationally as well. All of this means that she is to continue growing from strength-to-strength as her status shows no signs of stopping.

The Eagle Catcher

Published in 1995, this was to be the first foray into the ‘Wind River Reservation’ series from Margaret Coel. In it a tribal chairman of the Arapaho is found murdered within the sanctity of his tepee. Although the evidence is weighed against the nephew of this chairman, many don’t believe it to be possible. Two of these people are Arapaho lawyer Vicky Holden and the St. Francis Mission pastor Father John O’Malley. Protesting his innocence they look to clear his name and set him free.

What soon transpires in their quest for the truth is a trail that takes them back through the past, as they discover what happened to the Indian people when they were forced onto reservations. With oil deals gone bad, there are plenty of cases of corruption as well, as it soon comes to light that there maybe someone who’s willing to go to extreme lengths to keep history firmly rooted in the past at whatever cost. As the killer looks set to strike again, it appears they’re locked in a race against time to uncover the truth about what evil happened upon the Great Plains one hundred years prior. Will they learn the truth and get justice for the chairman? What exactly did occur on those plains one hundred years ago? Can they crack the case in time or will the killer strike again?

The Spirit Woman

Number six in the ‘Wind River Reservation’ series, Margaret Coel published this book in 2001. Set around the legend of Sacajawea this time, Coel relates the story of this Native American woman who was said to have helped guide the Lewis and Clark expedition all across the American wilderness. According to the famous myth her body is buried in none other than the Wind River Reservation. The problem is, a female college professor has vanished without a trace whilst looking for her grave.

It is now up to her friend and associate, Vicky Holden, to return once again to solve this latest mystery and rescue her long-time friend. Accompanying her once more is pastor Father John O’Malley who will, together with Vicky, solve this case getting to the bottom of the mystery involving Sacajawea. With another woman having disappeared previously as well, the clock is ticking for them to save their friend. Who is the culprit behind all these vanishings and what exactly do they want to cover-up? Just what secrets do the hidden memoirs of Sacajawea hold? Will they be able to solve the case in time before it’s too late, or will they have another victim on their buried forever along with the truth?

Books in order of publication by series:

Wind River Reservation Books

The Eagle Catcher(1995) 
The Ghost Walker(1996) 
The Dream Stalker(1997) 
The Story Teller(1998) 
The Lost Bird(1999) 
The Spirit Woman(2000) 
The Thunder Keeper(2001) 
The Shadow Dancer(2002) 
Killing Raven(2003) 
Wife of Moon(2004) 
Eye of the Wolf(2005) 
The Drowning Man(2006) 
The Girl With Braided Hair(2007) 
The Silent Spirit(2009) 
The Spider’s Web(2010) 
Buffalo Bill’s Dead Now(2012) 
Killing Custer(2013) 
Night of the White Buffalo(2014) 
The Man Who Fell From the Sky(2015) 
Winter’s Child(2016) 

Catherine McLeod Books

Blood Memory(2008) 
The Perfect Suspect(2011) 

Standalone Novels

The Sunken Sailor(2004) 
Man Found Dead in Park(2018) 

Short Story Collection

Watching Eagles Soar: Stories from the Wind River and Beyond(2013)

Non-Fiction Books

Chief Left Hand: Southern Arapaho(1981) 
Goin’ Railroading(1985) 
The Tivoli: Bavaria in the Rockies(1985)
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