Barry Smith. The Miwok Eagles: A San Francisco Murder Mystery (2009) 196 pp.
Publisher’s description: “The Miwok Eagles are a set of 1849 ten-dollar gold coins that become part of a bold con game mounted by an international counterfeiter. He plans to steal the coins from a San Francisco coin evaluator named Mirza Tarkanian and use them in a fraud to rob other coin dealers. David Moore, co-owner of the Rothmore Securities Agency, is trying to hold his swing shift of some fifty widely-spread guard posts together when the theft of the Eagles takes place. The theft is partly his fault because he is late posting a guard to coin dealer Mirza Tarkanian, who frequently uses Moore’s security agency when he is moving valuable coins from one place to another. The Miwok Eagle coins belong to Bess Carman, wealthy and influential owner of a ranch in Marin County near San Francisco. She has a nephew who persuades her to invite as guests the counterfeit masterminds. Tracing the crime from San Francisco’s Marina District to the Carman ranch, David begins to unravel the method of the criminals and reveal two murders tied to the crime. He has the help of a female archaeologist who is studying Miwok village sites on the ranch. Her name is Kelly Raphael, and she too is disturbed by the activities of Bess Carman’s visitors, especially when a servant goes missing. The search for evidence of murder takes Moore on a night hike to a site on the ranch, where he finds buried in a dry stream bed a crucible, a clean and carefully wrapped rifle, and the odor of a corpse he has no time to exhume. Moore’s efforts to uncover the plot lead him into deadly encounters when he becomes the target of one of the counterfeiters.”
Setting: San Francisco; Marin County