Featured Work

Desolation Row

An Austin Starr Mystery

by Kay Kendall

The flight to avoid the killing…
It’s 1968. The Cold War is hot, the Vietnam War is raging, and the women’s movement is beating a far-distant drum. When Austin Starr’s husband decides to protest the war by emigrating from Texas to Canada, she goes along, with the biblical dictate of “whither-thou-goest I will go” ringing in her ears.

Leads to murder…
No activist herself, Austin is homesick, drowning in culture shock, and now, her husband has been accused of murdering a fellow draft resister, the black-sheep son of a U.S. Senator. Alone and ill-equipped to negotiate in a foreign country, she is befriended by Larissa Klimenko, the daughter of Austin’s Russian history professor.

A desperate race to find the truth…
The Mounties aren’t supposed to harass draft-age boys but the truth is very different, especially when political pressure is applied by both the victim’s father and the Canadian prime minister’s office. They may have a reputation for always getting their man, but Austin is convinced this time they have the wrong one. Once courted by the CIA, and a lover of mystery and espionage novels, Austin launches her own investigation into the murder. When ominous letters warning her to stop her sleuthing turn into death threats, Austin must find the real killer or risk losing everything. Her love—and her life—are on the line.

 


The Austin Starr Mystery Series


Kay Kendall writes the Austin Starr mystery series. The first two books capture the spirit and turbulence of the 1960s. Desolation Row (2013) and Rainy Day Women (2015) show Austin as a young Texas bride, forced to the frontlines of societal change by her draft-resisting husband. Austin copes by turning amateur sleuth. The latter mystery won two Silver Falchion Awards in 2016 at Killer Nashville. You might see a clue that suggests she more than adores the music of Bob Dylan.

After You've Gone (February 2019) is a prequel featuring Austin Starr’s grandmother who comes of age during the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition. This amateur sleuth searches for the killer of her uncle—who just happens to be a famous rumrunner in Texas. Kay’s work in progress, Tangled Up In Blue (Dylan again!), brings Austin and her grandmother together in 1970 to solve a family member’s murder in Vienna that involves Russian spies. In all of her fiction, Kay shows how patterns of human nature repeat down the decades, no matter what historical age one reads about.

Desolation Row

Book 1




Where to Order


About Kay :


Before Kay Kendall began to write books, she was an award-winning international public relations executive, working in the US, Canada, the Soviet Union, and Europe. Ask her about working in Moscow during the Cold War—and turning down a job with the CIA in order to attend grad school at Harvard. Because of her degrees in Russian history, Kay often brings Cold War elements into her tales. She takes great pains in her books to get historical settings and details right—no anachronisms allowed.

Kay is president of the Southwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and is a member of the national board of MWA. She and her Canadian husband live in Houston, Texas, and have rescued abandoned pet rabbits for 20 years. They have a tolerant spaniel who co-habits with the three bunnies that currently reside with them. Over the years they have rescued 14 rabbits.


Kay