Appalachian Mountain Mysteries Pay Homage to Mountain Wisdom

Award-winning author Lynda McDaniel pays tribute to the many life lessons she learned in the mountains of North Carolina in her five-book series, Appalachian Mountain Mysteries

In the 1970s, award-winning author Lynda McDaniel carved out a new life in the mountains of North Carolina. Decades later, she realized how often the stories she shares begin with, “When I lived in the mountains of North Carolina ….” Her five novels in the Appalachian Mountain Mysteries series pay homage to the people of Appalachia who taught her so much.

“All the things I enjoy—writing, hiking, wildflowers, birds, gardening, putting food by, early music, bluegrass music, solar energy, ecology—took root while I lived on a small farm in North Carolina,” she explains. “I made mistakes by the wheelbarrow load, but I wouldn’t take anything for it. I learned just about everything that matters to me today.”

Real places like Boone, Blue Ridge Parkway, Mt. Pisgah Inn, Hanging Dog, Beaverdam, and Linville Falls have been fictionalized to create the setting for these novels about murder and greed vs. kindness and second chances. 

Della Kincaid, one of two lead characters in the series, is loosely based on McDaniel's life. "We're both journalists who left the big city for a simpler life in the mountains," she explains. "And we both quickly learned that life is complex, no matter where you live." 

Abit Bradshaw, the other lead character, started as a supporting character, but due to reader response grew to become the most important character in the series. His life is chronicled from age 15 through 37 (to date) in the series. "I vividly recall the first time he showed up in my writing. I had no idea he was about to make the scene. He just popped into the story and wormed his way into my heart," McDaniel says. "Gradually I made more and more opportunities for him. And when the reviews came in? People told me they couldn't wait to see Abit again. I was more than happy to oblige."

The series continues with the fifth book, Deep in the Forest, due out in late 2021.


"My writing career began at the end of a gravel driveway lined with tall pines and sun-dappled daffodils," McDaniel says about her 40+ years as a professional writer. "I recall that day with the fiercest clarity: walking up to the massive oak door with a hand-forged handle, tugging on its surprising weight, and entering a world of art and craft, music and writing at the Campbell Folk School. I hung around like a groupie, happy to help in any way I could. One day the director asked if I’d like to learn public relations. To be honest, I should have answered, 'What’s that?' Instead, I said sure and took to it like ink to newsprint. I haven’t stopped writing since."

McDaniel went on to write more than 1,200 articles for major magazines and 20 books, several of which are award winners and Amazon bestsellers. For the past 10 years, she’s served as a writing coach to clients who want to write well at work, as well as write and publish their own books.


GREAT !! BOOK Lynda McDaniel can write. This is one fine read. A LIFE FOR A LIFE is outstanding, great character development, real and believable. A good mystery that reads like a literary piece. Della Kincaid is a wonderful. READ THIS ONE. —Wooley, Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer.

Five Stars! Lynda McDaniel has that wonderfully appealing way of weaving a story, much in the manner of Fannie Flagg. The mystery isn't a fast-paced one, but rather one that brought me into the lives of many in Laurel Falls. The tale immediately drew me in, into the town, into the intriguing mystery, and into the people. [This mystery is] a real treat to read and made me anticipate meeting the characters in yet another installment. —Deb, Amazon Hall of Fame, Top 100 Reviewer

Marvelous read! A compelling story told through the eyes and voice of two remarkable narrators who seem like polar opposites but are deceptively similar. They possess the same hopes and dreams for a new life. — Yvette Klobuchar, author of Brides Unveiled

Thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing with descriptive powers and beautiful mountain scenery. Intense family and friend dynamics with character vulnerabilities and complex relationships that steal the reader’s heart and make this mystery a must-read. — Pam Franklin, international bestselling author

An earlier reviewer's comparison to “To Kill a Mockingbird” is justified. I’ve read and enjoyed lots of mystery novels, including series by NYT best-selling authors, but sometimes I've been disappointed by poorly drawn one-dimensional characters or contrived plots. Not with this book! I was held through to the end, with none of those distractions. — Miles Glazner