Sunday, December 4, 2011

MWW Day 10 - Marilyn Meredith's Tempe Crabtree

It’s day 10 in the Mystery We Write Blog Tour. I must admit in the times of complete disclosure to have a soft spot for Marilyn Meredith or F.M. Meredith. She was one of the first to read my adventures and I’ve been forever grateful. However, I’m Mitch Malone, a crime beat reporter, and I do have to ask the tough questions. Luckily today, I’m interviewing Deputy Tempe Crabtree from Marilyn’s latest book, BEARS WITH US. Tempe lives and works in and around Bear Creek, a mountain community of the Southern Sierra. I thought it would be fun to learn more about Tempe’s duties as a deputy in a remote area like the one she patrols. Tell me first, where exactly are Bear Creek and the Southern Sierras?

Tempe: We’re in California. The Southern Sierra is the southern part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range located above the San Joaquin Valley. Or to pinpoint it even more, it’s 70 miles North and East of Bakersfield. The town of Bear Creek is small. We’re near part of the Giant Redwood forest and the Bear Creek Indian Reservation.

That gives me a better idea of where you’re located. It sounds like a beautiful place to live. Ever worry about earthquakes?

Tempe: This feels a bit weird to me, being interviewed by a reporter. Because I’m just a deputy and major cases are investigated by major crimes detectives, they are the ones who are usually interviewed.

I know that you are often called on to assist the detective on many cases because you know the area and the people in Bear Creek much better than they do. I hear you are often called to help out with crimes on the reservation too because of your Indian heritage.

Tempe: (Laughing) The detectives have the misconception that the rez Indians will trust me more than them because I’m an Indian too, but I’m afraid it doesn’t always work that way. I do have friends on the reservation, but I’m law enforcement and that right there makes me suspect to many. However, I have more patience than the detectives and because of that, I sometimes can learn more than they can.

Tell me about your job. I cover crime in the big city of Grand River, Michigan. It must be different being a resident deputy in a mountain area than in law enforcement in larger cities.

Tempe: I am the resident deputy, though my usual patrol hours are four to eleven, I’m often called on to take care of problems that come up at other times during the day or night and my days off. The residents tend to call me rather than 911. Other deputies are sent up from the sheriff’s sub-station in Dennison to patrol when I’m not on duty. The CHP sends cars up to patrol regularly too. Many of my calls are different than a city deputy or police officer would get—I often have to shoo cows off the highway and tend to other animal problems.

Being an award-winning reporter I get around.  I hear you’ve had quite a troublesome animal lately.

Tempe: I’ll say. We’ve had numerous visits from bears. I’ve chased bears out off the school yard, out of people’s houses and an apple orchard.

We have bears in Michigan but it is rare that you see them. Is that usual?

Tempe: Because we’re in the mountains, we do have bear sightings, but this year has been unusual because the bears have discovered people food and they like it, especially ice cream.

Don’t you have Animal Control or anything like that to help you out?

Tempe: We have a Fish and Game man, but he has a huge area to cover. He helps me when possible, but sometimes he’s just too far away and I have to do what I can until he can get there.

Sounds dangerous. What about your private life? Do you have time to have one?

Tempe: Sometimes it’s hard. I’m married to a patient man, which certainly helps. Hutch is the pastor of the local church and fortunately he’s willing to assist me when I need him. Because he’s a pastor, he gets nearly as many calls for assistance as I do—and sometimes I help him out.

I’m not big on marriage. Not the marrying kind. Sounds like an ideal marriage and I rarely see any of those.

Tempe: It is most of the time.

Hmmm, my reporter extinct tells me I may be missing something here. Is there anything more you’d like to say about that?

Tempe: A few times I’ve used Native American spiritualism to help me find out the truth about a crime and my husband really doesn’t like me to do that, he fears for my soul. Frankly, I think the Great Spirit my people believe in and the God my husband worships are one and the same.

Oh. I’m not much on religion. Makes me nervous, so let’s stop the interview there. Thank you for answering my questions, Tempe, and if people want to learn more about what happened with the bears they should read the book, BEARS WITH US.

About Bears With Us: Deputy Tempe Crabtree has her hands full when bears turn up in and around Bear Creek, a young teen commits suicide and his parents’ actions are suspicious, a prominent woman files a complaint against Tempe and her preacher husband Hutch, a love affair from long ago comes to light, and a woman suffering from dementia disappears. Purchase the book at

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Bears With Us from Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel is Angel Lost, the third from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Central Coast chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and her blog at

Make a comment and be registered to win a Mitch Malone Mystery. Drawing to be held after the tour is over next Friday. 


  1. Marilyn & Tempe: So glad you could join us and leave the Bears at home. Wendy

  2. Thank you for hosting us today, Wendy. I didn't answer the question about earthquakes, so I will here, we don't have many--haven't felt one in years. (Knock on wood) Marilyn and Tempe

  3. Marilyn, you know Tempe is one of my favorite characters; and Wendy, I'm definitely warming too, Mitch. So it was great hearing them together--and loved that at the end Tempe was getting Mitch nervous...

    Great interview!


  4. That was a fun interview--and also glad to see other writers making mistakes, dear Madeline. tee hee.


  5. It's fun to visit Tempe's world. Thanks.

  6. Love the interview and your quote about Native American spiritualism, Marilyn. I also love your Deputy Tempe novels.

  7. Mitch didn't mess around much with Tempe. I think he knew he was out of his league. Great interview.

  8. Mitch and Tempe, I thoroughly enjoyed this banter, which resembled a well-played game of Ping-Pong. Please pass on my compliments to Wendy and Marilyn.

  9. Loved reading Mitch interviewing Tempe, Marilyn and Wendy. Fun blog!

  10. Hi, Gloria, thanks for visiting.

    Thanks, Jean.

    Tempe can definitely handle herself, Earl.

    We had fun, John.

    Thanks, Alice.

    Thanks you, Wendy for letting Mitch interview Tempe.

  11. Thank you all for stopping by. These interviews are fun for me. Mitch did take it easy on Tempe. He has a soft spot for Marilyn and didn't want to upset her. Don't tell anyone. It would ruin his tough guy image!

    Gloria: You are entered to win a Mitch Malone Mystery. Drawing will be Friday.