The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods


Now Available!

I am very excited to announce that The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods is now available for purchase at Amazon! It is also available on Kindle, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and iBook.

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The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods

A legendary water beast, mysterious wolves,

and an unsolved murder echo through two centuries.


Wawetseka, a Potawatomi woman, is shocked when a body washes up near her village, but events soon turn worse: her only son is arrested for murder. To free him she must track down the real killer. Her investigation takes her through the wilderness of 1817 northern Illinois and to Fort Dearborn as she races desperately, fighting the harsh terrain and the realities of vigilante justice.

 Two centuries later, Wawetseka’s descendent, Nick Pokagon, a charismatic young scientist, partners with Cora Tozzi, Cisco, and Frannie to publish Wawetseka’s adventures. But then Cora and her friends are attacked. What does Wawetseka’s story have to do with the present? How can the mysterious assailant be stopped?

The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods tells two related stories with unexpected parallels. It is both a fast-paced adventure and a mystery that paints a picture of the little-known earliest days of what is now Lemont, Illinois. Readers who enjoy amateur sleuths and adventure will find it hard to put down.

Early Professional Reviews:  

Readers’ Favorite Reviews – 5 Stars – 12/9/2016

A mother will go to almost any lengths to support a child and that is exactly what Wawetseka does in 1817 in The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods by Pat Camalliere. Similarly, in the present day, Cora Cozzi stops at nothing to uncover the mystery plaguing her writing group as they delve into Wawetseka’s story in order to publish her memoir.

Cleverly divided into three sections telling a parallel story, The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods begins in the present with Nick, a descendant of Wawetseka, presenting a proposition to history buff and amateur sleuth, Cora. Nick wants to turn the family heirloom, Wawetseka’s written memoir, into a work to be published. Cora agrees and enlists the help of her friend, Frannie, and the challenge begins. As Nick, Cora and Frannie get started, the focus changes to the actual story Wawetseka tells in her memoir. Knowing that her son did not kill the man found in the river near their village, Wawetseka uncovers clues and tracks down numerous leads, in spite of tremendous obstacles to finding out who really committed the crime and bringing him to justice. Part three of the story involves the present day and someone’s attempt to prevent the book from becoming published. The crew races against time and the threats of a madman to determine why their work has caused such a reaction.

With clear, straightforward writing and superb storytelling that utilizes tremendous depth of the characters as well as historical fact and geographical detail, Pat Camalliere offers two excellent stories wrapped into one in The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods. Although Volume 2 of the Cora Tozzi Historical Mystery Series, this book stands alone perfectly – but makes you want to rush back to the book store for Volume 1 just because it is so good! The history is riveting, the references to Native American culture and superstition add authenticity and interest, and Camalliere’s insights into human nature and psychology really round out both parts of the story. This is, without a doubt, a must-read for any mystery reader, historical or contemporary. This is truly a wonderful story, well told and definitely worth the time to read and enjoy!

Windy City Reviews – 1/26/2017

Reviewed by Sue Merrell.

Don’t you love reading books that describe places where you’ve been and reveal a side of those places you never imagined? That’s what you’ll find in Pat Camalliere’s latest historical novel, The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods.

Although I didn’t read her first book, The Mystery at Sag Bridge, the new book makes enough references to the first that it’s easy to see this as the continuing adventures of Cora Tozzi, who, like the author, lives with her husband in Lemont, IL, and is active in the local historical society. In the latest tale, Cora and her friend, Frannie, join with a young Native American scientist, Nick Pokagon, to write a book about Nick’s ancestor, Wawetseka, a nineteenth century Potawatomi woman who lived in the Lemont area.

Formatted as a book within a book, the 1817 tale of Wawetseka is the shining heart of the action, opening with a line that ensures you can’t put it down: “The dead man arrived in autumn, swept by rising floodwaters…” Wawetseka’s son is charged with the murder of the white man. To save her son, Wawetseka must uncover the real murderer and bring him back to face charges.

Camalliere does an excellent job of describing the Des Plaines River Valley of 1817, which would have been one of the main highways to Fort Dearborn where Chicago is today. The plucky heroine, Wawetseka, reminds me of television’s MacGyver as she comes up with rustic inventions to cross a river or set a broken leg. But there’s a strong element of supernatural as well to help Wawetseka and add a little magic to the story.

Old Indian legends of the water panther and wolf spirit return to life two centuries later as Cora, Frannie, and Nick realize someone or something is trying to prevent them from publishing Wawetseka’s tale. The modern-day portions of the book are not as fast paced and tend to get bogged down in internal monologues. Nevertheless, the characters face a couple of exciting moments including a stormy finale that ends with a body tangled in a tree in the Des Plaines River, not much different than the body that started Wawetseka’s tale in the first place.

As a former resident of the area, and a big history buff, I really enjoyed all the details about Isle a la Cache and the I&M Canal, as well as references to Argonne National Laboratory. The parallels between the 1817 story and modern day reveal interesting remnants of history in the area, which are still available to explore. 

Red City Reviews – 11/04/2016

The second installment in the Cora Tozzi Historical Mystery Series, The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods is an intriguing novel that combines two mysteries spanning two centuries in one engaging narrative. In the year 1817, we follow Wawetseka, a Potawatomi woman living in what is present-day Illinois, who discovers a dead body at the edge of her village. While this alone is alarming, the situation worsens when her only son is arrested, suspected of murdering the very victim Wawetseka discovered. The only way to prove her son’s innocence is to track down the real killer, causing her to start an investigation of her own, which leads her through the harsh wilderness, heading toward Fort Dearborn as she fights against the dangerous terrain. Two hundred years later, one of Wawetseka’s descendants, Nick Pokagon, teams up with Cora Tozzi, and her friends Cisco and Frannie to publish an account about Wawetseka’s journey. Shortly after Cora and company sign on to the project, they are viciously attacked by someone, or something, who doesn’t want Wawetseka’s story to be told. Readers are forced to wonder what this mystery from the past has to do with anything going on today, creating a suspenseful tale that is sure to keep the pages turning one after another.

By crafting a well-thought-out narrative that ties together two mysteries with unexpected parallels, Camalliere succeeds at entertaining readers with a suspenseful novel that will keep them guessing until the very end. Both timelines are well paced, and the characters are given a great deal of depth. It’s interesting to read about the northern Illinois wilderness present in Wawetseka’s story, and then see how the setting has changed over the centuries as we follow Cora around the streets of Lemont. Cora is a likable amateur sleuth, who uses her abilities and intelligence to try and crack the case, before it’s too late.