Suspension of the Rules: A Washington Statehouse Mystery

Suspension of the Rules

When a respected dairy farmer drowns in his own livestock waste lagoon, the Yakima County Sheriff rules the death an accident. Meanwhile, professional lobbyist Sandy Dalton has taken on a new client: a group of conservation-minded farmers who wish to offer a pro-agriculture/pro-environment bill in the Washington State Legislature. As he lobbies this bill, Sandy inexorably discovers several potential motives for the dairy farmer’s murder. None, however, seem significant until, in a moment of inspiration, he realizes that the deceased farmer was NOT alone at the time that he died. He also discovers that his investigation may have placed his life and the lives of those close to him in danger. Sandy ends up identifying the killer, but in doing so, he also uncovers a scandal that will shake the state legislature to its core.

If you’d enjoy a good mystery set in a chaotic state legislature and focused on agricultural and environmental public policy, this book was written for you. It is published by Northwest Corner Books and is now available from on-line and independent bookstores.

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—–“Suspension of the Rules is a captivating page-turner, suspenseful to the end, and highly recommended.” According to the Midwest Book Review – Vol 16 # 8 – August 2021.

—–‘Well written story with an inside view of politics, lobbying and those the lobbyists and lawmakers represent. Even though these topics can be complicated, Don does a great job of unraveling the twisted cords and conveying the information in an understandable and enjoyable way. I liked this book and highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys a great book or wants to know more about politics, lobbyists and the people involved. This book was provided by the author through Voracious Readers for me to read.” According to reader  Joni Truex, Goodreads, October, 2021.

—–“I’ve never read a novel – let alone a mystery novel – that felt so close to my own (professional) life. It actually made me think about some of our policy work in a new light. And, it was prescient – several of the issues the groups are wrestling with in the book will be coming up at the legislature this coming session. So thanks for writing it, and thanks for reaching out to encourage me to read it.” According to Addie Candib, American Farmland Trust Pacific Northwest Director, October 2021.

—–“Suspension of the Rules follows an environmental lobbyist “Sandy” Dalton investigating the suspicious death of dairy farmer, Fortis Henry.

“I’ll be honest, I was a little apprehensive going into this story because I knew very little about American politics and the character list at the front of the book was intimidating, to say the least. But I am pleased to say that the story was easy to understand and VERY enjoyable to read.

“I loved the description given throughout the book. Sometimes in fiction, there is a lot of action but not a lot of description, or a lot of description but not a lot of action. However, this book had the perfect balance of description AND action. Despite me knowing very little about American politics and lobbying at the start of the story, Don Stuart provided enough information alongside the action, so I never felt out of the loop, and I could fully enjoy the story the whole way through.

“I learnt SO much about American politics despite this being a fictional account of events. This book was extremely well written, it’s hard to believe that the events told within the story did not actually happen!

“In terms of the main protagonist, Sandy was very well-crafted that I really felt like I knew him. This is even more impressive given the fact that I NEVER read stories told from a first-person perspective. Yet, Sandy was an excellent character with so much depth. I liked reading the snippets of background information from his childhood on the farm that broke up the main storyline.

“Another thing I really liked was how the secondary characters were portrayed. I hear about bills and legislations being passed on the news all the time, but I never really take any of it in. However, Don illustrated the struggles of the farmers who wanted the ‘‘Conservation Heritage Priority Bill’ passed, and it really did pull on my heartstrings. I felt like I was there in the room with these hard-working individuals who didn’t want to lose their farm, and all the work they had put in, but were struggling to afford to keep going. This situation is very relevant in real life as well, which made it even more relatable.

“To conclude, I came into this story expecting a fun murder mystery set in the agricultural community in Washington. However, I left with so much more than that. Don Stuart makes politics so interesting – so moving! The prose was excellent the whole way through.” According to Sachi, Goodreads, October 2021

—– “Having a farming background, I appreciated the agricultural setting around the mystery. The characters could have been from my own hometown. It was also enlightening to read about all of the ‘sausage making’ that goes on behind the scenes in the lobbying and legislative world. A very entertaining read overall.” According to Brian D, on August 28, 2021 – Amazon review.

—– “Don Stuart guides the reader through the mystifying world of policy-making while challenging us to solve a murder mystery. He offers an array of suspects, all complex characters that are both friend and foe of the protagonist. The story is an especially enjoyable read for those of us with a political bent but Stuart makes it delightful for all.” According to Chris B, on October 11, 2021 – Amazon review.

—– “This book is worthy of your nightstand. I live in Washington State and very much appreciated the local flavor he adds to the top notch mystery story telling. The author weaves in personal experience in natural resource management issues that give the story a foundation in reality that made me feel like this was based on a true story. Good times.” According to an Amazon Customer on August 27, 2021