Meet the Main Characters

Photo courtesy of Linda Nickell,

Occasionally I’ve heard from readers that they had trouble juggling the large cast of characters. Here are some quick biographical sketches of the main characters, those who will recur throughout the series.

The novels’ core group of friends comprises Lucy Celek, Kate Atherton, Tessa Boatwright, Meg Muller, Allison Wagner, and Giselle Freeman.

Lucy Celek is the photographer around whom much of the plot in The Light Catcher Murders swirls.  She is possessed of a barely contained energy and vivacity.  She is diminutive and compact, with a round face framed with dark curls that would have made Shirley Temple proud.  Though she is middle-aged, Lucy’s sparkling brown eyes and easy laugh make her appear surprisingly youthful for her age. 

Kate Atherton is the main protagonist in the book and the character for whom the series is named.  In her early sixties, Kate is quiet and can come across as aloof.  She has lived in Wheaton Creek for only a few years.  Lucy describes Kate as being “very beige,” but as the story progresses readers (and a few of the other characters) begin to understand that she is anything but bland and uninteresting. 

Kate’s husband, Jack Atherton, is ten years older than Kate.  He is a retired army officer and Vietnam veteran.

Tessa Boatwright is one of Wheaton Creek’s better-known artists.  She is average height with graying brown hair and eagle-sharp eyes.  Though she is extremely reclusive and much prefers the company of animals over the company of people, she will socialize with the core group of women.  Tessa has a prickly personality and a tendency to say whatever pops into her mind. 

Meg Muller and her husband own and operate the town’s newspaper.  Meg is the most admired of the six women, primarily because of her intelligence, kindness, and compassion.  She has a gentle nature, rarely utters an unkind word about anyone, and is the sort of person who would never stoop to gossip.  Meg is tall and voluptuous with kind blue eyes and graying-brown hair curled loosely around her head.

Meg’s husband, Paul Muller, is described as looking like a middle-aged Harry Potter without the scar.  An unexpected windfall of money enabled him to leave his previous job at a Houston newspaper and start a small newspaper in Wheaton Creek.  He does most of the writing, shares editing tasks with Meg, and leaves all business operations to Meg.

On divorcing her husband long before the novel’s time, Allison Wagner moved herself and her children to Wheaton Creek.  A shrewd businesswoman, she obtained a small business loan and opened a mailbox store.  Over the ensuing years, Allison’s children have grown up and moved away, but she has stayed in Wheaton Creek, making smart business and real estate investments that have enabled her to live a comfortable life.  Now a grandmother, she is described as having a strong resemblance to Meryl Streep, with shoulder-length silver-blonde hair.  Because of her long tenure in the town and her position at the mailbox store, Allison has her finger on the town’s pulse, always privy to the town’s gossip.

Giselle Freeman retired from an Austin law firm and moved to Wheaton Creek along with her husband.  She parlayed a passion for woodworking and furniture making into a successful business and now owns a woodworking shop and gallery in Wheaton Creek from which she sells her beautiful, highly popular hand-made furniture.  Tall and willowy, Giselle is never less than perfectly turned out, even when dressed casually.  Her quick, sharp mind is always focused on whatever task is at hand, her days always organized and full of purpose.  She owns a small, fluffy white West Highland Terrier named Jamie.  Giselle’s name comes out of her mother’s love for ballet.

Giselle’s husband, Tim Freeman, is a retired professor of ornithology.  He is a nice-looking man of average height and trim build, with thick brown hair that is beginning to gray at the temples.  Tim wears wire-rimmed glasses and is the sort of man whose appearance and demeanor help perpetuate the stereotype of the soft-spoken, absent-minded professor who had only taken up teaching because it enabled him to live within the world of his passion.    

In The Light Catcher Murders, Chief Deputy Diego Vela is the beleaguered sheriff’s deputy who finds himself trying to solve multiple crimes while being hamstrung by a corrupt sheriff.  He is a sturdily built young man, a few inches under six feet tall, with a handsome face, dark, thoughtful eyes, and a swoon-worthy smile that made many a young woman wish he were not the happily married father of two toddlers.  Vela is also possessed of a pleasant but professional demeanor and a keen intellect that has earned him the respect of the county’s citizens, especially Kate’s.  Deputy Vela learns enough about Kate to be both impressed and alarmed.  He appears in the second book in the series but is no longer a chief deputy.

Deputy Green is a rooky sheriff’s deputy who is the first law enforcement officer on the scene after Lucy’s mural is vandalized.  Later, he is called on to assist Chief Deputy Vela at a crucial moment in the story.  He appears in the second book but is no longer a sheriff’s deputy.

Sixteen years old in The Light Catcher Murders, Parker Haverstock is a high school kid Lucy is mentoring.  He loves computers, photography, and playing with his drone, and he earns money building and maintaining websites.  Parker is sandy-haired with pale blue eyes and a shy smile made more diffident by the presence of braces (which he loses in the second book) and awkward in the way of boys who grow faster than they can adjust to the new height.  Nevertheless, he bears the promise of lean tallness that will likely become attractive.  Parker is intellectually mature for his age but socially immature.  His dad died in an automobile accident several years earlier, leaving his mom to cope with raising three kids.  Her name is Barbara, and she is a nurse at the local clinicParkers younger brother (unnamed at this point) is ten, and his little sister, Amy, is five years old.

Jared McLaughlin is a colleague from Kate’s mysterious past.  He and his wife, Laura, live in Austin with their two kids.  Jared went to work under Kate twenty years earlier when he was fresh out of the army.  He is tall and athletic with dark hair and an easy, brilliant smile.  In addition to their prior professional relationship, he has maintained a friendship with Kate.  He likes to poke and jest and just generally do whatever he can to get a rise out of her. 

Chrissy and Colton Boone are a young couple, newly moved to Wheaton Creek, drawn into Kate’s orbit by the fact that Chrissy had contact with one of the victims in The Light Catcher Murders.  Chrissy is very pretty, tall and slender with mocha latte-colored skin, lively dark eyes, and a dazzling smile.  She is very personable and bright and works as a grade-school teacher.  Colton is a former army captain and is described as being handsome, tall, and fit looking with ebony skin, kind eyes, and dark hair cut close to his head.  Since leaving the army, he has been a bit directionless and, in The Light Catcher Murders, is working as a truck driver.  He becomes close to Jack Atherton and, in future books, will have a job more suited to his background, capabilities, and intelligence.

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