Author Bairbre Higgins will sign her southwest noir mystery, The Torchbearers at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, November 10, 2019, at Barnes & Noble, 7325 N. LaCholla Blvd. Ste 100, in Tucson, Arizona.
The Torchbearers takes place in a fictional New Mexico town near Las Cruces and deals with themes of prejudice, gender and sexuality, secrets, and religious extremism.
Hedge fund manager Ariel Mignolet, a man on the brink of a breakdown, comes to Prospero, New Mexico to figure things out. Unbeknownst to Ariel, the town on the edge of the Chihuahuan desert he chose for its dramatic beauty, is dominated by an extremist religious church. When he sees his lover, a local policeman, murdered, he is thrown into the mystery first as a suspect then as a witness.
The opening sequence of the mystery, Ariel witnessing the brutal and macabre murder, came to Higgins while sipping tea with her sister-in-law in Ireland, where she lives. At the time Higgins was ensconced in an entirely different novel but she was immediately drawn to this story of how witnessing the murder plunges the main protagonist into turmoil. The desert location and a modern architectural house she imagined were integral to the initial plot line and she felt the story belonged in America. Research (watching a lot of Go-Pro videos) led her to southern New Mexico.
Though the story takes place primarily in New Mexico, there is an Arizona connection—Ariel meets the man who becomes his lover in Phoenix.