Deadly Reckoning article in the Montana Standard

Butte inspires mystery novel

Butte serves not only as a backdrop for much of a local author's book, but also as inspiration.

"Deadly Reckoning," a mystery by Marian Jensen, centers on a plane crash into a miner's cottage in Uptown.

"Butte is as much a character in the book, as the people," Jensen said.

The bevy of storytellers Jensen has met since moving to Butte also played a significant role in molding the story.

"There is no shortage of material to draw upon," she added.


As soon as Jensen arrived in Butte years ago, she knew it would make an ideal setting for a mystery novel. Jensen's relocation to Montana from the eastern part of the country also serves as fodder. The clash between the urban environment and life in the west is an ongoing theme throughout the book.

The story revolves around a man — a high-profile convict — whose body is found about the crashed plane. The investigation into the death unveils a bittersweet story.

Jensen, a retired college administrator, took two years to write the book. She had longed to pen a novel after attending the Antioch Writers Workshop, for which she later became a co-director. She became inspired to write mysteries after taking a week-long fiction-writing class from Sue Grafton, the best-selling author of her alphabet series.

She tried to publish her story through traditional means, but couldn't get New York publishing firms interested. One publisher said it was too subtle. Jensen said she believes publishing companies in New York and Los Angeles just aren't interested in stories that take place in the "fly-over states."

"Montana is just not on the radar," Jensen said.

As an alternative, she decided to publish her book on line at for Kindle. Jensen just wanted to find a way to get her novel out to the public. "Deadly Reckoning" also is available at for all other digital readers.

By making her novel available for sale online, Jensen said she able to keep more of the profits from the sales than she would have if it was released by a publishing agency. However, Jensen doesn't expect to make much money off the novel, she just wants people to read it.

"It never has been about making money. The traditional publishing route just wasn't going to work for me," she said.

Marian at the Butte Archives



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