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Mabel plans to bring the thrills of volunteering to the masses—if she doesn’t go to the dogs first.

When Mabel finds herself sharing a thicket with a dead body while volunteering with canine search-&-rescue, her life has clearly—once again—gone to the dogs!

After her losing her job at age forty-nine, Mabel thought she’d turned things around. Now she’s doing good by volunteering, and surely, she’ll soon be a successful author, writing about her experiences. After solving two notorious decades-old cold cases while serving as a historical society volunteer, she’s already getting invitations to appear on TV.

Her new assignment couldn’t be simpler. All she has to do is hide in the woods and let Millie the search dog practice finding her. But to her horror, Millie finds more than Mabel-there’s a dead body hiding in the same patch of brush. To make things worse, Mabel’s maybe-boyfriend, suspended PI John Bigelow, has a dark history with the victim.

While struggling with maid-of-honor duties for best friend Lisa, a string of disasters created by handyman Acey, and a disagreeable new neighbor, can Mabel solve another murder in time to save John’s detective license-if not his neck?


Order online or place a special order through your favorite local independent bookstore!


Mabel plans to bring the thrills of volunteering to the masses—if she doesn’t get the ax first.

After losing her job of twenty-three years, Mabel decides to launch what will surely be a glamorous new career as an author. Having recently inherited her late grandmother’s house, she has the freedom to spend time volunteering and writing about her experiences.

Unfortunately, Mabel’s plans soon go off the rails. Her inheritance comes with decades of clutter, an overgrown lot, a dog named Barnacle, and a neighbor with an ax to grind. And her first assignment as a Medicine Spring Historical Society volunteer is to lead a tour of the Sauer Mansion, locally known as the “Ax Murder House,” site of a notorious 1930’s double homicide.

As Mabel shepherds her tour group through the house, it appears history’s repeating itself when she stumbles across a body in the parlor. Finding herself on the suspect list, Mabel scrambles to figure out who swung the fatal ax. In the process, she can’t help being drawn into investigating the unsolved historic murders, teamed up with PI John Bigelow, a man she isn’t sure she can trust. With an ax murderer on the loose, will Mabel be next?


Order online or place a special order through your favorite local independent bookstore!

Mabel & the Cat’s Meow

Prequel to Mabel Gets the Ax, Book One in the Mysteries of Medicine Spring cozy mystery series!

In Mabel & the Cat’s Meow (2021), we get our first glimpse of the village of Medicine Spring and meet a few of the local residents, not to mention Mabel, best friend Lisa, and Barnacle the dog. Most important, of course, is the creature whose meow that starts the mystery rolling—Koi the cat…

PSST! If you subscribe to Susan’s newsletter, Medicine Springs Bulletin, you can get a digital copy of the prequel FOR FREE! 😉

Mabel & the Little Green Men, Book 3
Coming October 2023!

Pre-Reader Praise for MABEL GETS THE AX

“Mabel, a former lawyer forced into retirement at 49, stumbles into a new career as an amateur sleuth when she volunteers at a historic home that’s the scene of both historic and contemporary murders. A twisty mystery that offers up plenty of suspects – including an eccentric group of historical society volunteers – as well as cute pets, a unique protagonist, and a budding romance. Sure to interest cozy mystery fans who enjoy small towns, unique characters, a touch of romance, and a splash of history in a contemporary story.”

Victoria Gilbert, author of the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series and Booklover’s B&B mystery series

“When Mabel Browne gets canned by her law firm at nearly fifty, she decides to volunteer with the local historical society, conveniently next door to the house she inherited from her grandmother. The site of grisly ax murders decades ago, the historical society house is soon the setting for another one. Mabel, not known for her tact, but with a good legal mind, can’t help getting involved. Readers will have fun following Mabel’s sleuthing activities and her attempts to avoid ending up an ax murder victim herself.”

Miranda James, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the Cat in the Stacks and Southern Ladies mysteries

“In Mabel Gets the Ax, Susan Kimmel Wright has created a character with both comic panache and an inquiring mind. After being forced into an early retirement from her law firm, Mabel Browne moves to Medicine Spring and into the house left to her by her grandmother. With a determination to make the best of things, she joins the local historical society – and promptly finds herself embroiled in a mystery with ties to the past and present. Wright keeps the reader guessing, and the conclusion is as convoluted as the clues that Mabel has to unravel for the truth to be revealed. Mabel Gets the Ax is a welcome addition to the cozy genre and one that will delight readers who love a solid mystery with a touch of humor.”

Dane McCaslin, USA Today Bestselling Author, 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries, Proverbial Crime Mysteries


Young Readers (age 10-14)

Dead Letters (Herald Press 1996)

Death by Babysitting (Herald Press 1994)

Secret of the Old Graveyard (Herald Press 1993)

Collections & Anthologies

“The Courage to Sing,” (pseudonym) Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Power of Yes! (2018)

“Perfectly Imperfect,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Joy of Christmas (2016)

“An American Hometown,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Spirit of America (2016)

“Helping More Animals by Having Less,” and “Eating Lentils,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, the Joy of Less (2016)

“One-Eyed Lily,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, My Very Good, Very Bad Dog (2016)

“What Grammy Knew,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, Dreams & Premonitions (2015, with Maria Wright)

“Somos Una Familia,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, Parenthood (2013)

“Insomnia,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, Power of the Positive (2012) (“Insomnia” was also reprinted in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think, Act & Be Happy (2018), produced by Amy Newmark and Dr. Mike Dow “To Train Your Brain to Be Your Own Therapist.”)

“Where I Belong,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, Just for Preteens (2011) (pseudonym); this story was also selected to appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Be the Best You Can Be (2015) (published in conjunction with the Boniuk Foundation for use in goals and values education)

“And There Was Music in the Air” and “The Blessing of My Infertility,” Hurray God! (Wine Press 2011)

“No Excuses,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, Shaping the New You (2010)

“Dog of the Month,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, What I Learned from the Dog (“Best Anthology of 2010,” Dog Writers Association of America)

“Roommate Wars,” and “What Doesn’t Kill You,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, Campus Chronicles (2009)

“Don’t Give Up Before You Start” (with Maria Wright) and “Let It Shine” (pseudonym), Chicken Soup for the Soul, Getting In…to College (2009); (“Don’t Give Up Before You Start” also appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Loving Our Dogs (2009), and nationally in the King Features-syndicated Chicken Soup for the Soul newspaper column).

“Dealing with the Truth,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, Teens Talk High School (2008) (pseudonym) (also selected to appear as featured story:

“Bellybutton Betrayal,” Chicken Soup for the Soul, Teens Talk Middle School (2008) (pseudonym)

“Trying to Handle It,” Chicken Soup for the Girl’s Soul (2005) pseudonym)

“But He Never Lifts a Finger!” For Better, For Worse (Christian Publications 2003)

“How to Make a Sweet Friend Feel Like $100,000 for Less than 50 Cents,” More God’s Abundance (Starburst 1999)

“Simple Variations on a Theme,” “A Simple Walk Calms the Spirit,” God’s Abundance for Women (Starburst 1999)

“Appointment in Honduras,” God’s Unexpected Blessings (Starburst 1998)

“Why Fret Child Care?” Don’t Fret that God Stuff (Starburst 1998)

“Pen Pal,” Pruning Life,” The Primroses,” “True Beauty,” God’s Abundance (1997)

News, Features & More

Numerous articles for The Pittsburgh Press (travel: “Visit the Arctic Frontier”), The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (personal essays), The Observer-Reporter (Washington, PA) (features), The Almanac (weekly, South Hills, Pittsburgh, PA) (features, real estate, spot news)

Contributing Author

God Just Showed Up (Moody Press 2001)


Numerous personal experience articles in denominational publications including Purpose, Lutheran Digest, Vista, and many more.

“Hogging All the Fame,” Faith’n’Stuff (Guidepost children’s magazine and website, later renamed Guideposts for Kids)

“Quality Time,” Horse Illustrated (1991)

Daily Devotionals

A Secret Place—many devotions, Winter 1996-1997 through Winter 2001-2002 issues. Featured Advent writer, Winter 2001-2002: “He Comes to Bring Us Peace,” “He Comes to Give Us Abundant Life,” “Christ Comes to Set Us Free,” “Christ Comes to Make Us Holy,” “Christ Comes to Bring Us Truth,” “Christ Comes to Bring Us Light”


Writer of the Year, Blue Ridge Writers Conference, 1992

Golden Quill Award (The Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone State Chapter) 2001, Non-Daily Spot News (shared, as one of The Almanac staff writers for coverage of 9-11 terrorist attacks)

Best Anthology of 2010 (Dog Writers Association of America for Chicken Soup for the Soul WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE DOG, included author)


Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, “published and listed” (Western PA Chapter charter member and served on Advisory Board)

Mystery Writers of America, active (served on Edgars Award Committee for Best Children’s Mystery 1998; also served as Edgar presenter)

Sisters in Crime, author member

Teacher & Speaker

Many speaking engagements and school and conference workshops

Creative writing instructor, Community College of Allegheny County (former)

Instructor, Institute for Children’s Literature (former)