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Dean Hovey is a Minnesota-based author with three mystery series. He lives with his wife south of Duluth.

Dean’s award-winning* Pine County series follows sheriff’s deputies Floyd Swenson and Pam Ryan through this police procedural series.

Dean’s Whistling Pines books are humorous cozy mysteries centered on the residents of the Whistling Pines senior residence. The protagonist is Peter Rogers, the Whistling Pines recreation director.

In Dean’s latest series  his protagonist, a retired Minnesota policeman, is drafted into service as a National Park Service Investigator after a murder at a National Monument.

* “Family Trees: A Pine County Mystery” won the 2018 NEMBA award for best fiction.



Whistling Pines Series

The Whistling Pines books are humorous cozies set in a northern Minnesota senior citizen’s residence. Peter Rogers is the protagonist and is the Whistling Pines recreation director who is dragged into each investigation by his friend, the local police chief. The plots are murder mysteries intertwined with the zany antics of the senior citizens who are a mixture of sane, smart elders and confused rumormongers. The series has a recurring cast of characters, each with his/her quirks.





When Hagstrom's bait store burns down, arson rumors fly among the residents of Whistling Pines senior living facility. When Peter Rogers, the recreation director speaks with residents he discovers there have been numerous suspicious business fires over the years. Torn between two sets of Halloween preparations and the arson investigation, Peter finds himself drafted as an unwilling judge for Two Harbors Halloween competitions, while the police chief forges ahead with the arson investigation.


What is alpaca bingo? Will the Rube Goldberg cannons actually launch a pumpkin without killing anyone? Will Peter survive a night of surveillance with the fire chief?





After Deborah Evenson’s death, her paintings are gathered for a retrospective showing at a Duluth art museum. During the opening night gala, the museum discovers that two of the paintings, previously displayed separately, were created as a diptych/mural. Close inspection of the complicated pieces reveals hidden images hinting at the rocky relationship between Evenson and her rich benefactor.

Peter Rogers, the Whistling Pines Recreation Director, is dragged into a controversy when a local art studio hosts a drawing class for a group of his residents. Moving from drawings of fruit, the class shifts to nudes, a decision that brings a group of protesters to the studio. The slightly inebriated art instructor confronts the religious protesters, spritzing them with booze.

To avoid the unfolding protest, Peter takes the art class to the Duluth art museum where they discover another hidden image in Evenson’s mural. Does this image explain the disappearance of an art professor who’d been posing for Evenson, or is it just a feature in the abstract painting?




A celebrity chef brings his world-famous cooking show to Two Harbors for a special broadcast. The news quickly spreads that the show is looking for ethnic recipes, the winning submissions to be prepared during the live broadcast.

The residents of Whistling Pines Senior Residence decide to join the recipe competition, creating a massive number of entries, with heated discussion about the “proper” preparation of ethnic favorites.

A local baker is murdered before submitting her award-winning recipes to the cooking show. Police Chief Stone enlists the help of his friend Peter, the Whistling Pines Recreation Director, to assist with the investigation.

With snowflakes swirling outside, the four winners prepare their recipes, the audience prompted to ooh and aah over each dish. The final recipe is one of the celebrity chef’s childhood favorites, but a mishap during the preparation abruptly ends the broadcast. Is the incident related to the baker’s murder?




Excitement runs high in the Whistling Pines Retirement community as the first annual Two Harbors Buccaneer Days celebration approaches. The city asks local fraternal clubs and city band to move their summer events to the weekend of the festival. To entertain the expected throng of tourists, the city announces a Norwegian lutefisktoss, band concerts, food vendors, and a Lake Superior sailing regatta. Peter Rogers, the Whistling Pines recreation director, announces activities to mirror the town’s plans including a pirate costume contest and a sea shanty singalong. A shadow is cast over the celebration when one of the regatta competitors is found dead on his boat. Peter is drawn into the murder investigation by the new police chief despite his wife’s advanced pregnancy and his struggle to quash rumors about a senior citizens naturist cruise, with half the residents anticipating a bird-watching outing and the rest expecting to sunbathe on a clothing-optional cruise.





Peter and Jenny Rogers return from their honeymoon to a pile of wedding presents including the deed to an old house. They open presents from the residents of Whistling Pines Senior Care Center ranging from thoughtful, to thrift shop purchases, and “what is that?”

Taking a break from the gift opening party, they tune in to a live news broadcast and watch the historical society president open a time capsule found during demolition of the band shell. The opening ceremony turns grim when a rusty pistol and a newspaper clipping about an old murder are revealed.

The Whistling Pines rumor mill runs amok as the retired residents offer up murder motives, stories about the victim’s checkered past, and a multitude of potential murderers. Despite his full-time job as Whistling Pines recreation director, Peter gets dragged into the time capsule murder investigation.

Jenny’s son, Jeremy, is convinced their new house is haunted when boxes jump from shelves, a radio turns itself on, Christmas stockings appear under the fireplace mantle, wedding gifts rise eerily out of boxes, and ghostly events interrupt their sleep. They start to ask themselves if the house is a gift or a curse…until the ghost is revealed.