Skip to main content

Margaret Coel

Biography

Margaret Coel

Margaret Coel is the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Wind River mystery series set among the Arapahos on Wyoming's Wind River Reservation and featuring Jesuit priest Father John O'Malley and Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden.

The novels have received wide recognition. They have been on the bestseller lists of numerous newspapers, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News. Five novels have received the Colorado Book Award. THE SPIRIT WOMAN received the Willa Cather Award for Best Novel of the West and was a finalist for the Western Writers of America's Spur Award for Best Novel.

She is a native Coloradan who hails from a pioneer Colorado family. The West --- the mountains, plains, and vast spaces --- are in her bones, she says. She moved out of Colorado on two occasions --- to attend Marquette University and to spend a couple of years in Alaska. Both times she couldn't wait to get back.

Along with the Wind River mystery series, Margaret Coel is the author of five nonfiction books, including the award-winning CHIEF LEFT HAND, published by the University of Oklahoma Press. This biography of an Arapaho chief and history of the Arapahos in Colorado has never gone out of print. The Colorado Historical Society has included both CHIEF LEFT HAND and Margaret's memoir-history of railroading in Colorado, GOIN' RAILROADING (which she wrote with her father, Samuel F. Speas) among the best 100 books on Colorado history.

Her articles on the West have appeared in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, American Heritage of Invention & Technology, Creativity! and many other publications. Speaking engagements on the people and places she loves best have taken her around the country and as far away as Australia. She visits the Wind River Reservation every year, "just to catch up with my Arapaho friends."

She writes in a small study in her home on a hillside in Boulder. The window frames a view of the Rocky Mountains and the almost-always blue sky. A herd of deer are usually grazing just outside, and one summer a couple of years ago, a mountain lion made its home close by.

"Every day," she says, "I drink in the West."

Margaret Coel

Books by Margaret Coel

by Margaret Coel - Fiction, Mystery

A mysterious penitent confesses to murder, and then flees the confessional before Father John O’Malley can identify him. Two months later, attorney Vicky Holden discovers rancher Dennis Carey shot dead in his truck. It soon develops that the most sacred creature in Native American mythology, a white buffalo calf, was recently born on Carey’s ranch. Vicky and Father John try to unravel the strange events surrounding both the murder and the recent disappearances of three cowboys from the ranch.

by Margaret Coel - Fiction, Mystery

In her pulse-pounding mysteries, Margaret Coel interweaves authentic Native American culture and history with modern-day suspense. In the latest Wind River novel, Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley are caught between two cultures that won’t let go of the past --- and a killer who won’t leave any witnesses.

by Margaret Coel - Fiction, Mystery

After more than 120 years, the regalia worn by Arapaho Chief Black Heart in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show were supposed to be returned to his people. But the cartons containing the relics were empty when they arrived at the Arapaho museum. Vicki and Father John suspect rancher and Indian artifact collector Trevor Pratt knows more about the theft than he’s telling --- a suspicion that’s confirmed when they witness a car speeding from his home and he’s found murdered inside.

by Margaret Coel - Mystery

Father O'Malley and Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden return! When a sacred tribal artifact disappears from a museum, it's more than Arapaho history that is lost--it's an Arapaho student's life...