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Local author Nancy Meddings has released her first novel "Melted Into Thin Air: A Matilyn Rose Mystery" which is now available for purchase. Proceeds from book sales will go to benefit Friends of the Santa Maria Public Library.

Local author Nancy Meddings has released novel "Melted Into Thin Air: A Matilyn Rose Mystery," the first book in a series of missing person mysteries that she published during pandemic-induced lockdowns. 

Meddings' plan is to donate the sale proceeds from the first book to Friends of the Santa Maria Public Library.

The former academic dean at Hancock College who started as a librarian explained that the dated project was revived during a challenging year marked by COVID-19.

“After graduation, I packed it away and forgot all about it until I found it going through boxes of old papers trying to make more space in my garage,” Meddings said.

While deep-cleaning her garage during the pandemic, Meddings uncovered the manuscript that she had drafted in 1984 as a class project while attending California State University at Northridge as an English major.

With extra time on her hands, Meddings said she was inspired to rewrite the draft, which she also modified to mimic locations in her own backyard. The location of the crime and whereabouts of the suspects in "Melted Into Thin Air" are in spots found on the Central Coast. 

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Nancy Meddings new fictional novel "Melted Into Thin Air: A Matilyn Rose Mystery" is the first book in a series of missing person mysteries. 

The main character, Matilyn Rose, is a fictional detective who specializes in missing person cases with help from her cousin, Will. Matilyn is hired to tackle a cold case and find a prominent rancher who vanished without a trace 26 years earlier.

According to the author, those who like a classic "whodunit mystery" in the tradition of Ellery Queen and Agatha Christie will enjoy the story.

After completing the novel, ideas for two other Matilyn Rose mysteries quickly came into focus, said Meddings, noting that those, too, are now complete, including "Spirits May Walk" that is set to be released later this year.

The proceeds from subsequent novels to be released will go to benefit Santa Barbara County nonprofits that Meddings supports.

For more information about the author and where to purchase the book, visit nancymeddings.com

Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record.