Murder in Disguise by Donn Taylor

A story of murder, a rumored secret life, and anonymous threats—don’t miss book three, Murder in Disguise, of Donn Taylor’s Preston Barclay Mystery series! Visiting professor Preston Barclay decides to investigate the department chairman’s mysterious death. The more Press questions, the more dangerous the threats against him become, and the more determined he grows to clear his friend’s name. Can Press’ stumbling efforts prevail against the entrenched forces of the police, the campus radicals, and an unseen but powerful criminal organization that increasingly puts lives in danger?


{More about Murder in Disguise}

Murder in Disguise (Lamplighter Mysteries, October 2017)

Official verdict: Suicide.

But why would that vigorous department chairman kill himself? To avoid disgrace? Those rumored ventures on the dark side? Some other secret life? Visiting professor Preston Barclay wonders. But his questions bring no answers, only anonymous threats. He has enough problems already, proving himself on a strange campus while radical faculty do all they can to undermine him. Worse yet, that sexy siren assigned as his assistant complicates his courtship of the beautiful Mara Thorn.

While Press keeps asking questions, Mara’s research reveals a cancer of criminal activity that permeates the community and even the campus itself. The more Press questions, the more dangerous the threats against him become, and the more determined he grows to clear his friend’s name.

But can Press and Mara’s stumbling efforts prevail against the entrenched forces of the police, the campus radicals, and an unseen but powerful criminal organization that increasingly puts their lives in danger…?

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Donn Taylor

{More About Donn Taylor}

With a PhD in English literature (Renaissance), Donn Taylor taught literature for 18 years at two liberal arts colleges. Now retired, he has published suspense novels, mysteries, and poetry. His historical novel “Lightning on a Quiet Night” was a finalist for the 2015 Selah Awards. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences. In a prior incarnation, he led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. He now lives in the woods near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.

Find out more about Donn at



    This is a Preston Barclay mystery, which I had never read before, and I definitely have to say I want to read more about Preston Barclay! I loved this character! Barclay is a history professor but he somehow finds himself a detective in murder mysteries as well. In this book, it’s a friend who has committed suicide that has Barclay curious. This friend exhibited no signs of suicidal tendencies, and his widow begs Barclay to investigate.

    I loved all of the characters, and the twists and turns of this book. It definitely held my interest. I would love to read another book in this series.

    Written by The Talbert Report on December 7, 2017


    Having read the previous books in this series I was eager to continue the adventures of Press and Mara as they investigate yet another suspicious death that has been ruled out as suicide. As they get closer to the truth the find there is a lot more going on than meets the eye and are hopeful to catch the killer before it is too late. Filled with plenty of mystery, romance and nail biting suspense this book will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

    Written by The Perfect beginning on December 7, 2017


    This book has clever writing and is a good story of mystery

    Written by Feeling in Red on November 26, 2017


    There are so many good things about this book; I had a hard time picking just one. The dialog is so funny and witty. I felt like this is the way dialog should be written. So many people get it wrong, so it was nice seeing someone get it right.

    I can’t recommend this book enough. You will have so much joy reading this book. If you enjoy mysteries, enjoy Christian literature, you will like this book. Check it out.

    Written by The Young Girl Who Loved Books on November 25, 2017


    There are many twists and turns to this story that make readers uncertain about who anyone really is–whether they are friend or an enemy. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to other mystery lovers, it has talks of Christianity and it fits very well within the story.

    Written by 2014 and Beyond on November 17, 2017


    Murder in Disguise has all the best elements of a mystery novel. Characters, romance, intrigue and humor. Oh my soul this book is hysterical. The best kind of hysterical, the kind that creeps up on you until the laugh burst from your lips. You can’t help but laugh out loud while reading this book.

    Written by My Full Cup on November 17, 2017


    Overall the story line was good since it had some mystery and drama which I liked. There were also some unexpected twists and turns. I probably wouldn’t read this book or series again though-it just wasn’t my style.

    Written by EmpowerMoms on November 17, 2017


    This is a new author to me and I was glad to discover that the books stand alone even though they’re in a series.

    I always enjoy finding a new author and this was no exception.

    I appreciated the music references and trying to figure out “who dun it”.

    Written by A Dusty Frame on November 16, 2017


    I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it to any mystery lover out there. It has the undertone of Christianity so there is talk about it, but it fits well within the story and, of course, there is not cursing or bad situations that will be having you blush. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

    Written by More Of Him on November 16, 2017


    Murder in Disguise is the 3rd novel in the series, and I can say it’s truly fantastic & stands alone because I have yet to read the first two novels in there series. In fact, this is the first book by Donn Taylor that I have ever read. It was clear that I was missing some info that would’ve provided more depth and detail to the key characters, but rather than making me disappointed in what I was reading, it has me planning to go back and read the first two novels because I really enjoyed protagonist Preston Barclay.

    Written by Rockin’ My Mom Jeans on November 16, 2017


    I loved this book! It really surprised me with the characters’ unique humor (got to love puns!) and ongoing orchestra music in Press’s head. There’s often talk of faith as Press teaches the history of Christianity and is a Christian himself, so he gets a lot of resistance from liberal teachers and students. It moved at a fast pace. This was a wonderful story and I’m definitely going to look for more books by the author.

    Written by Veronica’s ‘Views on November 16, 2017


    Murder In Disguise had some very interesting and odd characters, and bad and good. The book not only has suspense and drama, but also a lot of humor. Taylor has a unique way of describing his characters, especially the more colorful ones.

    Written by Thoughts of a Sojourner on November 16, 2017


    I loved Preston Barclay and all the characters within the pages of this book. Mr. Taylor chiseled them all perfectly and they helped to really bring out the best parts of the story. The suspensefulness of the story added to the characters and each page turn kept me up long into the night.

    Written by Cafinated Reads on November 16, 2017


    You can read the beginning of Mara and Preston in Rhapsody in Red. I didn’t meet them until Murder Mezzo Forte. Thank you, Mr Taylor, for these enjoyable books. I’m looking forward to the next Preston Barclay mystery.

    Written by sunny island breezes on November 16, 2017


    Donn Taylor has written a wonderful character in Preston Barclay. Murder in Disguise is the third book in his series. Preston Barclay is a professor teaching one summer term at the college where a dear friend was recently found dead. The verdict was suicide, but Professor Collier’s wife begs Preston to investigate—neither of them feel Collier would have done the deed.

    Written by Positive Grace on November 16, 2017


    I liked Pres and the orchestra in his head. I feel like this book needs to be read with a soundtrack! All the references to composers made me want to look up the different scores that were mentioned throughout. I loved too that he ate ham sandwiches for breakfast with his coffee.

    Written by Christen krumm on November 15, 2017


    I really loved this book!! This was a new author for me and I am excited to read more books by him. I loved the twists in the plot, the depth of characters and the general story! I highly recommend this book and this author!!

    Written by Milk & Honey Meadows on November 15, 2017


    Preston is not your typical main character.  He’s a little more advanced in age, for one thing, and is quite quirky.  Having lost his musician wife a few years before, he hears music as a soundtrack to his life.  He seems to be quite addicted to ham sandwiches and coffee.  Press is also loyal and smart.  He’s observant and dedicated to his friends, as well as being a strong person of faith.  He’s a neat main character, and I enjoyed reading about him.

    Written by A Nest in the Rocks on November 15, 2017


    I like this series as it is nice and clean and you really don’t have have read the previous books to be able to read the current book. Nice mystery not easily solved.

    Written by A Room Without Books Is Empty on November 15, 2017


    These books are not just entertaining, funny, and faith filled; they are also great at making some observations about what is happening in society in our day.
    Grab the books, sit with a hot chocolate and enjoy the tales!

    Written by Seeking With All Yur Heart on November 15, 2017


    As with all of author Taylor’s books, I so enjoy the wit and wisdom he uses in a tongue in cheek way. Not at all a preachy book but it does show the ridiculous realities that colleges are becoming. Not just a funny subject, but quite a serious and terrifying one as well when you consider the ramifications this will have on our culture, society, and our children.

    Written by Pause for Tales on November 15, 2017


    For the literary and music minded, there are lots of references to classic works.

    A quick read, Murder in Disguise was just an okay read for me. But others would disagree. Be sure to check out their reviews.

    Written by By The Book on November 15, 2017


    I did enjoy the read primarily due to the author’s sense of humor and the music playing in his head. Taylor imposes the humor at appropriate places in the story and because of that I kept reading.

    Written by Mother of Three on November 14, 2017


    The book is Christian fiction and was a great clean read. There isn’t any bad language or inappropriate situations.

    Written by As We Walk Along the Road on November 14, 2017


    Donn Taylor has a great style of writing as it is easy to get drawn into the story, the mystery of it, but also the romance that is sprinkled in as well. I really enjoyed this addition to the Preston Barclay series and look forward to what may be written next!

    Written by Moments on November 14, 2017


    A really interesting story from the start. I was pleased that this can be read as a standalone due to the fact I have not read any of his work but definitely considering reading more.

    Written by Books,Dreams,Life on November 13, 2017


    This was the third novel in the Preston Barclay series, but each book looks like it can be read as a standalone. The book was an easy read but a few pages in, the number of musical references was a bit overwhelming to the point of annoyance. I found my eyes glazing over paragraphs with the music reference and found myself too lazy to search what each song was. I also found the dynamic between Mara and Preston to be boring, petty, and unauthentic. Mara is jealous when Preston talking to another female, but she purposely needles him about other men without Preston is saying or doing much. I felt like Mara and Preston made a poor investigator and they seem to be more like, “Let’s kick the hornet’s nest and see what happens”. The author keeps mentioning Preston’s Special Ops training, but not

    Written by Two Points of Interest on November 13, 2017


    I love it when you really get into the mystery attempting to solve it before your characters do and this is just the right mystery to do just that. However, I am not the great detective that I always hope I am, and follow the wrong rabbit down the hole too many times. Murder mystery fans will love the complexity of this novel and the way each character creates just the right element to make this novel work and keep you entertained but mostly turning pages as fast as you can to get to the very end. I would rate this a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. This is the third novel in the Preston Barclay Mystery Series.

    Written by Reviews From The Heart on November 13, 2017


    Having lived many years in a college town and rubbed shoulders with academia, it has been easy to see the characters in author Donn Taylor’s works. Having worked as a college professor himself, he has most likely encountered a host of personalities with a bevy of individual quirks. Professor Preston Barclay personifies a highly intelligent college professor who is valued for his knowledge and expertise in his field. So let’s look at Preston. He hears a variety of music in his brain and it seems to be triggered by numerous incidents. Most folks hear familiar tunes run through their minds from time to time. Preston has a lot of tunes. And that is not surprising when you consider that the academic, intellectual community ranks high in their pursuit of classic, orchestral, symphonic music.

    Written by Chat With Vera on November 12, 2017


    As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed this latest Preston Barclay Mystery, Murder in Disguise. The author deftly manages to combine drama, mystery, humor, and a touch of romance while also educating his readers on the Christian history and other facts taught by the professor. Characterizations are excellent as Taylor manages to make each one seem naturally realistic.

    Written by Daysong Reflections on November 11, 2017


    This book was a very fun mystery but also an interesting look at universities and how they view Christianity, history, and truth. The mystery was engaging and the story moved quickly. There were several twists and turns that were surprising.

    Written by amandainpa on November 11, 2017


    Cheesy is a most apt description of Donn Taylor’s latest offering, Murder in Disguise. From protagonist Professor Preston Barclay’s tedious wearing of suits to his repetitiously boring twice daily meals of ham sandwiches and coffee to the awkward relationship he shares with fellow professor Mara Thorn, the book is a rather disappointing three hundred and one pages.

    The chronic references to Barclay’s internal symphony might be humorous if the musical references were relevant. Verbal sparring amongst the book’s characters laced with excessive puns is nothing short of eye-rollingly ridiculous, a type of dialogue that detracts from rather than adding to the story.

    Written by Living Outside The Lines on November 11, 2017


    This is actually the third book in the Preston Barclay Mystery series, but it can be read as a standalone. I did not previously read the other books and still really enjoyed this one. I am very interested in reading the others now though.

    I really enjoyed the writing style. This starts off pretty quickly as you learn about a suicide and also some other losses from the characters. It immediately will pull you in wondering what is going on and what will happen next. I really enjoyed all of the twists and turns along the way. Overall, I really enjoyed this.

    Written by Simply Kelina on November 10, 2017


    At first glance, MURDER IN DISGUISE has much to offer. First there is the apparent suicide of the department head at the university where Professor Preston Barclay has taken a summer position. Too many suspicious questions regarding this death remain unanswered, including where are Jordan’s research notes and his beloved coffee cup?
    So within hours of arriving, Press and his karate-kicking girlfriend Mara’s attentions are entrenched in solving the mystery. I’ve read other reviews of this novel, and it appears that some readers love the Press-Mara duo and their dynamics, but I soon tired of Preston’s “music in his mind” and the constant word plays. And it seemed that the campus “culture” wars got more focus than the crime of sex trafficking. I never really felt any sincere outrage from Barclay once he suspected that the trafficking of young girls was what Jordan had been investigating. Instead, the narration goes forward with the mix of word play humor and suspense, but no drive to rescue the youngest victims and return them to safety. When I read author Donn Taylor’s credentials, I feel that I should like his work better than I do. I am glad that others have liked the series, but it did not click with me.

    Written by Thoughts from Mill Street on November 9, 2017


    The main character, Preston Barclay, is a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Robert Langdon. The character is likeable, and for me, he was the only interesting part of the novel. The other characters, including Mara Thorn, were a bit too cliched for my liking. The actual story feels like a plot from an old Diagnosis Murders episode, but it was too predictable for me.

    Overall, Murder in Disguise is an average mystery novel. I enjoyed the main character, but I didn’t like the pacing, narration, or the predictable plot.

    Written by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer on November 8, 2017


    I love this series! It is such a fun blend of music, mystery, and college life. I think the series has a lot going on, with the differences in religion and then Preston dealing with the loss of his first wife. I lvoe the different layers in the story.

    Written by Inklings and Notions on November 7, 2017


    Murder In Disguise by Donn Taylor was a good story. This is the second book that I have read by this author, and I don’t think I will read any more by him. I had such a hard time staying interested while reading this book because I couldn’t stay interested in the book.

    Written by The World As I See It on November 7, 2017


    This is one book that has everything I love in a mystery such as twists, greed, betrayal, danger, revenge and most of all a determined person to find the truth. I encourage mystery fans to grab a copy of this book and settle in for a thrill ride. . You are going to want to read this action packed book without stopping. Well done Donn Taylor. You have another hit on your hands.

    Written by Texas Book-aholic on November 7, 2017


    Professor Preston Barclay undertakes the teaching of two courses at a state university in the midwest as a visiting professor for the summer term. It provides for several pressing issues in his life. The need for income, obviously. The desire to make an impact on the minds of the succeeding generation.

    Oh, and then there’s the little issue of his friend and colleague committing suicide that he has questions about. And when the widow beseeches him to “prove” that the suicide was anything but . . . his musical hallucinations simply increase volume and tempo.

    As Professor Barclay investigates without investigating, his momentum – and its impact – become increasingly similar to the proverbial bull in a china shop.

    And then . . . the walls came tumbling down.

    Written by DocsDoins on November 5, 2017


    Very well executed because this author chose to lace in the mystery and envelop the reader rather then just lightly sprinkle it in. The characters were believable written and the story does take your mind to the places being described. While I think most older readers would enjoy this, not everyone will see the shining aspects of this writer’s ability.

    Written by Cassandra M’s Place on November 4, 2017


    I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery. I like the characters. Barclay is a great protagonist. He is intelligent yet compassionate and is relentless when it comes to solving a mystery. I like Mara too. She’s a great sidekick for Barclay. She’s got issues from past experiences and I like how Barclay cares for her. And I like their dialog, sharp and funny. I like the plot. It’s a mystery with depth yet is not so complicated that I felt lost. I like that Taylor has added some information about universities and how decisions are made.

    Written by Book Reviews From an Avid Reader on November 4, 2017


    I had a very hard time getting into this book it was slow and all over the place.
    I will be honest, I am very funny about a story flowing from the beginning so when it does not I am lost for the rest of the book.

    Written by The Mary Reader on November 3, 2017


    This was my first read by Donn Taylor, but it left me wondering what I’ve been missing out on all these years. His writing style is absolutely amazing! He has such a talent and draws readers to the edge of their seats. Unexpected twists and turns, well developed characters, and a storyline to kill makes this book no less than amazing! I love that the characters are well developed and relatable. While this is book 3 in the A Preston Barclay Mystery series, it stood well on its own and was easy to follow. I highly recommend this book.

    Written by This Chattanooga Mommy Saves on November 3, 2017