Local author publishes mystery novel set in Pawhuska during oil boom
Author of three books to date, Mary McIntyre Coley has just published her fourth and first suspense novel, “Cobwebs.”
Set in Pawhuska, capital of the Osage Nation during the early days of the Oklahoma petroleum industry, Coley has incorporated actual events of the “Reign of Terror” in the 1920’s Osage Nation with a modern day search for family truths.
The Reign of Terror refers to the murders of several members of the Osage Nation by their so-called guardians who wanted to gain control of the oil and gas royalties tribal members owned.
Members of the Osage Nation had become wealthy because of their treaty with the United States Government in 1872. The tribe was granted joint ownership of all the mineral rights to the land beneath their reservation — what is currently Osage County. In 1906, a tribal roll was created, listing 2,229 tribal members. When the oil boom began, all the royalties from oil and gas production in Osage County belonged to the Osage Tribe as a unit. The Roll was used to assign one headright to each Osage, and these members received their percentage of the income from the lucrative Osage County Oil and Gas fields.
Coley divides her time between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to being a writer, she is a member of the board of directors at Oxley Nature Center and is a certified interpretive guide, naturalist and environmental educator.
Previously a reporter for the Ponca City News, she also served as state director of Education and Outreach for the Oklahoma chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She is a recognized professional both in the environmental education field and as an author. Her book, Environmental: How You Can Make A Difference, published by Capstone Press, received a first place award for Best Juvenile Book from the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. A frequent winner in annual OWFI contests, Coley has published two volumes of short stories, including several stories previously published in anthologies.
Book signings are scheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Osage Nation Cultural Center Library, 1449 West Main Street, Pawhuska; 10:30 a.m. - noon, Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Tulsa Historical Society, 2445 South Peoria; 10:30 a.m. - noon, Saturday, Dec. 7, at Brace Books, 2205 North 14th Street in Ponca City.