Gayle Trent is walking the streets of Abingdon in a new novel.

“I wanted to step outside the boundaries of what I typically write ... but just a little bit,” the author said.

“I didn’t want to go too crazy, but I did want to add the paranormal element of a sassy ghost — the ghostly fashionista — and I did want to set the story in Abingdon.”

Trent says she has “taken some liberties with the town.”

The local author has, again, taken some liberties with her name, releasing this new book under the name Gayle Leeson.

“I’ve always been a storyteller,” said Trent, who is in her 50s and lives in Bristol, Virginia. “When I was a little girl, I carried around books for anyone who’d read them to me. When they got tired of reading, I’d look at the pictures and make up my own story.”

So far, Trent has released 29 books, including “Designs on Murder.”

This one is about a lady named Amanda.

“When Amanda decides to lease a space in historic Abingdon, Virginia’s Shops on Main,” Trent said, “she’s surprised to learn that she has a resident ghost.”

That’s not all.

“Maxine ‘Max,’ a young woman who died in 1930, isn’t the only dead person at the retail complex,” Trent said. “Mark, a web designer who rented space at Shops on Main, is shot in his office.”

Ultimately, Amanda is afraid that one of her new friends is a killer, Trent said.

“And Max is encouraging her to solve Mark’s murder a la Nancy Drew.”

Trent calls this book “the first in a new series in which I hope to explore — and tell readers more about — Abingdon.”

In researching the first book, she said, “I learned about how the government poisoned industrial alcohol during Prohibition because criminals were distilling it to drink. Then Rachel Vance, one of my brilliant beta readers, pointed me to an article detailing Johnson City’s colorful history during Prohibition.”

Trent is signing copies of her books at the Bristol Public Library’s large meeting room on April 10, 5:30 p.m., at 701 Goode St., in Bristol, Virginia. For more, visit or call 276-645-8780.

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