Amid the isolation of Covid, an Illustrator is embroiled in a natural mystery, and she must solve it to trust herself again.

What begins with scholastic curiosity quickly pulls Jane into a web of psychedelic visions, questionable romance, and murder. 

It’s 2020, and Jane, a scientific illustrator, has just moved to the woods in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. After volunteering to foster a troubled shelter dog, Jane and her new pup, Bumbershoot, stumble upon unusual hexagon-shaped mushrooms on the bark of oak trees. Jane follows her scientific instincts to investigate further, but suspicious trespassers at night and vandalism spell danger. Isolated and solitary, Jane is making risky decisions in a vacuum. Her neighbor is handsome and appealing, but what is going on in his shed at night? When she sees a dead body in the woods, Jane realizes her nosy inquiry may have gone too far. Will her relentless curiosity about the natural world help her solve the mystery of these growths, or will her meddling lead her deeper into jeopardy?

The Formations is a murder mystery with a biological puzzle. The novella is illustrated with news posts and natural history clues for the reader to unravel.

Published by:

Madison Wisconsin

Read by Monica Buch

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  • Novella for Adults (mild sexual and drug content)
  • Biology- and murder mystery
  • Natural History anecdotes


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Kate Baldwin, Phd, lives in Wisconsin with her husband and cat. She works as an analytical illustrator.

The Formations, © 2023

Streamwood Press

Kate Baldwin LLC