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The Cactus Plot


  • By Vicky Ramakka
  • Narrated by Maria Marquis
  • Audiobook • 07 hrs 00 min
  • Fiction

Murders overshadow botanist Millie Whitehall’s peaceful summer surveying endangered plants in northwest New Mexico. When autopsy reports show two seemingly unrelated deaths involve plants, Millie must use her knowledge of ecology as she races to identify the murderer – before she becomes the next victim.


Author: Vicky Ramakka

Length: 07 hrs 00 min

Release Date:

ISBN: 978-1-951122-82-9

Explicit Content:

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About the Author

Vicky Ramakka grew up on a farm in upstate New York which sparked an early interest in plants and animals. She spent most of her career in higher education in the western US while her husband worked as a wildlife biologist for the Bureau of Land Management. During her career, she published in academic journals, wrote numerous grant applications and reports and a variety of marketing materials. She wrote about the Four Corners region, where she claimed she met the most fascinating people, who were always willing to share their stories. Her publications and books won awards from New Mexico Press Women, New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards, and Colorado Independent Publishers Association. Vicky passed away due to complications from an aggressive cancer in 2023.

“Writer Vicky Ramakka takes the reader onto isolated BLM land in the Four Corners Country for this debut novel. Besides weaving an intriguing story, she shatters the perception that this country is barren. Millie, the botanist protagonist from the East, rejoices in the variety of plants—even though some species are directly involved in ghastly murders. Filled with interesting likeable characters, this book could be the seed of a new series of mysteries set in our beautiful Southwest.”
Anne Hillerman, New York Times best-selling author of the Chee-Leaphorn-Manuelito series.


Millie Whitehall is a young botanist just out of college and heading to her first job with the Bureau of Land Management in northwest New Mexico’s high desert. Millie arrives eager to begin her work, but the culture shock of the Four Corners region, and the culture of the BLM soon create friction between Millie and the characters she meets – a secretive cowboy, friendly oil and gas hand, out-spoken environmentalist, foreign tourist, and a cheeky Navajo biologist. Tragedy overshadows everything from a recent death.

Millie begins her plant survey the large BLM area and soon comes across a patch of a rare desert cactus. Millie must balance the needs of protecting this endangered plant, with the BLM’s mandate to balance the needs of recreation, the environment, and industry. While surveying Millie is stranded in the field by a fast-moving thunderstorm and discovers that somebody else is interested in the endangered cactus. When she stumbles upon the body of the retired botanist that she replaced Millie begins to suspect that something more nefarious going on.

Using her knowledge of botany, Millie begins to investigate the recent deaths and soon makes the connection that the deaths were not accidental and are related. Somebody is willing to kill to be able to harvest the rare cactus, and Millie must narrow the list of suspects. A plan to trap the smuggler goes awry and Millie’s own life is put in danger as she confronts the cactus smuggler turned murderer.

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