Deadly Deception builds upon a soccer tragedy that occurred years ago in Lima, Peru.  Susan Polonus Mucha constructs a suspenseful mystery that transports readers to the exotic Peruvian environment with its cultural heritage, current affairs, and developing-country troubles.
-- Javier Illescas, international trade negotiator and economist for the Peruvian government.

Susan Polonus Mucha skillfully peels back the deep layers of deception, and she's flat out wonderful on the setting, painting Peru with an undeniable authenticity. You couldn't ask for a better guide through the streets of Lima …
-- Ed Dee, author of The Con Man's Daughter

Deadly Deception is a book of graceful prose and inventive architecture that rebuilds the harrowing event of a national tragedy – a tragedy that affords an opportunity to conceal violence used to protect greed.
Edmundo Morales, author of Cocaine: White Gold Rush in Peru

A murder at the Masters and a soccer stampede in Peru set the stage for Susan Polonus Mucha's thriller, Deadly Deception . Prepare to spend the night reading; you won't put it down until the last page.
-- Mayor Bob Young, Augusta , GA




The perfect windless day kept the tear gas hovering near the ground. Men, women and children panicked. They ran from the grandstands for the locked stadium gates and were slammed against them. Pushing and shoving, hundreds more flowed from the stands. The crushing force squeezed the breath from their lungs.

The first to reach the gates were the first to die. The crowd kept coming. More died. Until three hundred had suffocated to death. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the incident as the worst calamity ever at a soccer match.


A scream pierced the air, startling the hushed crowd of spectators. Twenty-five thousand were on hand at Augusta National Golf Club for the final day of the Masters Tournament. One golfer, dapper in his knickers and jaunty cap, was setting up for a crucial putt at Amen Corner, the 13th hole. His distinctive timing and rhythm would help him win his first green jacket later that day.

Total silence reigned. Cellphones were turned off, cameras and radios left in cars. No one spoke, not a soul. The gallery was still. Until the scream.

The golfer pulled back, stood straight, and looked up the path toward the distraction. The spectators turned in unison. Frowning gallery guards rushed in the direction of the sound.

“Hurry, hurry,” shouted a woman halfway up the path. Tranquillity at the National ended. Alongside the path, a man’s body lay in a near-fetal position in a cluster of deep pink azaleas. Blood had pooled under him and flowed into the bed of pine straw upon which his body rested. His Masters badge hung across his chest.

When news of the murder spread, a black pall was forever cast over the prestigious golf course. But for now beauty prevailed at the National: white dogwood, its delicate blossoms like magnificent baby’s breath, interspersed beneath tall pines and shorter firs; pink, and red, and fuchsia azaleas lined the edges of a smooth velvet carpet of grass; stone bridges reflected in glistening water. A clear blue sky completed the perfect picture.


Luis opened the hall door quietly.  Elia stuck her head out and checked the hall.  Lights were still on downstairs. They left the room and walked silently to the top of the staircase.  Elia placed her feet on the very edge of each step.  Luis mimicked her movements as they descended.  Snatches of conversation drifted from the dining room. 

Luis followed Elia to the front door, reached around her, and turned the knob.  It was locked.  Elia’s eyes darted about. Luis looked around, too.  He shook his head.  No key was in sight.   They tiptoed to the study.  Quietly, Elia pushed open the door and closed it behind them.  “Let me show you something,” she whispered.  She turned to the patio door and released the lock.  The door slid open.  A fresh breeze rustled the flowing draperies that hid a control panel.  A red light blinked unseen.

A sudden beep startled them and halted their progress.    “Carajo.”  Luis grabbed Elia’s hand and pushed her forward.  They ran toward the garage.  By the time they reached it, an alarm was blaring in the house.  But the heavy garage doors were locked.

Elia ran around the building and tried a side door.  It wouldn’t budge.  She kicked it hard.  “Dammit."  They ran toward the barn.  The simple latch on its door slid open.  Luis looked behind them and saw two figures running across the yard.  He started to pull two saddles off the rack.

 “What are you doing?”  Elia pulled a stool over to a horse and got on bareback.  “Come on, just get on.”  She leaned low over the neck of her horse and dug her heels into its flanks.  She shot off.  Luis hesitated a half second, then grabbed the mane of a second horse and hoisted himself up.  His horse bolted out of the barn. 

 “Are you okay?” Elia yelled to Luis.
 “I’m fine.  Go!” 

The moon was obstructed by clouds.  The riders couldn’t see past the horses’ noses.  But the paso finos knew the path.  They ran free, their long manes and full tails flowing.

Luis and Elia could hear a car engine revving behind them.  They looked over their shoulders and saw headlights approaching.  The lights swung to the left as the car raced onto a parallel road.  Only a copse of trees separated the car from the path.  Briefly, the car and horses were neck and neck.  Then the car jolted forward and was gone. 

 Elia slowed her horse and waited for Luis to catch up.  “Why do you think they passed us?” she asked.



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