Claire Burke Mysteries



When interior decorator Claire Burke discovers one of her clients dead on the new rug that she’s just installed, she never imagines that she will soon be hard at work investigating the woman’s murder. However, her severely disabled, wheelchair-bound daughter Jessie forms a bond with the victim’s husband Jimmy, and when the man is arrested for his wife’s killing, Claire can’t believe that anyone who could be so tender towards her daughter could actually harm another human being.

When Bill Mackay, a middle-aged autistic man, is brought from the group living home in which he has resided for many years to a new institution in Edmonton, Canada, his guardian and aunt, 75-year-old Marion Mackay is fearful for his ability to adjust, but due to Marion’s own declining health, she believes she must move closer to her daughter in Edmonton. Bill is particularly loathe to leave his special friend Mavis Elves, a wheelchair-bound woman he considers a special friend. No sooner is Bill moved into his new residence–the Clive Center–in Edmonton than he is involved in an altercation with a nurse. When the nurse is found murdered the next morning and Bill is found asleep in his bed clutching a knife which turns out to be the murder weapon, Marion is overwhelmed. She calls Claire Burke, a friend in Edmonton, who she knows has a special needs daughter and who also knows Bill and Mavis.

When Claire Burke receives a frantic phone call from Roscoe, a resident of the community living home she supervises, she rushes to his aid. Arriving in the back alley where he asked her to come, Claire finds Roscoe traumatized, sitting beside the dead body of a young co-worker.

After the mandatory police interview is completed, Claire is finally able to take Roscoe home. She knows by the way he’s acting that Roscoe must have witnessed the murder, but he won’t say anything. Claire realizes that the only way to protect him from becoming the next target is to find the murderer herself and she sets about to do just that.

After several attempts on Roscoe’s life occur, Claire sees that she’ll have to take more extreme measures to protect him – and extreme measures are Claire’s forte. She enlists the aid of her best friend Tia, along with other friends, relatives and neighbors. Soon everyone has his or her part to play in tracking down the elusive killer. Can Claire and her amateur sleuths find the killer before the killer can find Roscoe and will doing so lead to Roscoe’s revenge?

Jesse Knows Book 4

Claire Burke brings her disabled daughter Jessie to school only to witness the horrific death of Jessie’s assistant as the young woman falls from a second-story landing. Claire soon suspects that the assistant’s death is no accident.

She and her buddy, Tia, set out on another of their risky adventures to track down a killer. Along the way, Claire must find another school helper for Jessie, and her attempts to do so lead to some major disruptions in Claire’s life. The fact that Jessie’s assistant must also be responsible for another special needs student named Nico who has major behavior control issues and an overbearing mother, creates an even greater dilemma for Claire in trying to find a replacement for the dead woman. Claire is also busy with her new job as coordinator of a group home and helping its three residents––Roscoe, Bill, and Mavis. However, in her quest to find the killer, it seems that Claire may have an unexpected ally in her handicapped daughter…


When Hilda’s husband, Gary, and her mother, Marion, are killed on their way to the airport, it seems like a tragic accident. But Hilda’s friends––Claire, Tia, Gus and Amanda––suspect otherwise. They are particularly upset by the death of Marion and are determined to find her killer.

Marion had worked hard, along with the rest of them, to buy and organize a home for her autistic nephew, Bill, Tia’s sister-in-law, Mavis, and another young man, Roscoe, who’d all come to Edmonton from a Calgary institution for people with developmental disabilities. Claire’s Aunt Gus begins the action by fishing for possible suspects at Gary’s business. There she bumps into an old friend who becomes an invaluable asset to their group. Slowly some important clues emerge…


Position: Author
Emma Pivato spent her childhood in a rural area in northeastern Alberta but has lived most of her adult life in Edmonton. She earned an MA in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Alberta and worked for twenty years as an assessment and counseling psychologist before joining Athabasca University, a distance learning institute, in 2004. She teaches in their Interdisciplinary Studies program and does most of her work from home. Emma lives with her husband, Joe Pivato, and younger daughter, Alexis, who has multiple challenges. The various efforts involved in organizing a positive life for her daughter have provided some of the background context for this book. Emma is the editor of Different Hopes, Different Dreams, (1984, 1990), a collection of Alberta stories about the impact on the family of raising a child with developmental challenges.